Easy on the fam­ily bud­get

Auto Kwid of­fers es­cape from eter­nally un­re­li­able pub­lic trans­port

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - SIBONELO MYENI

THE Re­nault Kwid is listed as an en­trylevel SUV in that it has a high ride height and faux off-road add ons on the bumpers. The de­sign is one of the model’s strengths, how­ever the three-stud wheels mean own­ers can­not fit af­ter mar­ket wheels to kill the “bud­get” car look. The Climber does come with bet­ter look wheels so maybe an ex­tra in­vest­ment in those could yield bet­ter re­sults.

In­side, the Kwid doesn’t pre­tend to be some­thing it’s not. It’s a bud­get model with a well laid out in­te­rior with plas­tic fin­ishes wor­thy of the price.

The spec is good with front elec­tric win­dows, seven-inch touch­screen with nav­i­ga­tion, USB/ra­dio en­ter­tain­ment, Blue­tooth tele­phony.

There is a dig­i­tal speedome­ter with no rev counter (don’t worry, the en­gine noise lets you know when its time to change). In bright sun­light, the speedo can be not so easy to see. Space is good for four adults and get­ting in and out is easy, aided by the high ride height.

Clear win­dows might need an in­vest­ment in smash and grab to aid sun pro­tec­tion. The boot is good to take nor­mal loads with a space saver pro­vided.

The main point of this test was to see if the au­to­matic trans­mis­sion is worth the in­vest­ment and I have to say yes.

In­stead of a gear lever, there is a dash mounted dial where you se­lect D, N or R. Drive is to the front wheels and the trans­mis­sion has five for­ward gears.

It needs get­ting used to when driv­ing as you need to re­lease the ac­cel­er­a­tor pedal when it changes gear so it doesn’t jerk oc­cu­pants.

The 50 kW/90 Nm three-cylin­der en­gine ma­jors on fuel ef­fi­ciency, with our test week’s av­er­age of 20km/l al­lows a con­ser­va­tive range of 500 km from the tiny 28-litre tank.

With fuel prices this high, its nice to fill it up for only R430 from empty.

The one area that has al­ways been a con­tentious is­sue with a Kwid is the lack of a pas­sen­ger airbag and ABS.

Granted, those are es­sen­tials and are sup­posed to be of­fered as stan­dard but then again here is my counter ar­gu­ment.

The Kwid com­petes not with other cheap cars, but with pub­lic trans­port at the in­stal­ment price of R2 300 per month with one year’s free in­sur­ance. Now take an av­er­age KZN fam­ily of five where the par­ents spend R2 400 on av­er­age a month in taxis.

Add to that R500 per child for the “oma­lume” who are en­trusted to drive the child to school, and you have a fam­ily spend of R3 900 per month on trans­port. To get the eter­nally un­re­li­able pub­lic trans­port (Quantum mafia), the whole fam­ily wakes up at the early hours just to make 8 am at work.

For those who still ask about safety of the Kwid, all I can say is, watch the taxis’ driv­ing be­hav­iour in morn­ing rush hour. — imo­toon­line.co.za Catch Sibonelo Myeni live on Ukhozi FM, each Thurs­day from 7.45 am.

PHOTO: RE­NAULT

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