Cape Town - Renault is answering a growing call for automatic gearboxes in the budget segment with the new Kwid AMT.
The new derivative comes in on top of two existing manual options sold in either base Expression or higher-specced Dynamique trim grades, but the new AMT is available as a Dynamique only.
The five-speed AMT transmission is a robotised manual similar in operation to Suzuki's AGS and Smart's AMT gearboxes (and even BMW's old SMG) where a computer-controlled actuator depresses a conventional clutch (instead of the driver) and gear selections happen automatically.
It's an older type of transmission technology, and in the past we've criticised automated manuals for their lurchy performance and lengthy hesitations between gear changes, but we'll wait for the final word of of editor Denis Droppa who's attending the media ride-and-drive of the new Kwid as we speak.
The Kwid AMT employs the same 50kW/91Nm 1-litre three-cylinder engine as it's had since its original launch in 2016, but with the new transmission Renault quotes an average fuel consumption of 4.4 litres per 100km (down from 4.7 in the manual).
Dynamique standard fare comes in the form of a 17.8cm colour touchscreen with navigation, some extra chrome trim pieces in the cabin and a second cubby hole in the upper part of the dashboard.
All Kwids come with Renault's standard five-year/150 000km warranty, and to entice buyers one year of comprehensive insurance is thrown into each sale, but unfortunately (and controversially) the city hatch still doesn't come with ABS brakes. There's also only one airbag for the driver, where some competitors come with at least two.
Renault KWID Expression R 126 900
Renault KWID Dynamique R 136 900
Renault KWID Dynamique AMT R 146 900