Tested: the car Idols winner Berry Trytsman drives!

Tested: the car Idols winner Berry Trytsman drives!

Idols winner and instant millionaire Berry Trytsman has it all: a voice like an angel, four kids, a record deal with Kalawa Jazmee Records … and a Renault Kiger nogal. I have none of the above … well, except the car… more or less. In the interests of factual accuracy, I do need to point out that it was only “mine” for a week.

The specific model I tested was the Renault Kiger 1.0 Turbo CVT and I was keen to see what Renault’s latest head-turner was like to drive and specifically if I could learn to live with (and love) a CVT. Honestly, I like CVTs as much as I like politicians. Which is not very much.

Anyway, I tried to approach the test drive with an open mind and a dollop of enthusiasm. The latter was ever so easy to muster up; the French really have a knack for designing drop-dead gorgeous cars and the Kiger is no exception. I can perfectly understand why Berry is so thrilled about jetting around town in one; it’s as beautiful as her voice.

The exterior styling is simply sublime. Renault is really ticking all the design boxes with its cars of late – and the Kiger is no exception to this rule. I love the strong, muscular sculpted lines, high ground clearance, aluminium finish skid plates, and the sporty rear window finished off with an integrated spoiler. The striking tri-octa LED Pure Vision headlamps give the impression of modernity and sophistication. They’re a real exterior highlight.

The interior gets the thumbs up too; it is both elegant and sophisticated. The higher centre console features an 8’’ floating touchscreen with wireless smartphone replication for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This feature allows passengers to connect their smartphones seamlessly and to access the special driving and multimedia apps. Passengers can select five permanent shortcuts for faster access to apps and features. 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.


The interior is not just stylish; it’s practical too. The Renault Kiger sets a very high standard when it comes to load capacity, offering the best boot space in the segment – 405 L which can extend to 879 L with the second row of seats folded down 60/40. Furthermore, it offers optimal storage space, with a whole host of clever storage compartments for ultimate convenience, with a total onboard capacity of 29 L, including four 1-litre water bottle holders and two cupholders. The central armrest has a deep storage space of 7.5 L while the glove compartment has an unprecedented volume of 10.5 L, with the upper and lower glove box capacity totalling 14.9 L.

There are two engine choices: a naturally aspirated 1.0 L engine with an output of 52kW and 96Nm of torque, and a three-cylinder turbocharged 1.0 L petrol engine with a power output of 74kW and 160Nm of torque. To my delight, my test car was the turbocharged derivative. It’s a real hoot to drive; it’s never found lacking in the performance department. The 1.0 L turbo energy engine is either mated with a five-speed manual gearbox or an X-Tronic CVT gearbox. To my surprise, I found the CVT gearbox surprisingly easy to live with; it was smooth and responsive. Clearly, CVTs have come a long way.

So, I liked the Kiger. A lot. Is there anything I didn’t like about it? One minor niggle: it’s a bit of a mission to clip in the seatbelt. There’s not a lot of space and I battled a bit. Other than that, it’s the perfect city car!

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Charleen Clarke

CHARLEEN CLARKE is editorial director of FOCUS. While she is based in Johannesburg, she spends a considerable amount of time overseas, attending international transport events – largely in her capacity as associate member of the International Truck of the Year Jury.
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