Renault may be a bit late in producing their first C-segment SUV,
but the new Kadjar has all the qualities required to give the front-runners a fight for their money. And the price is right.
It might not be a name that’s on the tip or your tongue, but the Renault Kadjar is the sort of car that could soon become a motoring byword for families.
Ironically, based on the same platform and with similar engines as that other unusual sounding SUV – the Qashqai from Nissan – it has all the credentials required for an all-purpose on-message runabout. It’s spacious, has compact external dimensions and is extremely frugal. What’s more, it has the sort of cheeky, tall stance offering great visibility that families love.
But the Kadjar, which is a sort of grown up version of the Renault Captur, must come to terms with some stiff competition from several other new models… the VW Tiguan, Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson, as well as the best selling Qashqai.
Cleverly, Renault designers have stretched the rear overhang of the Kadjar over the Qashqai giving it a generous 472litre boot, which is noticeably larger than the Nissan. Top models include an adjustable boot floor too.
There are three choices of engines – 129bhp 1.2litre turbo petrol, 109bhp 1.5litre diesel, and 128bhp 1.6litre diesel. The latter is the only model that’s available with four wheel drive, although Renault expects a mere 10 per cent of Kadjars to be all-paws. Prices are slightly cheaper than the opposition including its blood brother Nissan, starting at £17,995 and extending to the £26,395.
Altogether comprises 18 versions with four levels of trim and the option of either six speed manual or six speed automatic gearboxes. Best seller as anticipated to be the 1.5litre diesel Dynamique S in two-wheel drive form.
Renault’s design team has done a good job of giving the new SUV its own identity without making it too quirky. Like the smaller Captur, the grill is dominated by a huge Renault badge framed by big, bold LED headlights. The effect is distinctive and sporty, an attitude which is underlined by the rakish profile.
French marques have, by-an-large mastered the art of putting together stylish cabins with a liberal sprinkling of flair and this Renault is no exception with a colour touch screen and sat-nav dominating proceedings.
Sometime the finish and build quality isn’t quite up to the mark, but the switchgear and instruments in the Kadjar are high quality, user-friendly and clear to read. The dashboard materials are soft-touch and classy making the interior pleasant and relaxing. Higher spec versions get part leather seating and a glass panoramic roof. There isn’t, however, an option of a sliding sunroof.
Like other Renaults, the Kadjar is supported by a four year makers’ warranty.
Standard kit in the Dynamique S 1.5 dCi 110, priced at £22,395, includes cruise control, sat-nav, air-con, 60-40 split rear seats and Bluetooth. The frugal 1,461cc diesel scrapes under the car tax threshold with 99g/km CO2 emissions and the official combined mpg is a worthy 72.4mpg. Despite its fuel-sipping demeanour, it has a fair turn of speed disposing of the 62mph sprint in 11.9 seconds and going on to a max of 113mph.
It’s an undemanding car to drive with assured handling and secure roadholding that allows you to press on with neither shocks nor vices.
The steering weights up nicely when you take bends quickly and suspension copes well with poor surfaces and insulates passengers against the effects of potholes. There’s some cornering roll but not enough to disturb the car’s composure. Noise levels are generally low and wind noise is almost non-existent.
The 1.6litre diesel is noticeably more nippy, although statistics show it to be less than two seconds faster to 62mph. Top speed is 119mph. Considerably more torque allows easy overtaking and at the legal speed limit of 70mph in sixth gear, the engine is turning over at a mere 2000rpm guaranteeing quiet, economical cruising.
Inevitably it is slightly less economical than its smaller engined brother, with a combined figure of 62.8mpg. CO2 emissions are 117g/km.
SUVs like the Kadjar – a contrived name that is pronounced about the same around the globe – make up about 11per cent of the UK market and the share is growing.
Renault may be a tad late to the party, but it has all the credentials necessary to make its mark.
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