The Renault Kwid vs. Maruti Suzuki Alto 800

The Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 was the “first car” of choice in India before the French came along and offered the Renault Kwid to the country’s growing middle class. New car owners are cost-conscious, of course, but price isn’t an issue when comparing the two because the standard variants are almost similarly priced – the Kwid is selling for ₹2.62 lakh (approx. US$3,900) and the Alto 800 is priced at ₹2.49 lakh (approx. US$3,700).

So, if you’re upgrading from two wheels to four or buying your first car, you’re probably facing the dilemma of deciding between the two. To help you along, Automology breaks down the difference and makes it simple for new car owners to come to a decision:-


What’s under the hood and boot?

Both cars have similar 3-cylinder engines with 800cc displacement. But that’s where the similarity ends. The Kwid’s engine has a peak power and torque of 53PS and 72Nm, whereas the Alto’s peak numbers are 48PS and 69Nm. However, the Alto’s engine shows decidedly smoother and quieter performance.

The Alto has a larger tank (35 litres) compared to the Kwid (28 litres), so you don’t have to refuel as often. BUT, the French car is SLIGHTLY more fuel efficient, with consumption of 25.2km/l compared to 24.7km/l with Maruti’s offering.

The Kwid’s boot has an impressive 300-litre capacity, which can be expanded to 1115-litre with the rear seat folded down. In this regard, it puts the Alto, with only 177-litre boot space, to shame.


What’s inside?

The Kwid measures slightly larger (3,679mm x 1,579mm) compared to the Alto (3,430mm x 1,490mm), so the space inside is comfortable for larger drivers and passengers. The dark grey finishing creates a classy ambience that is far above the class it is actually in. From the driver’s point of view, though, for some reason, visibility feels contracted; the bonnet is in the way and, through the rearview mirror, the rear windscreen looks distant.

The Alto’s cabin finishing is ordinary, but the interior space feels quite roomy despite being smaller than the Kwid. Seats are comfy but taller occupants in the rear might find it a tad cramped.

For the price, it is surprising that the Kwid features a 7” touchscreen entertainment system with Bluetooth, and equipped with satellite navigation, no less; the Alto only has a 1-DIN audio system with USB and AUX only.

Driver-side airbag are optional features in both models.


Who’s the better looker?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but we think the French model is by far the better looker. The Kwid looks like it aspires to be an SUV, and has a higher and wider stance than the more timid looking Alto.


Which offers a better driving experience?

To put it simply, the Kwid does better at slower speeds, making it more suited for city driving. The suspension seems to have been set up to handle potholes and uneven roads.

The Alto, on the other hand, is steadier at higher speeds; the responsive gear and brakes offer more confidence when you’re cruising on the highway.


Specs comparison.


The winning car for different criteria:-

  • Engine performance – ALTO;
  • Refuelling convenience – ALTO;
  • Fuel economy = too small a difference to matter, so it’s a tie;
  • Interior space = KWID;
  • Infotainment system = KWID;
  • Boot space = KWID, by far;
  • Looks = KWID, in our opinion;
  • Handling = KWID for city driving; ALTO on the highway.



We’d go with the French model, as it offers great value for money, and it is, in our humble opinion, the best in class model that is available in the entry level segment.

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