Renault Kadjar Review 2015.
For – eye-catching, well-proven mechanicals, drives well.
Against – expensive.
DONCASTER, England – Renault’s new compact SUV is called the Kadjar. There is a reason for that name, but I’m afraid my brain glazed over while it was being explained to me.
If it sells well, and it is certainly a high-quality machine, I doubt if the crazy name will hold it back. Look at the Nissan Qashqai for instance, or the Nissan Juke, which sell in the hundreds of thousands despite having silly names. It says a lot for the buying public not being put off buying great cars because the name is a bit dodgy. The Kadjar in fact has a lot of components in common with the Qashqai because this SUV is a fruit of the collaboration alliance between Renault and Nissan. If proven engines and components are important to you in your buying decision, this will score well for the Kadjar. If the Qashqai is too mundane, the Kadjar scores well if you want to be noticed. You would certainly never guess from looking at the Kadjar that it had any link with the Qashqai.
On the road the Kadjar is just fine, with a slick gear-box and attractive dashboard with plenty of reminders that it has much connectivity, should you want any. The exterior design is much more adventurous than the Nissan, some might say it looks a bit over-designed and gimmicky, but certainly eye-catching. The space in the back seemed a little cramped for headroom. The car felt solid and well built. The new Kadjar is available in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive versions and at launch there are three engines – two diesels and one petrol. Bait for would-be buyers – a 4-year, 100,000 mile warranty. The Kadjar is on sale now and prices start at £17,995. The car I drove though was a much pricier top-of-the-range Signature Nav costing £27,470. Of course prices are nowadays really opening bids rather than firm offers, so I’m sure there is room to negotiate.
Kadjar is being offered in an 18-version line-up based on four trim lines – Expression+, Dynamique Nav, Dynamique S Nav and Signature Nav. Standard safety features include ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution, electronic stability control with traction and understeer control, cruise control, speed limiter, Hill Start Assist, six airbags, seat belts with load limiters and pre-tensioners at the front, side impact protection bars and ISOFIX child-seat mounting points on the two outer rear seats. I’d call that well equipped. And there’s more.
Core features on Expression+ include an automatic electronic parking brake, front fog-lights, LED daytime running lamps, tinted windows, the 7-inch TFT instrument panel with digital speedometer, all-round electric windows, driver’s seat height adjustment, air conditioning, Bluetooth, a USB socket and a 4 x 20W DAB radio with fingertip controls and an AUX input.
Signature Nav features 19-inch alloys, full LED headlights and a panoramic sunroof.
The three engines on offer are a 1.2-litre, 130 hp petrol, a 1.5-litre 110 hp diesel and a 1.6-litre 130 hp diesel. An automatic gearbox is available with the 110 hp engine. Four-wheel drive is offered with the 130 in the three upper trim levels. If I was in this market, I would go for a 130 hp motor with automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive, so the Kadjar drops off my list.
You’ll see from the box below that the compact SUV market is packed with great, competitive cars and you could make a serious case for all of them. The Germans will, not surprisingly, be the most expensive, and I’ve yet to drive the new Kia Sportage, my favourite in the past. The new Sportage has become a bit chubbier and less cute, although our meeting was brief at the recent Frankfurt Car Show.
(Renault provided transport, hotel)
You may be interested in the latest Renault Kadjar buyers guide, you can find it here:
|Renault Kadjar Signature Nav|
|Engine:||1.6 litre four-cylinder diesel|
|Power:||130 hp@ 4,000 rpm|
|Torque:||320 Nm @ 1,750|
|Acceleration:||0-62 mph-100 km/h – 9.9 seconds|
|Top Speed:||118 mph-190 km/h|
|Fuel Consumption:||claimed combined 62.8 mpg-4.5 l/km|
|Emissions class:||Euro 6|
|Service Intervals:||18,000 miles-1 year|
|Warranty:||4 years-100,000 miles|
|Competition:||Nissan Qashqai, Mazda CX-5, Ford Kuga, Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, Skoda Yeti, Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes GLA, Volkswagen Tiguan, Toyota RAV4, Peugeot 3008, Vauxhall-Opel Antara|
|For:||eye-catching, well-proven mechanicals, drives well|