There was a time when the small car was nothing more than a means of transportation with very few creature comforts as everything was built to a cost. Things have changed today and the small car has had to adapt to evolving consumer sentiment. Affordable does not necessarily have to be cheap and that is evident from these two cars.
The S-Presso is the newest weapon in Maruti's long line-up of small cars while the heavily updated Kwid brings Renault right back to claim the small car throne. So which is better? Here is an exclusive comparison of both the cars in their automatic avatars.
One glance and you can tell that these two do not adhere to the traditional small car shape and actually look more like 'mini SUVs'. The S-Presso in particular is boxy and mimics the look of an SUV with the raised stance adding to the effect. The new Kwid looks a lot more striking now thanks to the new headlamp/DRL set-up which grabs your attention.
In terms of dimensions, the Kwid is slightly longer and wider while the S-Presso has more ground clearance. When put together the S-Presso seems bigger and more like an SUV while the Kwid has a better balanced design with a less polarised shape. One thing is for sure that these two are not boring in any manner!
These may be 'budget cars' but they are a far cry from the 'bare-bones' small car cabins we have been used to. Both look funky and appeal to the millennial crowd along with ample features for the price.
At first glance both look quite upmarket with the big touchscreen grabbing your attention. The S-Presso is a further deviation from the norm with the instrument cluster placed above the centre console and the design similar to that of a Mini Cooper, which is interesting.
The Kwid cabin is more conventional but no less visually interesting. There is a new steering and a part digital instrument cluster.
However look closer and some signs of cost-cutting are visible. The Kwid in particular has some hard surfaces which lack quality while the S-Presso maintains better uniform quality all-round though the lower-half of the dash again could have been better.
Space is the one thing that separates these two with the S-Presso scoring massively in this area. The tall and airy cabin of the S-Presso provides a lot of space with excellent headroom and legroom. Tall passengers will like the S-Presso more and it just is more spacious. The Kwid is more like a small car with a less spacious cabin and it lags behind when it comes to both headroom and legroom. On the other hand both offer decent boot space to accommodate a day’s worth of shopping but a long trip's worth of luggage will not fit in both.
Here, the biggest change can be seen as both offer pretty high levels of equipment considering the cost and segment. Both have touchscreens — the Kwid has a bigger 8 inch one and the S-Presso has a 7 inch one. Both are equally easy to use with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto on offer.
However look closer at their equipment lists and some differences are there. The S-Presso gets steering controls and an internal mirror adjuster while the Kwid gets a fantastic rear camera. Both offer front power windows while the rear ones are optional in the Kwid. Likewise a front airbag and standard safety compliance with the necessary features are available, but the top-end S-Presso has two airbags while it is optional in the Kwid.
We are comparing the top-end 1.0 AMT petrol trims (Kwid has a 0.8l engine option too) and power wise both make the same amount (68 bhp/90Nm) while both also weigh the same at around 760 kg each. However the way they drive is very different. The S-Presso feels quicker and more refined at low speeds over the Kwid, which is a bit noisy.
Both are good in the city but the zestful nature of the Maruti 1.0 is more apparent. More needs to be said about the AMT; while Maruti has the better engine the Kwid AMT is slightly smoother. There is less of the 'pause' between shifts and it is more responsive over the S-Presso. That said, in the city these two are perfect with short turning circles along with a light steering.
Out on the highway things change as the Kwid claws it back with better stability and is more sure-footed. The S-Presso with its tall and narrow shape is less confidence inspiring. In terms of mileage expect high teens in the city when driven sedately, but the S-Presso is slightly more efficient.
The top-end Kwid AMT as seen here is Rs 4.8 lakh while the S-Presso top-end is Rs 4.9 lakh. However the Climber version of the Kwid is Rs 5 lakh ex-showroom. Our verdict? The new Kwid overall looks fantastic (Climber version even better looking), has the smoother AMT and drives better as a highway car along with features like a rear camera.
However the S-Presso has the better quality cabin, more space and the peppier engine. So yes the S-Presso makes a more practical buy but the Kwid is by far its toughest rival yet. It's a close battle between the two.