We Review the Renault Kadjar

We Review the Renault Kadjar
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The Car.co.uk verdict:

4.3

The latest Renault Kadjar is the French entry for a mid-size crossover in the shape of a small but spacious SUV. It’s sturdily built on the bones of crossover royalty, sharing both platform and engines with one of the top choices in its car class, the Nissan Qashqai.

This means the new Renault Kadjar has two turbo-charged petrol choices and two options for diesel power, and while perhaps not the most inspiring drive, this solid all-rounder rates very high on running costs and practicality.

Pros

  • Highly spacious inside
  • Affordable to both buy and run
  • Ships with a 100,000-mile four-year warranty

Cons

  • Hardly a breathtaking drive
  • Some cheap material lets the interior down
  • Frustrating touchscreen

At a glance

  • Looks
  • Practicality
  • Engine & power
  • Reliability
  • Equipment & options
  • Interior
  • The drive
  • Cost
  • Safety
  • Why buy

Looks

3 out of 5

A generic crossover with aesthetic upgrades

More functional than flash, the Renault Kadjar is definitely not a car designed to turn heads, but it’s not what you would consider an ugly design by any stretch of the imagination. While definitely on the generic side for a crossover car, this latest model sports some additional aesthetics previously lacking in older models.

This Renault Kadjar version now features a wider grille in the front below the iconic Renault diamond, and there are three new colours to choose from when it comes to paintwork, including the unusually titled ‘Iron Blue’. The lighting package included has seen an upgrade too. Every model now comes with front mounted fog lights and LED-format running lights, along with a cluster of lights in the rear bumper.

Its looks certainly can’t be putting everyone off. Since the Kadjar launched back in 2015, Renault has sold over 45,000 units of the car worldwide. With the new updates to the Renault Kadjar spec in terms of engine, trim, and styling, it seems this is a trend likely to continue.

Practicality

5 out of 5

Roomy and comfortable with plenty of storage space

You'll be completely comfortable in the front seats of the Renault Kadjar. There’s ample headroom, as well as plenty of space in the footwells to stretch out your legs. There’s also a solid amount of elbow room between passenger and driver, making for comfortable travel up front.

Storage space in the cabin includes a central cubbyhole for storing your sat nav, and a generously sized glove compartment. Dual door pockets also offer great space and two fixed-in-place cup holders give you a home for your drinks on the go. Placed as they are between the gears and the armrest though, they could be situated a little more practically.

The back is spacious, with room for two adults to sit comfortably. This ranks the Kadjar pretty highly against its rivals when it comes to room for rear passengers. There is also room for a third adult, but the foot space is compromised by a swell in the door design forcing them to share it with passengers on either side. Although the head space is shared by the panoramic roof on the luxury GT models, those who are particularly tall will be comfortable due to the cars high-sidings.

Perfectly designed for family travel, the Renault Kadjar’s doors are large enough for you to easily tend to a child’s seat from the vehicle’s exterior. Additional pocket space can be found on the side doors and the seat backs – perfect for maps and other travel paraphernalia.

The Kadjar has supremely easy to collapse seats in the back. A small lever located within the boot can drop the rear seats affording you access to a larger storage area for lugging loads. Possessing the largest boot storage size for its class, the Kadjar has a false floor. With the seats folded, it provides a near flat loading space.

Engine & power

4.5 out of 5

No bad choices in the Kadjar range

All engines in the Kadjar line-up all rate pretty highly. Starting with the entry level 128bhp 1.3 for the petrols, we have an engine that shows its mettle from low revs and delivers a smooth but powerful feel. The 158bhp petrol is great too, but with the entry level vehicle performing so well, it seems an unnecessary upgrade. Both Diesels perform well too and the 113bhp 1.5 litre diesel is a great choice if you don’t want to work it hard.

The four engines all ship with six-speed manual gearboxes, but there is also an option of a seven-speed automatic with dual clutch.

In terms of noise, the entry level petrol 1.3 is your quietest bet, with the 1.6 diesel sitting at the other end of the scale. Although still far from offensive, this engine sounds rough on acceleration and you’re definitely going to feel the road through your wheel and pedals – more so than with the other three choices at your disposal.

Reliability

4.5 out of 5

Four years’ warranty, four years’ assistance

It may come as some surprise, but Renaults in general have a good reputation for reliability. One of the main reasons for this is that when they do have problems, they aren’t expensive or time-consuming to repair, so they’re rarely off road too long. As they’re popular and even share parts with other cars such as Nissans and Mercedes, it’s not difficult to come by the parts, making repairs affordable. As a general rule, they’re more mechanical and not loaded with technology that’s expensive to replace.

For the Kadjar, Renault has bettered the competition when it comes to cover. A 100,000-mile four-year warranty is the standard, quashing their rivals by a good 40,000 miles’ worth of coverage. Owners also gain the benefit of a roadside assistance for four years. Full European cover is included for three years, but in the final year only UK cover will be provided.

