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Gimmick or a glimpse of the future ? It seems that these journalists have the answer :
<i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">""So what you see above is Renault's show-stopper from the Auto Expo, the
Kwid. Yes, it is a concept, so why is it here? Partly because the carmaker
offered us a chance to drive its latest concept car and it would have been
impolite to say "no, thank you", more so since we journalists from
the Indian subcontinent have been given the chance before our European
counterparts. Consider that concept cars are million-dollar one-offs that take
several hundreds of hours of painstaking handcrafting ""“ calling them hi-tech
handicrafts wouldn't be far off the mark. But mainly it's here because it's not
often that you get to drive a piece of the future.[/i]
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<i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">[/i]<i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">Okay, we had other reasons to get to know the Kwid a little better. Staring
straight at you, the Kwid impresses with its outrageous and adventurous
character. Flip-up doors, large, 305/50 R16 tyres, a ""˜Flying Companion' (a
remote control helicopter, in case you were wondering) in the back, cameras
instead of rear-view mirrors, a central seating position and aircraft yoke-type
steering wheel give it that necessary concept car appeal. But peel away the
concept car extravagance and you'll see solid substance, something you could
see maybe on future Renault compact SUVs. Slim headlamps that pop out at the
corners, a chunky square form, wheels pushed out to the corners and the use of
texturing to create a more feelsome look are some cues worth looking forward
to. What adds to the seriousness of the Kwid is that it is a sub-four-metre
car, and has been designed in collaboration with the carmaker's designers from
India, Brazil and Russia. Two of those markets are Ford EcoSport hot
spots.[/i]

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<i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">So, finally, what was the Kwid like to drive? Under the skin, it's an
amalgamation of components borrowed from existing Renault products and some
custom-made bits. The 1.2-litre turbocharged, direct-injection motor is mated
to a dual-clutch automatic gearbox, a setup which is already seen on the
Euro-market Clio hatchback. This engine's 120bhp rating is ample for the
two-wheel-drive duty that the Kwid is offering up for now. On our drive, which
by any yardstick was very brief, the Kwid felt hugely exciting. Which is saying
a lot when you consider that we rarely exceeded 15kph. The wraparound
windscreen and the low roof encapsulates you in an environment that we imagine
is what fighter pilots are accustomed to.[/i]<i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">But what made the Kwid truly thrilling were its concept-car origins. The
Kwid felt fantastic, in the true sense of the word. The creaks and groans from
the body were plenty, compliance from the suspension was non-existent, and when
combined with the funky-pattern for the tyres, it meant going above 15kph would
be like hitting a self-destruct switch, especially on the broken concrete we
were driving on. Normally, concept cars are life-size carefully shaved
clay-models or wood mock-ups. So the fact that the Kwid can actually be driven
is an achievement in itself. Back to serious reviewing mode, the electric
steering was effortless and the direct-injection turbo engine eager. Basically,
driving the Kwid told us little, but we are glad we did, because there's no two
ways about it, the future of Renault's compact SUV is being shaped here""�.[/i]
 
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