- Spacious interior
- Plenty of safety features
- Practical boot space
- Driving position takes some getting used to
- Road noise with 19-inch wheels
Even though the Renault Kadjar came out in 2015 it wasn’t the brand’s first foray into the crossover market as they’d attempted to crack it with the Koleos model, which sadly didn’t have enough to take on the hugely successful Nissan Qashqai.
Along came the smaller Captur but that was marketed as more of an urban crossover, so after a spell back at the drawing board the larger, more luxurious and practical Kadjar was launched.
We tested the Kadjar in Signature Nav trim for a week to see how it compares to the Qashqai.
On The Road
The Renault Kadjar we had on test came with the dCi 130 diesel engine, it’s a 1.6-litre that has 130hp with 320Nm of torque, a 0 - 62mph time of 9.9 seconds and a top speed of 118mph. The six-speed manual seems to have plenty of power from the off and 4WD is offered with this engine, while an automatic CVT gearbox is also now available with this engine.
Renault reckon it can achieve 62.8mpg, in an ideal world we managed 53.7mpg and with CO2 emissions of just 117g/km running costs will be very good. There is also an Eco mode should you really want to be fuel efficient with a helpful display screen tutorial on how to do this, and then you can really test your eco driving as you try to score top marks.
Renault have recently added a turbocharged 165hp TCe 165 petrol engine to the Kadjar line up which has a top speed of 127mph, making it the most powerful addition to the range and giving an increased engine choice for buyers.
The ride feels fairly composed at higher speeds, the snazzy 19-inch wheels just make it short of feeling 100% comfortable. Coming with all-wheel drive there is the option of four-wheel drive if you’re really looking to take the Kadjar off-road and Renault do claim it’s ‘been designed for the great outdoors‘ with 190mm of ground clearance. Its exterior rugged looks are testament to that.
It handles well with light steering, there’s some slight body roll into corners and although it’s a fairly decent drive like the Nissan Qashqai it shares the same platform with, if you’re looking for a car that’s stable and composed then this is it.
It has the looks of the sister Renault Scenic, it’s just a bit more crossover in style and we had it in a gorgeous, striking metallic Flame Red colour which costs £650. The added chrome on the body, roof rails and window surrounds really make it quite striking and it also has tinted windows.
A cool looking keycard means if you’re hands are full empyting the Kadjar you can walk alway and the car will lock itself. But for some reason it didn’t unlock it if you were in the vicinity of the car which can be frustrating when you have no spare hands. Do we prefer it to a key? At times no as there’s that tiny fear you’ll lose it.
In The Car
As soon as you unlock the car and open the door the R-Link 2 multimedia system plays a tune, while a silhouette of the front of the car comes up on the driver’s instrument panel.
One thing with Renaults is that the driving position is less laid back and more truck driver, so you tend to sit over the top of the pedals, getting your clutch action on point takes a bit of getting used to.
You sit fairly high although there’s still a front corner of the Kadjar that you can’t see that well, especially when you’re parking, it’s a good job it comes with front and rear parking sensors.
The driver’s digital instrument panel is nicely designed, clear and informative and doesn’t look like it’ll date too quickly, while the 7-inch touchscreen has a good layout including an eco driving system to really test how economical your driving is. If you can get more than 50 out of 100 then you’re doing well.
We tested the Signature trim which added a dark leather and cloth upholstery which looked really smart, a Nappa leather steering wheel, dual zone climate control, Bluetooth, a Bose eight-speaker sound system and painted front and rear skid plates.
The Renault Kadjar is a hugely practical family car, we found it easy to get a child car seat in and out without the restriction of the front seats getting in the way.
It is spacious like an SUV, up front there is good levels of head and legroom and the rear also shares this, it might be a squeeze with three adults though. There is a front centre armrest which is really deep and can hold a 2 litre bottle.
Our test car came with a panoramic roof which let in so much light and made it feel larger than it is, and it gives a young child in the rear plenty to look at on a long journey.
The boot holds 472 litres which can be increased to 1,478 litres and there are simple, accessible levers to pull to put rear seats flat, there is also a removable, multi-position boot shelf - it’s great for making sure your shopping bags of food don’t tip all over the boot as you can divide it accordingly. Or, if like us you forget your bags it will stop tins and bottles from rolling around the boot floor.
The Renault Kadjar costs from £19,785 for the entry level Expression+, the model we had on test was £28,265 as the metallic paint added £650 and their Techno Pack Premium which adds hands free parking, a rear parking camera, a blind spot warning and an emergency braking system was £800.
It comes with a four year/100,000 mile warranty and there are also servicing plans available from £459 for three years/30,000 miles.
So what did we make of it? We love the design, onboard technology and space, it’s practical if you were looking it as a family car as it’s larger than the sister Captur and it definitely is a great contender in the crossover segment.
The Signature trim we had on our test Kadjar really does make it feel and look good thanks in part to the part leather upholstery and soft-touch materials in the cabin, and although owners have praised running costs, it’s the build quality which has let it down and that’s an area Renault need to improve upon to keep up with rivals.
Despite that negative point the model won the Used Car of the Year and Best Mid-Sized SUV in the Auto Express Used Car 2018 awards.
The Renault Kadjar was tested in the Euro NCAP tests in 2015 and scored five stars, we can see why as it’s packed with plenty of safety features.
Safety systems in the Signature trim include their Visio system which comes with Lane departure, traffic sign recognition and automatic high and low beam, electronic stability control with anti-skid, a speed limiter and the Renault Anti Intruder Device which locks all doors and the boot automatically when the car is doing more than 6mph.
It also comes with six airbags, hill start assist, cruise control, Isofix child car seat points and security comes in the form of a Thatcham category 1 alarm and immobiliser.