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The car that nobody wants but still continues to sell like hotcakes and you might ask how that is possible. Nowadays people are highly likely to purchase a vehicle for the looks and that’s where the Kwid excels because, to be honest, it looks much better than the vehicles in the segment it’s in. Even if its looks are good, people still bash a lot of hate on it. In 2019, Renault sold more than 6000 units in South Africa putting it in the top 10 of best-selling cars.

The Renault Kwid was originally launched back in 2016 and was the cheapest brand new car at that time. It cost just R119 000 for the base model and that came with air-conditioning, a digital tachometer, and remote central locking. The fuel consumption was astounding and saved your pockets from coughing a lot for fuel. On top of that, Renault offered 1-year free insurance after purchase. This looked like the bargain of the decade for most first time buyers but little did they know that the Kwid had some dismal disadvantages.

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Renault Kwid Expression

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Firstly, it had no ABS or EBD which are safety systems that decrease the chances of losing control or traction of the car. The car came with one airbag and that was for the driver only, screw the passenger hey. There are only three wheel nuts on the wheels, the built quality was poor and is still bad even today, the car’s cabin becomes noisy and vibrates at high speeds and what makes it worse is that is scored one star on the Euro NCAP safety tests making it the most unsafe car on Sale. Call it whatever, a death trap, a wheelbarrow, the Renault Kwid was the worst car money could buy.

Euro NCAP crash test conducted on the Renault Kwid

I had an experience with the Kwid Expression model, the basic one but I was not the one driving because I was scared to even be behind the wheel of that car. On the highway while doing 120 km/h, I noticed the car starting to swerve about the place without the driver’s input. Mind you, it wasn’t even windy on that day and I have read several stories of people saying that the car tends not to be stable at high speeds. Even car journalists report the same thing. People suggest that you put two blocks of cement in the boot but surely it’s just a joke, like when Ciro de Siena mentioned that the Kwid’s electric windows are way faster than the car’s speed.

The 1.0 litre 3 cylinder 50 kW petrol engine is a bit rough and a disappointment going uphill. It seems like the Kwid is just a toy car for the road but there is a bit of hope because there is a refreshed, improved 2019 model.

The new Kwid finally comes with ABS and ESP as standard and two airbags now, rejoice! The design looks way cooler with a revised front grille and bumper, split headlight configuration and subtle changes to the interior which now comes with an 8-inch touchscreen that has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto plus rear parking sensors and a reversing camera on higher trim models that is the Dynamique and Climber. It stills uses the same 1.0 litre 3 cylinder engine mated to either a 5-speed manual transmission or a 5-speed Automatic Manual Transmission (AMT). It’s good for 4.4L/100 km fuel consumption on the manual and 4.7L/100 km on the AMT.

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Dynamique and Climber trim models get an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen

It starts at R144 900 for the base model trim and the top-spec costs R174900. Here’s the thing, I would not recommend the Renault Kwid as a first car purchase because the Hyundai Atos which costs a bit more at R159 900 is way better. It is built better, safer and much reliable plus it comes with nifty equipment as standard. You can still buy a good second car at R144 900 like the Volkswagen Up!, Kia Picanto or get a bigger car like a Toyota Etios or Corolla Quest. The Kwid is for those who want a brand new car at a cheap price but they must know that they are compromising some vital factors like reliability and safety.

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Hyundai Atos