Equipment & options

4 out of 5

User-friendly features but missing physical control

From the entry level up, all Renault Kadjars ship with a new seven-inch full-colour touchscreen loaded up with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. If you upgrade to iconic trim, you get rather a lot for your money including DAB radio, Bluetooth function and TomTom live traffic update and navigation. Top-of-the-range versions also feature a parking camera with 360-degree views. This is a worthwhile upgrade if you’re nervous about parking in busy urban areas where members of the public can be problematic.

The touchscreen might be a minor source of frustration, but it is not the least user-friendly format on the market. Icons are large and well defined, but can still be tricky to use with accuracy when you’re on the move, meaning you may find that you miss physical controls.

You can pair the infotainment system with your smartphone if you opt for the upgrade via Bluetooth. Once plugged into a USB port, scanning through your music is a stress-free experience. There are two handy USB ports located in a compartment ahead of your gear stick, which are ideally placed for phone charging and storage when plugged in.

Interior

4 out of 5

A comfortable seat in a better cabin than you might expect

The driver’s seat is overall very comfy and affords you a great vantage point on the road ahead. The entry-level models might be best avoided due to the absence of lumbar support and adjustment for seat height, but there's a great range of wheel adjustment to allow drivers of all sizes and shapes to get comfortable across the line.

The Renault Kadjar’s driver’s seat gives you a great view of the road and is comfortable too. The mid-range models get customizable lumbar support and adjustable seat height, but all cars in the range gain the benefit of padded armrests. When it comes to your driving wheel you have a full range of adjustments sure to suit owners of all sizes and ensure a comfortable fit.

Designed to keep things easy, all the controls are well placed and user-friendly.

Although not a brand famed for high-end interiors, in the Kadjar, Renault has come through surprisingly well and the cabin feels very well built. The dashboard has a quality soft-to-the-touch dash with a finely textured finish. The switches and buttons are for the most part suitably well damped. However, some of the plastics used are a little on the dull side though, and the panel edging could be smoother.

The drive

3.5 out of 5

Comfortable enough, but an uninspiring ride

Although it shares its platform with the Nissan Qashqai, the Renault Kadjar doesn’t drive quite as smoothly. It tends to jerk in the stop-start of city driving and takes a while to settle down once it gets on the motorway.

In terms of SUV driving the Kadjar is quite comfortable though, and handles pretty well. It’s got good traction on corners, and doesn’t suffer too much in terms of lean. Although high sided, the Kadjar takes a little more time than the standard hatchback to alter course.

Steering-wise, the Kadjar is very light. While it means it’s a smooth and easy park, it doesn’t make for the most inspiring of drives, as even at higher speeds you feel little through the wheel on all but the 1.6 diesel.

Cost

5 out of 5

An affordable buy that’s cheap to run

The Renault Kadjar’s price beats many of its competitors. It tops a number of them when it comes to emitting low CO2 too, making for not just low emissions but minimal tax bills for company cars as well, providing some of the cheapest for the small SUV range.

Highly economical when it comes to fuel, the business user’s favourite from the range will no doubt be the 1.5 litre diesel.

At recommended retail, the Renault Kadjar price is £19,690, but there are some highly attractive finance deals on offer, due for the most part from deposit contributions that are generously offered on a routine basis. This means that in most cases the Kadjar weighs in with far lower repayments monthly than many of its rivals, including the Nissan Qashqai.

The Kadjar is also available under the Renault Motability scheme. This offers disabled people who receive certain benefits to a new brand car every three years. The Renault Kadjar Motability package provides a number of worry-free features including insurance, servicing and maintenance, annual car tax, ful RAC breakdown assistance, free replacement tyres and windscreen, as well as many adaptations at no extra cost and a 60,000 mileage allowance over the three year lease. 

Safety

5 out of 5

Truly superb safety features

Winner of a five-star award from Euro NCAP, the Renault Kadjar specifications rate extremely well on the safety scale.

All cars in the Kadjar range are equipped with six airbags. A complete suite of traction and stability assistance aids are standard across the line, as well as optimum tyre pressure monitoring. Models of the Renault Kadjar feature road-sign recognition and a warning system for when you wander out of lane.

Regrettably, some safety features are limited to certain models, such as automatic braking in emergencies and blind-spot monitoring, which are only available on the top-of-the-line GT models. You can choose to add these as an option but only on Signature trims.

Why buy

4.5 out of 5

Superior style with an impressive safety complement

It’s true that the Renault Kadjar is not particularly exceptional in any given area, but that being said, it’s a solid motor for the mid-range SUV class. Not the least handsome car of its kind, its economic to run and easy to fix if you run into any little problems.

Buy the Kadjar if you need a cost-conscious work car for everyday driving. The low CO2 emissions will give you a break on that tax bill too.

Perfect for family touring, you should definitely consider the Renault Kadjar for your clan. There’s plenty of room for everyone inside and it’s a comfortable ride over long distances. With five-star safety the standard across the range, your family couldn’t be in more secure hands and there are plenty of optional extras if you want to up the measures.

If a four-year warranty with four years’ roadside service makes you feel safe, look no further than the Renault Kadjar. When it comes to cover, it outranks the offers of rival mid-size SUVs and gives you added peace of mind.