The only way forward in the Indian automotive space is by constantly evolving and progressing, and as we’re all aware, staying afloat in a market like India is a challenge, given the competition around. However, there are some game-changing products that have played a key role in shaping the brands that manufacture them. With its micro-SUV styling and a host of features, the Renault Kwid has been one of them. And with its facelift, it looks a lot more appealing, and with the Maruti Suzuki’s S-Presso in sight, it’s going to be a fight worth watching. We pit the two against each other to see which one emerges the better of the two.
Looking at the two, it’s easy to tell that the Renault Kwid is the nicer looking of the two. By and large, the Kwid cannot be mistaken for being anything other than a Kwid, but the facelift model gets a revised front end that includes slender DRLs, a new grille, while the headlights are now positioned lower in the bumper. It also gets new wheel covers and new tail light inserts with LEDs. With its rather macho design, it definitely looks proportionate, while the S-Presso, on the other hand, doesn’t. It does have a tall-boy appearance with a good ground clearance to boot, but somehow, it just isn’t as attractive, despite those black bumpers and subtly flared wheel arches.
When it comes to the S-Presso, ingress is easy, thanks to its tall design. You sit quite high inside, like you do in an SUV. The front seats are comfortable and offer good support, but the steering is positioned a bit low and there is no height adjustment for the seat. At the rear, there is ample legroom and headroom, and feels somewhat roomier than the Kwid, thanks to slim seats and door pads. The backrest on the Kwid feels more upright, but it’s the S-Presso’s that offers better comfort. Under-thigh support could’ve been better on both cars. Boot space is a lot in the Kwid, but the S-Presso’s seemed deeper. Both cars have decent seat fabrics, and quality of plastics is decent.
As far as the equipment is concerned, both cars don’t fail to impress. Both top-of-the-line versions get a digital instrument cluster, touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, 14-inch wheels with covers, dual airbags and ABS. However, what the Kwid misses out on is steering-mounted audio controls, while the S-Presso doesn’t get power windows at the rear. DRLs are standard fare on the Kwid, but come as an optional extra on the S-Presso.
Performance & Handling
Both cars are powered by a 1.0-litre engine that produces 67bhp, and while the BS6 engine in the S-Presso makes 90Nm of torque, the BS4 engine in the Kwid makes 91Nm of torque. These three-cylinder engines aren’t particularly gruff but get noisy after 2000rpm. The S-Presso feels more sprightly compared to the Kwid. The AMT gearbox on the S-Presso is well tuned, and there is no delay in shifts, making it great for the city. The Kwid’s AMT gearbox, however, doesn’t feel as quick and the shifts feel delayed. The steering on the S-Presso isn’t direct but is light, while the Kwid’s gives you better feedback and feels quicker. Body roll is most apparent in the S-Presso, due to its high stance, and it’s the Kwid that feels more planted around corners. The Maruti Suzuki S-Presso soaks in undulations with aplomb, and its high ground clearance means it will tackle any kind of uneven terrain without breaking a sweat. The Kwid too, is capable on this front, but tyre and suspension noise is evident in the cabin.
With its SUV-like design, compact dimensions and modern features, it certainly has what it takes to lure customers, particularly with the way this car looks. You could consider it for its looks alone. However, the S-Presso scores across other parameters as well – like driveability, ride quality and a good price. Couple all of this with Maruti’s strong service, spares and dealer network, and what you get is car that offers you great value for your money. So the S-Presso is our pick of the two.