Renault Kadjar review

Renault are known for their innovation, but they’ve admittedly been somewhat slow to exploit the SUV market, letting the Nissan Qashqai enjoy the spotlight. Hitting showrooms in September 2015 is the Kadjar SUV crossover, Renault’s answer to the Qashqai, and it’s every bit as good (dare we say, even slightly better) than its rival. With solid good looks, practicality and four trim options to choose from, you can expect the Kadjar to become a very popular car indeed this autumn.

We thought we’d check it out for ourselves and take a closer look at what this stylish SUV crossover has to offer…

Exterior

They say you only get three seconds to make a first impression, and the Renault Kadjar makes the most of those seconds! With its broad shoulders, fluid lines and swooping side panels, you won’t know where to look first – add an eye-catching grille and sculptured rear lights and this SUV definitely has some serious va-va-voom. It’s everything you’d expect from Renault, and then some.

In our opinion, this is one of the most distinctive crossovers on the market: it’s practical yet sporty, comfortable yet stylish and perhaps most importantly, it’s enjoyable to drive. The Renault Captur’s big brother is a definite contender for the crossover crown, taking on the Nissan Qashqai, Volkswagen Tiguan and Peugeot 3008 in both the style and comfort stakes.

Available with 17” or 19” alloy wheels and in a choice of four trim models – the entry-level Expression +, mid-range Dynamique Nav, sporty Dynamique S Nav and the top-of-the-range Signature Nav – there’s plenty of options to choose from here.

The top-spec Signature Nav boasts full LED headlamps, signature leather and cloth upholstery, a panoramic sunroof and BOSE sound system with MP3 connectivity. Our model of choice, the Dynamique Nav, offers parking sensors, alloy wheels, sat nav, climate control and auto lights and wipers as standard.

Interior

As you might expect from a Renault, the interior has plenty of style and substance. A nicely textured soft-touch dashboard, plenty of room for five adults and superior tech offerings compared to the Nissan Qashqai ensure the Kadjar’s popularity.

There’s plenty of space for the driver with a comfortable, wide seat offering ample leg and head room. The top-spec Signature trim offers electric adjustable seats, if you’re looking for a little extra luxury. Renault haven’t scrimped on rear space either in the Kadjar, as there is easily enough space for three tall adults. Comfortable outer seats provide plenty of room for longer journeys, although on top-spec models the panoramic roof cuts headroom considerably, and the raised central floor panel may mean taller passengers are less comfortable in the middle rear seat.

When it comes to boot space, you’ll find the Kadjar offers an impressive 472 litres (that’s 42 litres more than the Qashqai), making it ideal for family holidays, city breaks or business trips, although some may find the high boot lip makes loading heavy luggage tricky. Opt for the Dynamique S and you’ll benefit from an adjustable boot floor which can divide the rear space into two sections or fold flat for extra loading space.

Never known to be easily impressed by tech spec, the Kadjar impresses us on this front too, with the R-Link 2 colour touchscreen infotainment system and sat-nav as standard on all models, with the exception of the entry-level Expression +. The infotainment system lets you download apps for weather, social media and email from the dedicated R-Link store – a nice touch. Digital radio, Bluetooth and USB input ensure connectivity for all your devices when you’re out and about.

On the road

The Kadjar shares its tyres, engine, suspension and gearboxes with the Nissan Qashqai, and truth be told it feels very similar on the move, but that’s where our comparisons end. Available in a 1.2-litre petrol or 1.5 and 1.6-litre diesel engine (the 1.6-litre comes with optional four-wheel drive), the excellent visibility, precise steering and confident handling of the Kadjar makes it – in our view – a superior choice.

It’s as much a joy to drive this SUV crossover through town as it is on the open road, and supple suspension means you feel connected to the road but cushioned from bumps, whether you’re commuting to work or driving remote roads on a family holiday.

Whilst we’d probably opt for the 1.5-litre diesel engine with its outstanding fuel economy of 74mpg and impressive CO2 emissions of 99g/km, if you’re sticking to nipping around town then the 1.2-litre turbo petrol may be adequate. With 128bhp and fuel economy of 50.4mpg, a maximum torque from 2,000rpm ensures this engine is best-suited to short journeys.

For those driving more miles, we’d recommend the 1.5-litre or 1.6-litre diesel engines, and the 1.6-litre is the preferred option for off-road, with a four-wheel drive system available. The Kadjar’s diesel engines are punchier at higher speeds than the petrol, and you’ll also enjoy a quieter drive when accelerating in higher gears. With that in mind, some may find the top-spec Signature Nav’s 19-inch wheels provide a noisier ride: something worth considering when choosing your trim, even if the larger wheels do look stunning!

Safety is a major consideration for all drivers, perhaps especially those with young families, and we’re pleased to say Renault have stepped up to the mark here too: ABS brakes, blindspot warning and lane departure warning all ensuring a safer journey. Safety equipment includes six airbags to the front, head/chest side and curtain, anti-whiplash head restraints and child Isofix seat mounting points as standard across all models. Whilst the Kadjar has yet to be assessed by Euro NCAP, it’s predicted to hit the maximum 5-star rating, making it a safe and reliable choice.

Verdict

In our opinion, the Renault Kadjar is a versatile, spacious crossover with bags of personality, offering quality to match the Nissan Qashqai. With a 4-year warranty and roadside assistance pack from Renault, plenty of space for growing families and impressive fuel economy, the Kadjar will appeal to second-time buyers and young families looking for a comfortable, stylish vehicle.

With a list price ranging from £17,995 for the Expression + to a competitive £21,695 for the Signature Nav, the Kadjar is predicted to see strong resale values.

For more information on the Renault Kadjar, or any of our other stunning new cars on sale, why not get in touch with your local Perrys dealership today and see what deals we can offer!