Renault has garnered a lot of interest with the Kwid, and we think the most interesting package of them all is the Climber. Since it is our favourite, Renault kindly sent one over for our long term fleet. The one we got is the Climber AMT, which is perhaps the best automatic small car without burning a hole in your pocket. Its increased ride height and robust all round cladding makes it the perfect weekend getaway car along with being completely easy and convenient for daily routine commute.
When you take the design into consideration, then Climber in this Electric Blue colour with orange highlights is the colour to go for. It looks very vibrant and fresh highlighting you’ve got an active lifestyle. The front terrain protector in contrasting colour is a very useful tool. It looks good and takes bumps and scrapes if you’re a bit clumsy with parking and just brushed the front on pavement. And similar is the door protection cladding which protects paint from chipping whilst you open doors in tight spaces. We also have to give thumbs up to the headlights. They are quite powerful and have a wide spread illuminating the road ahead well. Even the fog lamps add in filling light to your blind spots. In fact they have been very useful in light of recent dense dust storms around the capital.
Climber is available in only its 1.0l engine option and you can either have it in manual or AMT transmission version. It does make a healthy 67bhp of maximum power and 91Nm of peak torque delivering modest performance. But we definitely recommend this automatic gear version as the better buy off the two. You get a selectable rotary knob on the dash for drive mode selection freeing up more space between the front occupants for a large bottle holder. Since our team has a lot of hot heads going heavy on throttle, it was advised that Climber is strictly for consumer knowledge. A bit of careful throttle input has returned us 15-16kmpl of fuel efficiency through the bustling traffic infested roads of Delhi/NCR. We keep air conditioning running all the time as summers are unbelievably hot in these parts and most customers will extensively use the air-con. And not to be worrying about reliability as you can now extend you warranty package for an acceptable amount to 4years/80,000km.
Steering is very light which makes it very easy to manoeuvre through heavy congestion and while parking in tight spots especially on busy days. Since it is an AMT gearbox, overtaking does take some time to get used to, but will become a habit once you get used to it. We took the car for a quick trip to New Tehri and came back thoroughly impressed with its driving ease, corner holding and highway stability. Ride quality is exceptionally good for a car in this segment. Smooth roads or rough, Climber takes them all with ease much ahead of all its competition.
Room for improvement...
Surprisingly it was very difficult to find flaws with the Climber AMT, but our crack team of motoring scientists have nit picked a few. Apart from the requirement of a quicker responding gearbox for overtaking, a creep function in the gearbox will be great help. You have to feed power through the throttle to get the car moving in ‘D’, which can be aided with a creep function making things easier for new drivers. Also the lack of even optional parking sensors at the rear is not acceptable in today’s day and age. We would also prefer the front power window switches on the door panel rather than centre of the dashboard, but suppose that is a long shot. And how can Renault think of not adding even a basic Anti-Lock braking system even for the top variants. This possibly is the biggest grip as ABS is a very sought after necessity for current generation of Indian buyers. Apart from these issues, Renault Kwid is possibly the best car in its segment with everything you can as for in a decent hatchback.