Carzone drives Renault's hot new SUV contender
Renault’s new compact SUV looks great, drives great and is proving hugely popular with Irish car buyers…
The popularity of compact SUVs is at an all-time high in Ireland and buyers now have another model to consider in the new Renault Kadjar. The Kadjar uses the same great underpinnings and engines as the class-favourite Nissan Qashqai, but also offers Renault’s trademark styling and technology, which makes for a strong combination. This along with a frugal range of engines and a low starting price of €25,190 should prove popular with Irish buyers.
What is it like?
The Kadjar has many styling similarities with other cars in the Renault range such as the Clio and Captur, including a swooping front grille, curvaceous doors and black-plastic bumper mouldings. It marries the best of the SUV and family hatchback worlds in terms of looks, however entry-level ‘Expression+’ models don’t get alloy wheels as standard, and we feel they're a must-have option to complement the Kadjar’s look.
The Kadjar’s cabin feels well-built when you step inside, with dark-coloured plastics that are solid to touch, a spacious driver’s area and vibrant digital speedo displays. There is plenty of room for three adults to sit comfortably in the rear, while front seat passengers are treated to a useful grab rail for stepping inside and plenty of surrounding storage areas for coffee cups, smartphones and the like. The Kadjar has a false floor in the boot for stowing items away out of view, and it offers 472 litres of space with the floor in place, which is right on par with the Kia Sportage. What’s more, the rear seats fold completely flat which is great for carrying bulkier loads and expands room to 1478 litres.
The Kadjar is available with three different engine choices; two diesel options and one petrol. The diesel range consists of a 110hp 1.5-litre dCi and a more powerful 130hp 1.6-litre dCi, while the sole petrol offering is a turbocharged 1.2-litre unit. The 1.5-litre dCi that we drove is likely to be the volume seller in Ireland, with motor tax coming in at €190 per year and strong fuel economy ratings over 50MPG / 4.7 litres per 100 kilometres.
Performance of the 1.5 diesel engine is quite good considering its modest power output, and the diesel Kadjar has plenty of power to cope with motorway speeds. For this reason, we’d forego the petrol in favour of the diesel. Out on the road, the Kadjar handles well and rides very comfortably, particularly with 17-inch alloy wheels fitted. Both two and four-wheel drive versions are available, but the two-wheel drive version should suffice for most drivers.
There are four different specifications to choose from and the Kadjar is well-equipped right from base specification, with LED daytime running lights, tinted windows, Bluetooth, air conditioning and an electronic parking brake all standard fare. Our test car is the highest specification ‘Signature Nav’ model and gains niceties such as 19-inch alloy wheels, full LED headlights, a full panoramic sunroof and part leather upholstery to mention a few, but it is considerably more expensive than the base ‘Expression+’ models. Renault’s R-Link touch screen infotainment system comes with all models and it is easy to use, although the screen can be hard to read in direct sunlight.
Carzone verdict: 4/5
Competition in the compact SUV segment is hotter than ever before, but the Kadjar has all of the right ingredients to take on the best in class. There are very few things to dislike about the Kadjar in the way it looks and drives, and for that reason, it should be on your list if you're considering making the switch from family hatchback to compact SUV. It’s new and it’s something different, and for that reason it’s likely that the Kadjar will become a familiar sight on Irish roads in 2017.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: Renault Kadjar
Prices from: €24,990
Price as tested: €31,990
Annual Road Tax: €190
Engine: 1461cc four-cylinder diesel
Power/Torque: 110bhp, 260Nm
Top Speed: 181 km/h
0-100km/h: 11.5 seconds
Transmission: Six Speed Manual
Body style: 5-Door Hatchback
Boot Space: 472 litres
Euro NCAP Safety Rating: 5 Stars