I got to spend about five weeks with Renault’s new Kiger. Aesthetically, this compact crossover hits all the right spots within its category. As a new entrant into the market, its looks stand out from the congested crowd. Athleisure is a good way to sum up up the look of the Kiger.
Strong, muscular lines with a higher ground clearance, aluminium finish skid plates, a sporty rear window finished off with an integrated spoiler plus finer touches to further highlight the new Kiger’s aerodynamic stance. The higher ground clearance (205mm) and functional roof bars completes the Kiger’s SUV look.
The test vehicle that I reviewed was the higher trim level, 1.0-L Turbo CVT X-tronic, which boasts 16” black diamond cut alloys that are framed by big black arches around the wheels, giving them bolder and sturdier appearance. Interestingly, the Kiger has a boot volume of 405 L, which is unrivalled within its segment. This top-of-the-range derivative is distinguished by a two-tone body colour – with the roof being different from the body.
Step inside the cabin of the Kiger you immediately you notice the higher centre console that features an 8’’ floating touchscreen with wireless smartphone replication for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The system not only offers voice recognition through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but also Bluetooth connectivity that can pair up to five devices, a USB socket for faster charging and a built-in MP4 video player. Not just a tech kid – there is a multitude of clever cabin storage compartments throughout, totalling 29 L which is class-leading.
The higher spec models offer a multi-sense driving experience as well as ambient lighting. The multi-sense feature enables the selection of different driving modes for a completely different driving experience – i.e., Normal, Eco or Sport mode. NORMAL mode (which I used 90% of the time) offers an optimum driving experience for city driving conditions. It also provides useful information like real-time and average fuel consumption all in a blue colour look. ECO mode provides a drive which is inclined towards economic driving practices, changing the overall appearance of the TFT to green. Honestly, I found this mode dulled the car’s performs to a meagre limp. SPORT mode provides a drive experience that’s full of fun and sportiness, with crisper engine response and faster shifting. The overall TFT screen turns to red with quick information of acceleration gauge, torque, power ratios, etc.
Features I enjoyed included a novel auditorium 3D sound system by Arkamys. The system features eight onboard speakers (four 6,5” speakers, four tweeters). A handsfree smart access card (key) that allows for everyday convenience, enabling doors to be opened and closed automatically, and the engine to be started without a key. The reverse camera with guiding lines for greater visibility and precision when reversing or manoeuvring into a parking bay was handy.
Over the test period, I took the Kiger out of town for a vacation to the Magaliesberg. The adventure meant loading the car up with passengers and luggage. Thankfully, the Kiger has segment-leading space – 710mm between seats and at the rear, while the second row has a legroom of 222mm and elbow room of 1413mm. All of which meant that we were all comfortable. The ride was supple enough for some soft off-road adventure and on-road dynamics.
Arguably the best part of the Kiger, besides its looks, is its engine. Remember, I was driving the range topper – a 1.0-L turbo that is lovingly mated to X-Tronic CVT gearbox. Again, another benchmark – best torque-to-weight ratio in the compact SUV segment. I’d strongly recommend choosing the CVT option over the manual option. I’ve heard it’s a bit clunky.
The Kiger is available in 3 new trim levels – Life, Zen and Intens, comprehensively spec’d from the base level upwards.
Not perfect, but I guess nothing is in life! There are some creaks, the safety belt connector is irritating to use and there is an abundance of cheap plastics in the cabin. But hey, there’s also a long list of highlights that overwhelm its shortcomings.
Kia Sonet, Hyundai Venue, Citroën C3 Aircross, Fiat 500X, Ford EcoSport, Honda WR-V/BR-V, Jeep Renegade, Kia Seltos, Mahindra XUV300, Mazda CX-3, Mitsubishi ASX, Opel Crossland, Peugeot 2008, Renault Duster/Captur, Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Nissan Magnite, Toyota Urban Cruiser and Volkswagen T-Cross.
KIGER Life 1.0L R199 900
KIGER Zen 1.0L R214 900
KIGER Zen 1.0L AMT R224 900
KIGER Zen 1.0L Turbo R249 900
KIGER Intens 1.0L Turbo R269 900
KIGER Intens 1.0L Turbo CVT R289 900
Service and warranty
The new Renault Kiger comes standard with a 5-year/150 000km mechanical warranty and a 6-year anticorrosion warranty, with service intervals at 15 000km. Service plans apply: 2-year/30 000km (naturally aspirated) or 3-year/45 000km (for the Turbo charged models)
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