- Comfortable seats
- Cheap to run
- Reliable platform
- Practical design
- Looks great
- Some scratchy plastics
- Disappointing manual gear change
The car you can see before you might look new, but the Renault Kadjar is – underneath at least – very similar to the Nissan Qashqai. Other rivals include the Volkswagen Tiguan, Mazda CX-5 and the new Ford Kuga.
In fact, it’s a product of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, which means the best from both firms in terms of chassis design, engine line-up and gearboxes. The styling, technology, fixtures and fittings are all pure Renault, however, which is why it’s best to look at this car as the Captur’s bigger brother rather than a re-badged Nissan.
And in fact, we reckon this is a particularly nice SUV to look at. The Renault design language has been carried over from the rest of the range, but it seems to suit a car of this size better than smaller vehicles like the Clio. It drives well too, is comfortable, seriously quiet and very practical to boot. There really isn’t a lot to dislike about the Kadjar.
Trio of engines
You’ve a choice of three engines – a 1.2-litre petrol along with 1.5- and 1.6-litre diesels. Then you can pick from a six-speed manual gearbox or – for diesel models only – an ‘EDC’ automatic transmission. The most popular is likely to be the 1.5, known as 110 dCi and capable of CO2 emissions as low as 99g/km and fuel economy of 74.3mpg.
The diesels also get the option of a four-wheel drive system called 4x4-i, which can send power to the rear wheels when the fronts begin the slip. This works well, but the reality is not many buyers will go for it. Less than eight percent of sales in this market do.
Packed with kit
You’ve got a choice of four trim levels and a further seven optional ‘packs’ to decipher when deciding which to buy. We’re expecting most buyers to get the third level up – Dynamique S Nav – which features a huge amount of kit for a relatively low list price.
Highlights even at base-spec Expression+ trim include an electric parking brake, front foglights, air-conditioning, Bluetooth and DAB digital radio.
You can get a lot of safety kit too – Renault is expecting a five-star Euro NCAP rating and we’ve got no reason to suspect otherwise. We liked the Visio system you get on all but base-spec cars, particularly because it’ll read traffic signs and warn you when you stray over the indicated speed limit. It also includes lane departure warning and an automatic headlight-levelling function.
So, another entry into the pumped-up family hatchback sector – a market that continues to expand rapidly. Most people agree that it all started with the original Qashqai, but while the latest generation (with which the Kadjar shares many parts) is a very impressive machine, it doesn’t have Renault’s four-year warranty and breakdown cover included.
It also boasts class-leading average residual values, which means lease deals are likely to be better value, so as long as the Renault-only parts remain reliable, the French option looks like a great proposition and truly worthy of a five-star Parkers rating.
Read on for the comprehensive Renault Kadjar review.