Stylish and efficient SUV bristles with appeal
- Comfortable seats
- Cheap to run
- Practical design
- Some scratchy plastics
- Disappointing manual gear change
- Looks won’t suit all tastes
- No high-powered diesel
Strip away the curvaceous bodywork of the Renault Kadjar SUV and what’s underneath is very similar to the Nissan Qashqai.
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, interior fixtures and fittings are all pure Renault (for the most part), however, which is why it’s best to look at this car as the Renault Captur’s bigger brother rather than a re-badged Nissan.
And in fact, we reckon this is a particularly nice SUV to look at. Its curvy design won’t suit all tastes, but Renault’s design language has translated well onto the Kadjar and there are some neat design details that help to disguise the size of this car.
It drives well too, is comfortable, seriously quiet and very practical to boot. There really isn’t a lot to dislike about the Kadjar.
One diesel and two petrol engines to choose from
You’ve a choice of three engines – 140hp and 160hp 1.3-litre TCe petrols plus a 115hp 1.5-litre Blue dCi diesel – all of which come with front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission. A dual-clutch automatic variant is due on the diesel at some point in the future.
Pre-summer 2018 facelift cars were available with four engines – 1.2-litre TCe 130 and 1.6-litre TCe 165 petrols along with 1.5- and 1.6-litre diesels, referred to as dCi 110 and dCi 130, respectively. A dual-clutch automatic transmission was also available on selected models.
The more powerful diesels also got the option of a four-wheel drive system system (no longer offered), that can send power to the rear wheels when the fronts begin to slip. It worked well, but the demand was relatively small.
Plenty of standard equipment – especially on Dynamique S Nav upwards
You’ve got a choice of five trim levels and several optional packs to decipher when deciding which to buy. Dynamique S Nav sits in the middle of the range and is the best-seller, featuring a huge amount of kit for a relatively low list price.
You can get a lot of safety kit too, plus this Renault received a five-star Euro NCAP rating. 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.
2018 facelift revises engine range and adds Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility
September 2018 saw the Kadjar receive a moderate facelift, including tweaked exterior styling, more ergonomic seats and a new touchscreen (now compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay).
Most notable, however, are the changes made to the range of engines. The 1.2- and 1.6-litre petrols have been replaced by a 1.3-litre available in 140hp and 160hp form. Meanwhile, the diesel range has been condensed down to a single 115hp 1.5-litre offering.
Why should I buy a Kadjar?
Although based on the popular Qashqai, the Kadjar is a very impressive machine, plus models registered before 01 February 2018 benefit from Renault’s four-year warranty and breakdown cover.
It also boasts strong residual values, which means finance and leasing deals are likely to offer stronger value, so as long as the Renault-only parts remain reliable, the French option looks like a great proposition.
The Parkers Verdict
The Renault Kadjar is one of many crossovers trying to lure family buyers, but it’s a tempting proposition thanks to good looks, a spacious interior and generous list of standard kit. Boosting its appeal further is a range of efficient petrol and diesel engines and wide selection of trim levels.