Renault Kadjar Review
Renault has decided to enter the highly competitive C crossover segment and with the impressive Kadjar, its alliance partner Nissan will certainly be looking over its shoulder. This Kadjar does not only look the part it has plenty going for it too.
- Good looking
- Fun to drive
- Competitively priced
- Badge snobbery
- New name can take a while to bed in
Thanks to the success of the Captur, Renault is ready to take on the C crossover segment – yes it’s coming to play with the big boys including Nissan’s Qashqai. Renault may have timed the Kadjar’s launch to perfection – at present, one car in every five sold in the world today is a crossover – heady figures indeed and there’s no sign of this trend slowing any time in the near future.
The Kadjar is based on the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s versatile CMF (Common Module Family) platform and is the first in the Renault line-up to use this modular architecture. Renault has also confirmed that the Megane will be the next car to use this platform.
And just in case you were wondering, Renault claims the Kadjar is an amalgamation of two things – ‘kad’ is inspired by the word ‘quad’, a casual term for something driven by four wheels or legs: in France the letters qu are pronounced as a k. And ‘jar’ is a reference to the French word ‘jaillir’, which means to emerge quickly. So the French maker claims that this new car is a four-wheel-drive vehicle, which is very agile – Kadjar.
Can the Kadjar really take on the might of the class-leading Qashqai and the likes of the VW Tiguan – read on to find out…
On the Road
Renault is offering the Kadjar with a choice of three engines, two gearboxes and two- and four-wheel drive systems. Three engines are available on the Kadjar range and start with the entry-level 1.2-litre turbocharged TCe 130 four-cylinder petrol unit. It will get from zero to 62mph in 10.1 seconds and has a top speed of 119mph.
Next up is the 1.5-litre ENERGY dCi 110 four-cylinder diesel. It will complete the benchmark sprint in 11.9 seconds and has a top speed of 113mph while the flagship engine is the 1.6-litre ENERGY dCi four-cylinder 130 diesel. It will reach 62mph from a standing start in 9.9 seconds and will go on to a top speed of 118mph.
The EDC gearbox is available with the dCi 110 engine. Four-wheel drive is offered with the dCi 130 in the three upper trim levels.
Finally there is the 130hp dCi 130 producing 320Nm of torque and is available in four-wheel drive guise.
In a straight line the Kadjar feels quite nippy while both the manual and auto gearboxes are both smooth shifting. The figures are in line with rivals giving the Kadjar a good level of performance.
On the road the Kadjar feels really well sorted. Even though it shares 70 per cent of its parts with its alliance partner, the Nissan Qashqai, the Kadjar feels better to drive. You can have much more fun when driving through the twisty stuff, the Renault is not only ahead of the Qashqai but also VW ‘s Tiguan. Renault has pulled a rabbit out of the hat - yes the French maker is a little late to the game in this sector of the market but by jove it certainly has made great strides with the Kadjar.
The Kadjar will off-road too as it has an all-wheel-drive system. It has three operating modes – Auto, LOCK and 2WD – meaning you can choose between the setting you want for the environment and conditions.
With a ground clearance of 190mm and approach and departure angles of 18 and 25 degrees, the Kadjar is set-up to negotiate a decent amount of rough terrain. It is not as good as a land Rover, but then again not many rivals are.
The Renault Kadjar comes with a good level of refinement. Road, wind and tyre noise are minimal making the cabin a pleasant place to spend time while passengers won’t have to raise their voices to be heard over the engine noise.
The ride is comfortable. Long journeys are child’s play thanks to the supple suspension, but the great news for enthusiastic drivers is the Kadjar is a well-balanced car. The ride is comfy, but it also has sporty dynamics making it much more fun than many other rivals in the segment.
In the car
Hop in to the Kadjar and the first thing you will notice is the smart and modern interior. Renault has moved on from the days of the Koleos (if any of you are old enough to remember this ill-fated model). The interior is a classy affair and although it may not be up to some of its premium rivals, this is easily one of the best when it comes to the mainstream makers.
Four trims are available in the UK in four trim lines and start with the entry-level Expression+, moves up to Dynamique Nav, then on to Dynamique S Nav and finally comes the Signature Nav.
Highlights on Expression+ includes an automatic electronic parking brake, front foglights, LED daytime running lamps, tinted windows, the 7-inch TFT instrument panel with digital speedometer, all-round electric windows, air conditioning, Bluetooth, a USB socket and a 4 x 20W DAB radio with fingertip controls and an AUX input.
Dynamique Nav adds 17-inch alloy wheels, cornering lights, automatic lights and wipers, the Visio system (lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and automatic headlight beam adjustment), dual-zone climate control, a hands-free keycard, chrome exterior detailing, extra-tinted rear and tailgate windows, automatic door locking, a leather-rimmed steering wheel, driver’s seat lumbar adjustment, a 4 x 35W Arkamys 3D digital audio system and the R-Link 2 multimedia system including satellite navigation with European mapping and TomTom LIVE data services including traffic updates.
The Dynamique S Nav boasts 19-inch diamond-cut alloys, front and rear parking sensors, synthetic leather and cloth upholstery, driver’s seat height adjustment, a One-Touch easy-folding rear bench, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors and the multi-position boot floor.
While the flagship Signature Nav has plenty of bells and whistles and adds 19-inch diamond-cut alloys, full LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, front and rear skid plates, side and boot kick plates, ‘Signature’ cloth and leather upholstery with a Nappa leather steering wheel, a height-adjustable passenger seat and the BOSE Energy Efficient eight-speaker sound system, including a boot-mounted sub-woofer and amplifier.
With the seats in place, the Kadjar has a load space of 472 and this expands to 1,478 litres when folded. If you need options in terms of practicality then the Kadjar has plenty, if you opt for the Dynamique S trim and above, the model comes with a boot-mounted One-Touch easy folding rear seat system. The seats release in one action and they also have a 60:40 split if you require it. If you are thinking of towing with the Kadjar then you’ll be pleased to know that it has a towing capability of up 1,800kg braked.
All versions of the Kadjar come with Renault’s 4+ warranty and assistance package. That means the car is covered for four years or 100,000 miles (with the first two years having no mileage limit). Renault also provides emergency roadside repairs or towing to the nearest dealer 24/7 every day of the year, plus three years’ European cover.
The most frugal engine on the Kadjar range is the 1.5 dCi. It averages 74.3mpg and emits 99g/km of CO2 emissions.
Renault is usually very competitive when it comes to servicing costs. The Kadjar only requires one annual service or every 18,000 miles while three- and four-year Renault Servicing Plans are available to keep costs at a fixed price for you.
Renault has upped its game on the reliability front and to prove that point, the Kadjar receives a four-year warranty, which means the maker has good faith in its product. The fit and finish inside the Kadjar is first class and up there with more premium rivals.
The news on a safety front is good for the Kadjar. It received a five-star rating from Euro NCAP and comes loaded with safety kit. Highlights include ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Emergency Brake Assist, ESC stability control with traction and understeer control, cruise control, speed limiter, Hill Start Assist, six airbags, seat belts with load limiters and pretensioners at the front, side impact protection bars and ISOFIX child-seat mounting points on the two outer rear seat.