Subtle tweaks on the outside and inside make the Renault Kiger more desirable
Subtle tweaks on the outside and inside make the Renault Kiger more desirableShot by Justin Francis for evo India

2022 Renault Kiger first drive

The Renault Kiger gets an update for 2022 featuring subtle changes and a new price tag

Barely a year since the Renault Kiger was first launched in India, the carmaker has gone and given its compact SUV an update, with the 2022 Renault Kiger sporting a few cosmetic changes and more kit as standard while continuing to be powered by the same tried and tested engines. And while this might seem like too small of an update on what is essentially a new model, Renault has stuck to its strengths with the Kiger, especially given the popularity of the SUV, with 50,000 units of the Kiger being sold in India.

Its been a year since the Kiger was launched and it still turns heads
Its been a year since the Kiger was launched and it still turns headsShot by Justin Francis for evo India

2022 Renault Kiger design

Not much has changed on the design front with the updated Renault Kiger and that’s actually not a bad thing. For 2022, you get a skid plate up front, the 16-inch alloy wheels now get red centre caps, there are new decals with TURBO written proudly on the side and over on the tailgate you now get a chrome strip. Design changes aside, the Kiger continues to look fresh even after a year of spotting the SUV on our roads, it still looks funky and fresh. There’s also a new colour option on offer called Stealth Black, and it does make the Kiger look very handsome and upmarket.

Interiors identical to the outgoing car
Interiors identical to the outgoing carShot by Justin Francis for evo India

2022 Renault Kiger interiors

It’s a similar story on the inside, with the Kiger getting subtle tweaks on the interior. The overall layout is identical to the outgoing car but with the update, you get a new red and black trim on the dashboard and contrast stitching for the seats. The fabric seat themselves are quilted now and they do make the cabin a more comfy place to be in. In addition to the infotainment screen which gets wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, you now get a wireless phone charger as standard, unlike earlier when it was an optional accessory. You also get cruise control on the Kiger and apart from that, there isn’t any major update to the features list.

The Kiger continues to get a very nice digital instrument cluster with slick graphics and animations that also change when you switch the drive modes, but the infotainment screen isn’t upto the mark however, as it isn’t the slickest to operate in its class, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto frequently disengaging as well, and this is a common grouse that we’ve had with the Kiger’s infotainment in the past too. And while the cabin of the Kiger does not feel built to a cost, some of the plastic and materials used do feel a bit low rent, with the quality not feeling uniform throughout the cabin. This is something we think should’ve been improved on with the 2022 Kiger, but that part aside, the Kiger feels like a nice place to be in.

Turbo-petrol engine makes the Kiger feel quick
Turbo-petrol engine makes the Kiger feel quickShot by Justin Francis for evo India

2022 Renault Kiger engine and performance

The Kiger continues to be powered by the same engine options as before – a 1-litre nat-asp petrol and a 1-litre turbocharged petrol. We were sampling the latter, mated to the CVT transmission, and it is this engine-transmission combo that we would recommend. The three-pot turbo-petrol 999cc engine makes 99bhp and 152Nm of torque, and it does feel like an enthusiastic engine when you mash the loud pedal and the turbo comes on song. Thanks to the inherent lightness that Renault cars seems to possess, the Kiger feels quick on the move, more so if you switch the driving mode to Sport, where you’re welcomed by wheelspin if you’re launching the SUV aggressively. The Eco mode on the other hand dulls down the throttle responsiveness and also the gearbox mapping to bump up the fuel efficiency. This engine feels competent enough to cruise at 100kmph but it does seem to lose steam if you’re going past 120kmph. It is a vocal engine however and while it may not feel strained as you drive hard, the refinement isn’t the best in its class, with the typical three-pot vibes particularly being felt when you’re idling. The CVT transmission on the other hand keeps the engine in the powerband well, masking the turbo lag and shifting seamlessly.

2022 Renault Kiger ride and handling

Ride quality – that is the Kiger’s trump card. Having used the SUV on pan-India road trips like our 28 States 28 Plates drive last year, we have always been impressed with the way that the Kiger deals with our road conditions. French car makers like Renault have always had good suspension setups, since historically they had to cope with the ravaged roads of France post-World War 2. And the way that the Kiger rides over the craters that pepper Kerala’s smooth roads is downright impressive. There’s never any worry about the Kiger bottoming out, thanks to 205mm of ground clearance, and the low speed ride quality is very impressive. It does come at the expense of handling, and the Kiger prefers to cruise along at a relaxed pace. It’s not a sharp handler by any means, as the steering which is very light to use in the city does not offer much in terms of feedback when you’re driving enthusiastically. The best to drive the Kiger then is cruising along at a relaxed pace, driving at eight-tenths and munching the miles. Couple that with a high-set driving position and it does inspire massive confidence to a driver, along with lesser fatigue behind the ’wheel, which is a big plus for a potential Kiger buyer who would mostly be upgrading to the SUV from a hatchback.

Prices for the 2022 Kiger start at Rs 5.84 lakh
Prices for the 2022 Kiger start at Rs 5.84 lakhShot by Justin Francis for evo India

2022 Renault Kiger verdict

Prices for the 2022 Kiger start from Rs 5.99 lakh (ex-showroom), which makes it marginally more expensive than the outgoing car. The turbo-petrol engine can also be had on the mid-spec RXT(O) variant now, and overall, the improvements that the update brings to the Renault Kiger make it an even more desirable package than before. The 2022 Kiger does make the SUV fresher for 2022, but only a detailed comparison will help us find out how it stacks up against its rivals such as the Nissan Magnite, the Hyundai Venue and the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Brezza, the Tata Punch and the Citroen C3.

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