The Renault Kwid AMT uses the same engine and gearbox combo as the 1-litre version. The engine is a three-cylinder 999cc petrol unit that makes 67bhp and 91Nm of torque. It is still quiet and refined at low revs and a bit tinny sounding when you give it the stick. And, it still revs reasonably quickly. The only difference is that a set of hydraulic actuators and sensors do the clutching and shifting of gears on the five-speed ‘box for you in the former.
Now, in typical AMT style, the shifts aren’t exactly seamless, but the shift shock compared to many other AMTs we have driven, is lesser. The throttle response from a standstill is also predictive, linear and non-abrupt. And when driven with a light throttle, the Kwid AMT goes about upshifting in a quiet and absolutely nonintrusive fashion. It is only when you get on the gas hard that the lag in shifts – both up and down the gearbox – become more obvious.
But, one big shortcoming of the AMT on the Kwid is the lack of creep function. It might make starts on a flat surface less jerky, but even the slightest gradient is bound to cause inconvenience to new drivers as they fight a car rolling off in the exact opposite direction of their intended travel.
The other issue is the lack of manual override. Almost every AMT comes with one wherein the driver can select the gear of his/her choosing. And, it’s there for a reason. It helps with the engine braking especially when negotiating twisties coming downhill. It also allows you to hold a gear around corners for better stability and control. On the Kwid though, you just rely on the mechanical brakes. And pray that the decline isn’t long, steep and relentless; otherwise chances are, not only would one end up overheating the brakes; the wear will be exaggerated too.
On other drive fronts, the Kwid AMT is near identical to its manual twin. The ride quality is plush at low speeds with a gentle, rounded edge to the suspension’s absorption ability; there’s barely any noise that seeps inside the cabin; and the side-to-side movement over badly surfaced roads is barely noticeable.
Handling wise, the Kwid retains its light and quick turn-in along with some body roll and a steering that’s devoid of feel. And, thanks to its narrow tyres, entering corners too hot only yields understeer. We also found the car’s inability to hold on to a gear while applying progressive throttle around a bend, a tad unsettling.
As far as numbers go, the Kwid AMT takes 16.5 seconds to hit 100kmph from a standstill, while it covers the 20-80kmph and 40-100kmph kickdowns in 8.8s and 12.4s, respectively. To put things in perspective, the Alto K10 AMT is a second quicker to 100kmph, but takes an additional second over the Kwid AMT’s time to complete the 20-80kmph kickdown. Times for the 40-100kmph kickdown, meanwhile, are near identical for both cars with the Alto AMT taking 12.3 seconds to complete the run. So, clearly on the performance front, the two are pretty evenly matched.