Renault Kadjar - A mid-sized SUV, with French flair
The Renault Kadjar is a mid-sized SUV oozing the French style and flair of old. The Kadjar is a crossover SUV and one that has been missing from the Renault line-up for too long. With many rival entries popping up in this sector so regularly it is now such a competitive, if not one of the most competitive, car markets. With the likes of the Skoda Karoq, Seat Ateca, Kia Sportage and the much-praised, Nissan Qashqai just a few of the main pretenders, Renault have a tall task to muscle in against these.
The Renault Kadjar was first introduced in 2015 and shared a lot of its underpinnings with the excellent Nissan Qashqai thanks to the Renault-Nissan partnership. Renault has then used its unique design flair to create a modern-day SUV with plenty of curb appeal. In 2019 Renault gave the Kadjar something of a makeover, with new body styling, engine line-up and upgraded technologies. In such a competitive market, it is vital to keep evolving and enhancing, and Renault have done that, and they have done it quite well.
There are four trim levels when selecting your Kadjar each with a generous selection of standard equipment starting with the entry-level Play, the Iconic, S Edition and finally the GT Line. There's no "hot" version, as you get in some of its rivals such as the Skoda Karoq vRS and Cupra version Seat Ateca.
The Kadjar is a family orientated cruiser, which is equally as good around town as it is going on long holiday trips filled with the family's luggage. It is comfortable, practical and spacious whilst maintaining its unique styling and personality.
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Engines, Power and Performance
The new engine line-up for the Renault Kadjar is fairly straight forward. There are two diesel and two petrol options to choose from with no hybrid or all-electric to be found. There is a choice of manual or automatic transmissions along with either a two-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive.
The two petrol options share the same 1.3-litre turbocharged unit but with different power outputs. The entry-level is the TCe 140 which develops 140hp and 240Nm of torque and can be mated to a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed dual-clutch EDC automatic transmission. Choosing the manual transmission will allow you to get from 0-62mph in 10.4secs; however, opt for the automatic and the same task will take just 9.4secs.
The alternative petrol choice is the TCe 160 which develops 160hp and 260Nm of torque but is only available with the six-speed manual transmission. It will race from 0-62mph in 9.4secs and hit a top speed of 128mph. Both petrol variations come with the two-wheel-drive there is no option to have four-wheel-drive.
The entry-level diesel is the DCi 115, a 1.5-litre turbocharged engine creating 115hp and 260Nm of torque. There is a choice of manual or automatic transmissions, with the manual option taking 11.7secs to get from 0-62mph, while the automatic takes 11.5secs to achieve the same feat.
The final diesel offering is the DCi 150, a 1.7-litre turbocharged unit generating 150hp and 340Nm of torque. It is only available with the six-speed manual transmission, but you can choose either a two- or four-wheel drive system, the only engine where 4WD offered. This new engine will hit 0-62mph in 11.2secs if you have chosen the 4WD version and 10secs if you opt for the 2WD setup.
Interior Quality and Technology
The interior of the Renault Kadjar is much improved and now features more soft-touch materials and aluminium knobs and dials to give it a premium appearance. The build quality and materials used are good, not quite up to the high standards and design of rivals such as the Peugeot 3008 and the VW Group offerings (Skoda and Seat), but for the price it is excellent.
A real strong point for the Kadjar is the amount of equipment you get as standard, even in the entry-level Play trim. Some of these features include a 7-inch colour touchscreen supporting a new infotainment system which is easy to use and navigate. There is also Bluetooth connectivity, smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and DAB Radio and rear parking sensors to list just a few.
If you can afford it go for the Iconic trim and the list of optional features is impressive and well worth the additional £2k. For this extra layout you get front and rear parking sensors with a reversing camera, R-Link 2 Navigation system and 19-inch alloy wheels along with much, much more.
The Kadjar is extremely comfortable, with the front seats having a wide range of adjustments as does the steering wheel, so finding that perfect driving position is easy. Iconic trim and above also offer variable lumbar support for added comfort and stability.
The higher you move up the trim levels, the greater the amount of equipment you get, all for very reasonable prices, most of which would be optional extras on many of the Kadjar's rivals. Renault has made the Kadjar affordable and desirable, and there should be a model suitable to satisfy any buyer's needs.
Space, Practicality and Safety
The Kadjar is a very spacious SUV offering excellent practicality throughout and is comfortably a match for any of its rivals. Climbing into the front, you will find an impressive amount of legroom and headroom to fit any size and shape person. Moving to the rear of the Kadjar and you find an equally fantastic amount of space, where a couple of large adults will have no difficulty getting comfy and stretching out thanks to a generous amount of legroom and headroom even with the optional panoramic sunroof fitted. The third/middle seat is best reserved for a small adult or young child due to the rather large transmission tunnel running up the centre of the car.
There are countless storage cubbies throughout the cabin, including a couple of cup holders front and rear, door pockets and a decent-sized glovebox. The boot is slightly larger than that found in the Nissan Qashqai and as impressive as most others in its class. It has a capacity of 472-litres which rises to a capacious 1478-litres with the rear seats folded down.
The Kadjar scored an impressive 5-star rating at the Euro NCAP safety tests, which is no surprise given the number of safety assists included across the range. Some of the standard features include multiple airbags, emergency brake assist, cruise control with speed limiter and ABS. Move up the trim levels, and you can add lane departure warning and blindspot monitoring along with many other safety aids.
The Renault Kadjar is a fantastic mid-sized SUV and easily holds its own against some stiff competition. With great all-round practicality, comfort and fantastically French design flair the Kadjar is certainly worth considering as your next family car.