Renault Kwid is one good-looking Dacia!

One is used to cars designed for the Indian market often looking rather ridiculous: think tall and narrow Nano, the booted Renault Thalia (Clio), or, even worse, the Suzuki Swift sedan. That is why the newest Renault for the Indian market, the Kwid, is a very pleasant surprise – it not only looks good, it looks European-good! Not only that, it is based on an all-new CMF-A platform from the Renault-Nissan alliance, though a 0.8-liter petrol unit will likely ensure its more “show” than “go”. Still, starting at below $5,000 in India, the car looks to be a great hit, and will surely be sold in markets around the world.


What is weird about it, though, is that it looks a whole lot like another car from Renault’s sister company: the Dacia Sandero Stepway. A smaller, better-executed version, sure – but the family resemblance is undeniable.

Now, we are all used to carmakers designing their cars to look very similar so as to create a “family look” that helps sell small cars based on their resemblance to their bigger siblings (think VW Passat and Phaeton), but rarely do we see such blatant copying happening between different brands under one roof.
dacia-sandero-stepway-08 My guess is that the Kwid was originally designed as a smaller Dacia car, but that Renault liked it so much that it decided it “deserves” to be a Renault instead. It is still possible, of course, that the Kwid will actually become a Dacia down the road, especially given that the reverse is true: Dacias are actually sold as Renaults in most BRIC countries. Plus, this would not be the first time that a high-level decision resulted in a project being transferred between brands – the Ferrari California started life as a Maserati project, the upcoming Fiat Spider started life as an Alfa (and, technically, an MX-5), while VW famously liked the dash that Seat designed for its early 90s Ibiza so much that it pinched it wholesale for its new Polo.

  1. It looks great. I can imagine this car, badged as a Renault or a Dacia would be very popular in Europe.

    1. Indeed, though I wonder if it might actually be too good to be a Dacia – it might steal too many sales from Renault. The only reason Skoda can build such good cars is because VW has pushed upmarket, well beyond where Renault is today

  2. Renault can’t fool me, this thing is destined to be a Dacia for sure. Just look at the grille, it has more in common with the Duster than with any Renault. And the Duster is sold as a Renault in India as well….
    I like how they gave it an SUV-look and stance with those black plastic wheel arches, pronounced shoulders and tall build. Let’s hope this will be Renault’s break-through model in India, as the Duster has somewhat faded after its initial huge success.

  3. The design is indeed very successful but is gonna be a headheache for those in the marketing because if indeed the front end is very Dacia looking but on the contrary, the side and the rear are much more Renault looking, with round shapes and a Captur looking Rear-end.
    My forecast is that Renault is finally gonna sells this Kwid in Europe under the Dacia brand, but with another name and a modified design to make it more “Dacia” and don’t cannibalize too much the Twingo and Captur.

  4. I’ts been clear for a long time that a small group of car body designers in Romania are far more talented than the thousands employed by Renault
    in France. Which raises the question “Are Renault now holding Dacia back
    by pinching their designs and passing them of as Renaults”. If output from Romania remains constrained by production capacity this effectively prevents the introduction of new models. In this situation would Dacia actually be better off without Renault ?

  5. From everything I’ve heard Brian, the Duster was actually designed in France for the most part, with the Romanian team only taking it to production after the Renault team created the design. It’s the same team designing both companies’ designs essentially, which, along with the frequent rebadging, explains the overlap in style between the two. Don’t be fooled. Before Renault took charge, Dacia was not capable of this kind of design on its own.

  6. Brian, I get where your sentiment comes from and Drew, you make a valid point. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle – yes, Dacia could not have done cars like the Duster/Sandero before Renault bought them out, but at the same time I am sure Renault got more than just a (devalued) brand name and (old-fashioned) factory from the deal. I think there are probably a lot of young, hungry-for-success designers/engineers that are working at Renault/Dacia now, and I’m guessing it’s hard to tell whether the Duster is more French than, say, the Clio is Romanian, if you know what I mean.

    At the same time, it’s clear Renault will keep Dacia in check in terms of market positioning, the same thing that VW has done for years with Skoda. Actually, they’ll probably need to do more than that, given that VW is now considered “mainstream premium”, which gives Skoda a chance to position itself as “sensible mainstream”, a spot Renault occupied until recently and, arguably, hasn’t successfully upgraded from yet.

  7. The Indian Kwid version is not destined for Europa.
    The car doesn’t meet the safety requirements which are necessary / required.

    Funky little car.
    Hopefully Renault will add more chrome to the front – India loves that

  8. Rick M, that’s surprising to hear – from what I understood it was based on a new global platform.

    1. I can’t imagine Renault being so shortsighted and making the same mistake PSA has made with the development of the C3-XR and DS6. Those cars were only designed for China, and especially the DS6 would have kept the brand fresh and relevant in Europe, where it is struggling without any new products, while the small crossover segment is booming, especially for premium brands.
      Carlos Tavares, the new CEO at PSA, made a huge facepalm when he heard how cheap it would’ve been to develop those models for worldwide markets instead of just China, but it’s way too costly to do this now that they’re finished.

      The first Dacia Logan was initially also not developed for Western Europe, but still met all the requirements so they had the possibility to change their strategy later. And thankfully so!

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