Second report: The Kiger CVT is one relaxed commuter and makes the driver lazier by the day.
The shiny red Kiger CVT has been my daily driver for over two months now, though I was already quite familiar with Renault’s compact SUV as prior to this I was driving the Kiger equipped with a five-speed manual gearbox.
The Kiger’s design is sharp in any exterior color. Be it the blue on my earlier long-termer or the dual-tone red and black on this CVT, the SUV continues to gather praise for its looks. But when it comes to driving, both are quite different. The CVT gearbox takes some time to get going, but after that, it shifts effortlessly and acceleration is quite linear, especially for a Turbo – unlike the change in performance in the manual version when the turbo kicked in. Though the smooth automatic gearbox is a boon to drive in Mumbai traffic, the absence of a clutch pedal makes me feel a bit of a lazy driver of sorts. Renault, however, has provided a dead pedal to rest your left foot, which is helpful during long drives; this isn’t common in SUVs at this price point.
Sport mode perfect for highways; efficiency not affected much.
The Kiger’s features list is decent too with stylish LED headlamps and a neat 8-inch touchscreen system. What I really like is that it provides wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and this, thanks to the latest update, works like a charm. I haven’t witnessed any lag or overheating issues that we faced in the Kiger manual. The updated software runs effortlessly on Android Auto with a proper split-screen set-up that has Maps with real-time traffic updates on one side, and other details like songs or messages, on the left. The sound quality from the four door-mounted speakers is decent, although I feel an addition of a sub-woofer would do wonders to its audio output.
Handbrake placed closer to the passenger instead of driver.
Fuel economy, however, is on the lower side; our Kiger CVT returns around 8kpl in the city with the AC on, and slightly under 10kpl without it. This is in the Normal drive mode and I measured this for around a month. I did try the Eco mode, which, on paper, is supposed to offer better fuel economy. However, I couldn’t continue using it as the response is way too delayed and the SUV feels like it’s running on 25 percent of its power. When I tested the Eco mode, the fuel efficiency with the AC on went up to around 9kpl, which isn’t really a big difference when compared to the drop in performance, so it was the Normal mode that I used more often. The Kiger also has a Sport mode, which improves the performance and does change the steering feel to some extent too. I stuck to this on a highway run and enjoyed the added performance, and surprisingly, it managed to get a fuel economy of 10.5kpl (with the AC on). In the city though, I still use the Normal mode as it feels the most sorted and easy to use, and is perfect in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Eco mode makes the SUV very difficult to drive at low speeds.
So far, the Kiger CVT has taken on the baton from its predecessor really well and continues to impress me with its performance and the supple ride quality. I’m looking forward to clocking many more kilometres on this comfortable city SUV.