CarsMotormouth Reviews

Renault's crossover looks set to compete with the class leaders

Renault Kadjar
Renault Kadjar
Renault Kadjar
Renault Kadjar
Renault Kadjar
Renault Kadjar

I’m no Jamie Oliver, but I don’t mind throwing stuff in a pot and claiming to be ready for my first Michelin star. The part I don’t like about cooking is when people turn up late. Take last Christmas. After slaving over the cooker and getting everything timed to perfection, the sister-in-law decided to do a present run, arriving exactly 58.25 minutes late for the 1.30pm carving.

I suppose its part of everyday life, whether it’s being late for dinner or a night out, better late than never right? If you had asked me last Dec 25, you might have gotten a different answer.

What has this got to do with cars? The same principal applies. Take my recent test drive of Renault’s new crossover, the strangely-named Kadjar. It comes eight years after the highly-successful Nissan Qashqai.

It’s astonishing to think that with all the success the Qashqai has had in creating – and dominating – the crossover category, that the Nissan-Renault alliance didn’t allow for a Renault crossover, much in the same ilk as the Qashqai. It might be that they felt that they didn’t want to dilute the soaring success of the Qashqai, or that the market didn’t need another variant. It now seems that Renault are hungry for their slice of the pie, and with the Kadjar, they have added a very good crossover to the segment.

Renault’s Kadjar won’t topple the Qashqai, but it will take sales from rivals, especially the Korean duo of the Kia Sportage and Hyundai ix35.

The Kadjar is right up there with the most stylish crossovers. It looks big and it’s larger than the Qashqai with 42-litres more boot space.

It’s a big brother to the smaller Renault’s smaller crossover, the Captur, which I didn’t really take to. I think it looks good but the one-litre engine I tested in it was very weak and it isn’t the most spacious. But they’ve really nailed this one with the Kadjar.

It looks good both inside and out and there’s plenty of space for five adults. The touch-screen infotainment is user friendly and gives the interior a premium feel, although some of the plastics used are a bit scratchy.

There’s a 1.2 petrol engine with 130bhp and a 1.6 diesel with either 100bhp or 130bhp, which was powering my test car. It’s the pick of the bunch for me as the added torque and horsepower give the Kadjar a good turn of foot. The suspension set-up is more comfy than sporty but it doesn’t roll in the corners and you get good feedback through the steering. It does use the same mechanics as the Qashqai, and it’s one of the best driving crossovers available.

Renault’s Kadjar has five years’ warranty and roadside assist and three years’ free servicing. It’s a real option for anyone looking for
a new crossover in 2016.

Tech spec:

Model: Renault Kadjar Dynamique Nav dCi 130 2WD
Price: Trom €24,990 (test car €29,490)
Tax Band: Band A4 €200
Fuel Economy: 4.5 litres per 100km (claimed)
Top speed: 190kph
0-100km/h: 9.9s
Boot space: 472 litres