When you also consider that there’s additional tax on cars over four metres long and average wages in India are extremely low, this has created a market with an insatiable appetite for cheap, small hatchbacks, and the Kwid – comparable to a Ford Fiesta in size – is Renault’s attempt to cash in.
After getting our shots by the Gateway of India, we head on to our final stop in Mumbai, the Rajabai Clock Tower, a kind of Indian version of Big Ben, and the sound of the engine ticking over in a deserted side street by the tower manages to attract a dozen or so stray dogs over to the car.
We pause for photos and play with the dogs – I’ve had my jabs – and, looking at the car, we all agree that it’s actually very pretty. The chunky, SUV-like styling disguises its price and dinky size, but its 13in wheels are dwarfed by flared wheel arches that beg for bigger rims and also hint at the potential of the car’s platform.
The Kwid – developed by Renault’s Gerard Detourbet, the same man behind the Dacia line-up – is set to be launched in Brazil but not the UK, although its flexible and cheap architecture will arrive on our shores in some form. The CMF-A platform is a variant of RenaultNissan’s Common Module Family (CMF) and can potentially be used for several different body types, such as a small SUV.
It’s now 9am, the sun is giving a taste of the ferocious heat it will be delivering throughout the day and we’re in the very heart of Mumbai’s rush hour. Luckily, most traffic is going the opposite way to us, into the city, and as we head for the national highway, I begin to appreciate that the roads are a total free-for-all. But the Kwid is an ideal companion, ducking in and out of queues, performing tight manoeuvres and easily overtaking the many decrepit vehicles on the road.
Eventually, we escape Mumbai’s concrete jungle and the demonic cacophony of blaring horns, screeching tyres and shouting. On the national highway, the Kwid proves itself to be not too horribly suited to motorway trips. It’s comfortable only below 70mph, though. Above that, the lightness of the steering becomes pronounced, the poor refinement and loud thrum of the engine make the cabin noisy, and you can just generally feel that it’s much better suited to hacking through traffic rather than munching up motorway miles.