The long awaited Renault Kadjar has been launched about a month ago and it means business in the every so popular crossover segment. The Kadjar, which is available locally in 2 engines; a 1.2 Turbo petrol engine with 96kw and 205nm and the top of the range 1.6 DCI with 96kw and 320nm.
Now there are a few things you need to know. While the Kadjar and the Qashqai share the same platform, they are completely different. The Kadjar not only feels newer, looks better and has a better cabin. The biggest difference between the two is that the Kadjar has more interior space than the Qashqai. I was near convinced that the Kadjar was cloned from the Qashqai until I did some digging and it turns out they look alike, might share some parts, but they are nothing alike when it comes to product to product.
Now at the heart is the 1.6 DCI engine. This, while mated to a manual 6 speed (currently only available in manual) makes for an easy and relaxed drive. The diesel engine can feel a little laggy at times, especially with the eco mode activated. If this is disabled, the throttle response is crisp and overall performance is impressive for a 1.6 oil burner. While both models are supposed to be relatively frugal, the oil burner does take the lead with a small margin. Figures around the 5l/100km on the open road is normal under conservative driving. However, drive it enthusiastically, like most of us drive, figures will jump up closer to 6.5/100km. Still very much acceptable, considering the size.
The interior is all new. Though some parts feel familiar. The seats feel like they could be out of a Megane, but they are heated and electronically adjustable. There are also lots of soft touch panels and Renault has obviously put effort into creating a much more European (read german) than the conventional French one we’ve been so used to. I really like the customizability of the TFT Speedo and the multimedia system. Speaking of, this must be the best audio system I’ve ever sampled in a Renault. Up till now, things have been mediocre at best with a serious lack in the low and midrange, but this has changed and for once, you can actually feel the drums hit. There is also navigation, Bluetooth, and USB. Other small features include tire pressure sensors, assisted parking, with 360-degree parking sensors and also a cabin air filter. One of the biggest game changers has to be the Bi-LED headlights. They are extremely bright and offer superior lighting performance.
Our model was fitted with the optional 19″ alloys, as well as a panoramic roof. While the 19″ alloys really look the part and really look good, I would probably not want to take them on any rough gravel road. This model does come fitted with 17″ alloys with a fair bit more sidewall (215/55/17) Hill start assist is also standard.
The Kadjar is really one of the best crossovers vehicles we’ve seen from Renault in a while and it while I was actually very fond of the Qashqai, the Kadjar has won me over with cabin layout and drive quality.
The Kadjar comes standard with Renault’s 150 000km 5-year mechanical warranty and a 5-year 90 000km service plan.
The Kadjar starts off at R359 900 and R449 900 for this 1.6 DCI model.
For more info, renault.co.za