Car comparison is in no way an easy task. One has to have a clear understanding of the parameters that two or more competing cars are evaluated upon. Every single aspect needs to be tested and tried multiple times before coming to a definite figure of evaluation on it. Indians are known to be among the most finicky and fickle-minded buyers – their love and enthusiasm for material possessions being subject to the availability of better options, in their entirety. There’s plenty of times when verdicts differ between different evaluators or reviewers and the best opinion to help a buyer figure out his choice is sometimes their own.
What an evaluator or a reviewer hope provide is perspective, a closer look at the summary of features and deliverables that a car can offer and which of them appeals to which segment of buyers. Those looking at practicality and functional purpose seldom fixate on the way a vehicle is styled. Those looking for the perfect first impression will not hassle over a few kilometres less or more for every litre. And those who need their car to be tailor-made to their needs, will not allow a single aspect to go amiss, weighing every option best suited to them.
The Renault Kwid and the Maruti Suzuki S-Presso both have their own distinct driving experiences. At low speeds, the Kwid offers a soft and balanced ride suppressing nearly all-terrain disturbances. The S-Presso has a much more rigid suspension setup, and the ride feels quite stiff at first, whereas at higher speeds it is much more pleasant to drive. The suspension settles in as the car moves faster and provides for much more stable and confident ride quality than its competitor when gallop breaks into a run. It demonstrates a decent amount of straight-line stability and makes highway-cruising feel effortless.
The Steering wheel on the S-Presso is also more well-balanced than the Kwid and – though it takes a little extra-axial rotation either way for full U-turns – comes back to central position rapidly, unlike the latter.
The Kwid, on the other hand, is more comfortable inside the city. The steering is light and spacious and allows for quick manoeuvres without any jerks. On the way back to the central position; however, it feels a little reluctant, and the turning arc it provides is a tad wider than it should be. On the highway, its best driven on or under the maximum speed limit. The steering practically becomes weightless at high speeds and could pose a risk to the frisky-wristed driver.
Engine and Gearbox
The engine and gearbox, though similar in construction, provide very different driving experiences in their respective vehicles. The S-Presso drives with a confident gusto that will surprise those expecting only what they see on the outside. The automatic variant has a decent power-output for a car this size, and the engine does not give up even when pushed to its limit. It returns a decent nineteen kilometres to a litre which is only two kilometres more than the Kwid but amounts to a lot more between full-tanks. On highways, the Kwid does better and offers nearly the same output as the S-Presso.
Design and Styling are the Kwid’s stronghold, as it is visually much more appealing and better-looking than the S-Presso. The Kwid is quite the all-rounder and though challenged and succeeded by the latter on a few fronts, does very well overall the aspects combined. Features are pleasantly abundant, and though the ride isn’t all bad, the S-Presso beats it hands-down on that particular front.
The engine could have been worked with, to provide for a little more driving enthusiasm. The interiors have had to suffer because of the compact size and low roofline as legroom is quite cramped. The S-Presso, on the other hand, has a surprisingly roomy cabin and with the seating position and everything, gives the illusion of driving something from a more significant segment. A pleasantly responsive car to drive, the S-Presso – despite how it fares on the first impression of visual form – gives the Kwid a fierce overall competition. Apart from the styling aspect, it beats the little French hatch hands down in almost every parameter.
To the surprise of many, the S-Presso turns out to be the better overall choice between the two. If one is willing to get past the way it looks, they’re in for a pleasant experience though one might want to consider the manual option over the AMT if they wish to see how far and well it can go on the performance end.
Maruti has played a bit of a gamble here and the coming year will tell how far their big-tiny car has ventured into making a name for itself and challenging the Kwid’s claim to the small car throne.