Renault Kadjar 1.5 dCi 110 Dynamique S Nav01 | 10 | 2015Scotcars rating

    Renault dives into the highly competitive crossover sector and makes a big splash

    EVERYONE KNOWS HOW huge the crossover segment is, so it's no surprise that Renault has jumped on the ever-burgeoning bandwagon. And the good news is, its new Kadjar is  based on the same platform as the  class-leading Nissan Qashqai. So it's already off to a cracking start.

    Worth highlighting here that, while the Qashqai set new parameters in the mid-sized crossover sector when the latest version was launched in 2014, customers' expectations have moved on since then: and thankfully the new Renault is keeping pace.

    The Kadjar is likely to be a popular favourite with families, all keen to maximise its practicality, low running costs, desirability, and impressive quality.

    Available with a 129bhp 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine or a choice of 109bhp 1.5-litre or 128bhp 1.6-litre diesels, the latter of which can be had with four-wheel drive, buyers get a fairly comprehensive choice.

    The 1.2 petrol covers the 0-62mph in 10.1 seconds, tops-out at 119mph, delivers 50.4mpg at the pumps, and emits 126g/km CO2: but more importantly, it's nippy enough to cope with the everyday demands of city living.

    Most people though will opt for one of the two diesels, with the 109bhp 1.5dCi expected to be the top seller.

    While the larger 128bhp 1.6dCi returns 65.7mpg and emits 113g/km of CO2, the bestseller is even more frugal, returning 74.3mpg on the combined cycle and is free to tax with excellent CO2 emissions of 99g/km.

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    Even better: if you go for the optional dual-clutch automatic gearbox rather than the standard six-speed manual, you get the same impressive figures. Worth highlighting though that the larger 19in alloys fitted as standard to the Dynamique S Nav and Signature Nav result in higher CO2 emissions, taking you outside the tax-free comfort zone.

    A four-wheel drive version is also available, bit only when mated to the 1.6 diesel: in this form economy dips to 58.8mpg with 126g/km CO2.

    While Renault and Nissan admit the Kadjar and Qashqai share 60% of their parts, Renault claims 95 per cent of what you see and feel is completely new in the Kadjar. That's perhaps most notable in the interior of the French car where the quality has, indeed, moved up a notch or two.

    Pitched to go head-to-head against the likes of the Qashqai — naturally — plus the Mazda CX-5 and Ford Kuga, it also hopes to attract current owners of cars such as the Mini Countryman and Skoda Yeti.

    Interestingly, at 4449mm long and 1836mm wide, the Kadjar is shorter and thinner the Ford and Mazda. It is though longer  then the Qashqai, and the driver benefits from the Kadjar's tall right height and commanding view.

    The Renault is also bigger on the inside than the Nissan, despite the fact both cars are based on the same platform. By lengthening the rear overhang, the Kadjar's designers have increased bootspace ahead of the Nissan, up by 42 litres to an impressive 472 litres. That jumps to a rather cavernous 1478 litres when you fold all the seats down.

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    The cabin's also supplemented further by a number of clever cubby holes, together capable of storing another 30 litres of clobber.

    The two top-spec Kadjars get a flexible boot floor, which can be divided to partition the storage area, or raised up to create a flat load bay with no lip when you fold the seats down. These models also get one-touch release, which allows you to lower the 60:40 split bench from the boot.

    Inside the cabin, rear passengers enjoy good leg and headroom, though the panoramic sunroof in the top spec Signature Nav model impinges just a bit on roof space.

    Upfront, the Kadjar gets a more sportier dash than the Nissan, and the cabin benefits from clever use of soft-touch materials which add to the overall feel of quality.

    There's no denying the Kadjar is a good-looking, well-built, stylish car. The front is rather dominated by the massive Renault logo on its big, bold nose. Believe me, you won't miss it when you see one looming up in your rearview mirror.

    The Kadjar actually has something of a concept car look to it, further accentuated by the dramatic swept-back headlights and curvaceous bodywork which combine to give it a stylish, swooping stance.

    There's also no getting way from the fact that while the car looks perfectly acceptable on the standard 17in alloys, fit the optional 19in diamond-cut wheels and it becomes  areal headturner …. probably worth it, even if it does mean you have to pay an annual roadtax.

    So, what's the verdict? If you’re looking for a family SUV-type car for hatchback cash – and it seems that most buyers are – then the Kadjar, especially in 1.5dCi guise, is certainly worn considering.

    It ticks a lot of family boxes and, combined with its competitive pricing, 100,000 mile/four-year warranty, and encouraging resale forecasts, I thick we'll be seeing a lot of Renault Kadjars on the roads.

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    Jim McGill


    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £22,395 / £22,395
    Engine / Power: 4cyls, 1498cc, front-wheel drive, diesel, 6sp manual gearbox / 109bhp
    How fast?: 0-62mph 11.9sec; / Max 113mph
    How big/heavy?: L4449mm W1836mm H1607mm / 1536kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: 72.4mpg combined / 103g/km CO2
    InsGP/Road tax: n/a / n/a
    Alternatives: Nissan Qashqai, Ford Kuga, Mazda CX-5

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