Maruti-Suzuki has pioneered the art of making affordable, practical 4-wheelers since the launch of the legendary 800 in 1983 and is continuing on the same lines even now. Currently, their efforts in the A-segment class in the country are being spearheaded by the Alto 800. The Alto is on top of the monthly sales charts every month save for a few exceptions ever since it’s inception! Back then, other manufacturers didn’t even try to contest Maruti in their home-ground but things have changed drastically with time. Renault, in 2015 launched their attempt to grab some of Maruti’s shares with their Kwid hatchback. Unlike Maruti’s practicality and economy driven approach, Renault prioritized on style and substance with the message that affordable cars need not be under-equipped. With two very different strategies by different manufacturers on two different cars, let’s find out who emerges triumphant in this Alto 800 vs Kwid face-off.
|Measurements||Renault Kwid||Maruti Suzuki Alto 800|
|Length||3679 mm||3430 mm|
|Width||1579 mm||1515 mm|
|Height||1478 mm||1475 mm|
|Wheelbase||2422 mm||2360 mm|
|Tyre Size||155/80 R13||145/80 R12|
|Ground Clearance||180 mm||160 mm|
|Boot Space||300 litres||177 litres|
|Kerb Weight||630-710 kg||695-812 kg|
In the dimensions round, it is a totally one-sided battle. This is our first face-off comparison where one car has dominated the other in literally every dimension. Be it the length, width, height or any other dimensional aspect, the Kwid is packing more millimeters everywhere. The really important to note attribute here is the whopping 180mm ground clearance. It is actually more than other C-segment sedans and is dangerously close to some compact SUVs as well!
The Kwid is also lighter, has almost twice the booth space and also packs fatter tyres as stock. The only negative point here is the wheelbase. Normally, we would credit the car with more wheelbase to be more superior since it gives better straight-line stability. However, in this case, we are going to make an exception as the large wheelbase gives the Kwid the largest turning radius amongst other A-segment hatchbacks. For a small car, this is a very undesirable characteristic but the Kwid wins in every other aspect.
|Parameters||Renault Kwid||Maruti Suzuki Alto 800|
|Capacity||799 cc||796 cc|
|Transmission||5 Speed Manual||5 Speed Manual|
|Fuel Tank||28 litres||35 litres|
|Fuel Efficiency||23-25 km/l combined||24.7 km/l combined|
Moving on to the performance aspect, we are met with yet another twist. On paper, the Kwid is the better performer. It has 7 more horses, makes 3 extra Nm of torque and is actually lighter in weight too. In reality, the Kwid is actually a faster vehicle. The 0-100 times for the Kwid is 16.14 seconds while the Alto 800 does the ton in 16.82 seconds. So, numbers-wise, the Kwid wins which implies it wins the round right? Not quite. Despite having the upper-hand in outright performance, the Kwid is far behind in terms of refinement and smoothness.
Both cars use 3-cylinder engines which are inherently prone to vibrations. But the Kwid’s engine is really excessive on that factor. This scenario not only applies to the idling situation but also when on the move. The vibrations on the Kwid never really cease to exist. The previous Alto’s really suffered from a characteristic jerkiness when the car would move from standstill. The Alto 800, however, has none of that whatsoever. The car is vastly improved and refined in its current avatar and is as fun to drive as the Kwid sans the excessive vibrations.
Both cars are devoid of diesel options as you would expect and come with manual gearbox options only. The 1.0-litre variants of both cars get the AMT options but the standard versions are limited to manual. Here again, the Alto shines! The gearbox is very smooth, requires less effort and produces nice sure slotting shifts without a fuss. The Kwid also has a very capable gearbox which geared for fuel economy. So, feel free to shift early and let the roll on do the work. The car has no problem being lugged on a gear higher than it is supposed to be in. The only gripe here is that the shifts feel marginally spongy compared to Alto’s.
In its top trim, the Alto 800 comes with body coloured bumpers, body coloured door handles, internally adjustable ORVMs, integrated audio system with 2 speakers, dual tone seat upholstery, remote operated keyless entry, retractable bottle holders for front as well as rear consoles, passenger side utility pocket and a driver side airbag.
Aesthetically, the Alto 800 retains the simple and compact silhouette of the first-generation model that sold like crazy way back in 2000. The Alto 800 actually looks quite decent in person. It doesn’t have a lot of street presence due to it’s simple styling and small size. The twin barrel headlamp design and the segmented front grille give it a distinct identity. From the inside, a similar approach follows, nothing too fancy or exuberant. It only has what it needs and nothing more. Some might find that the cars feel too bare bones while others might appreciate the simplicity.
The Renault Kwid contrasting to the Alto 800 is simply loaded with equipment. In its top trim it comes with a “razor edge” chrome front grille, arched roof rails, chrome accents in the headlamp lens, body coloured bumpers, wheel arch and door protection cladding, arch mounted side indicators, blacked out hubcaps, wraparound tail lamps, dual tone accented upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel inserts, chrome-accented gear knob, a fully digital speedometer with gear shift indicator, a touchscreen infotainment and navigation system, 12V power sockets front and rear, a reverse parking camera and a driver side airbag.
Be it inside or outside, the Kwid is miles ahead of the Alto. It balances a perfect combination of simplicity and eye-catchiness. The exterior is built with a simple design theme but looks butch from several places with clever integrations. The protruding wheel arches, the roof rails, and door cladding all give it a very SUV-ish appearance. But of course, you can’t mistake one for an SUV since it is quite small in reality. The interiors are truly revolutionary for the class of A-segment hatchbacks. Minimal chrome accents, the digital screen behind the steering, the touch-screen display on the centre console will all make you wonder if this is indeed a budget car you are sitting inside. Full points to the Kwid on the equipment list.
Pricing for the Alto 800 starts at Rs. 2.69 lakhs and goes up to Rs. 3.51 lakhs for the non-CNG VXi(O) variant. Pricing for the Kwid starts at Rs.2.78 lakhs and goes all the way up to Rs.3.93 lakhs for the RXT Optional variant.