- Smart looks
- Practical for families
- Excellent range of kit
- Effortless driving experience
If you think you’ve seen the pleasantly styled Renault Kadjar sporting a different badge, you’d be right.
Built on the same platform as the ubiquitous Nissan Qashqai and sharing many parts, the Kadjar is the French firm’s variation on a similar theme, as the two car giants are part of the same alliance.
With a selection of diesel and petrol power, it’s the popular 1.3-litre petrol Iconic model we drive here. Matched to a 7-speed automatic gearbox, it delivers 138bhp which allows it to compete evenly with other big selling, family high-riders such as the Kia Sportage, Peugeot 3008 and SEAT Ateca.
In typical Renault style, the Kadjar focuses on comfort and practical family qualities. It’s less aggressive looking than the Qashqai, with more conventional lines and flowing curves.
Space-wise, it compares well with the rivals, being a genuine 5-seater with decent head and legroom. The hatchback boot can carry 472 litres of cargo and nearly 1,500 litres when the back seats are folded down.
Stowage compartments and bottle holders are dotted around the cabin, and there’s a deep central bin for the usual family clutter.
Special mention should be made of the front seats, which are superbly comfortable over long distances, offering plenty of support where it’s needed.
Renault’s warranty now extends to five years and 100,000 miles, a feature that gives it an advantage over a number of rivals.
Interior and Technology
The cabin is less striking in its design than the Nissan, but works well enough with clear dials and easy to use instruments. The central touchscreen, however, is a tad sensitive, which can make adjustments on the move a little tricky.
There’s plenty of equipment on board the Iconic version, including front and rear parking sensors, front fog lights, dual climate control, height adjustable seats, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and lane departure warning.
There’s no shortage of shove from the 138bhp engine, with 62mph coming up in under 10.0 seconds. It’s a refined unit which remains a distant hum and only starts to get slightly harsh towards peak revs.
The automatic change is smooth enough, but it doesn’t come with steering wheel paddles, which would allow greater control.
Complementing the well-shaped, comfy seats is an excellent ride. Only extremely rough or pock-marked roads manage to unsettle the Kadjar’s smooth, composed passage. It corners safely and predictably, although a general numbness of response prevents it from being described as ‘sporty’, a factor that is unlikely to concern most potential buyers.
While few petrol models can match the economy of a diesel, the TCe 140 provides frugal all-round thirst, with most owners easily being able to better 40mpg. Our own average was 42mpg during the 480-mile review.
Overall, the Renault Kadjar is a family-friendly front-runner in the mid-sized SUV market thanks to its spacious interior and comfortability. If you go for the Iconic spec, you'll get a generous amount of standard equipment and a bold, sporty appearance.