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International cruising in the Renault Kadjar

18.06.2015

THE C-segment has had an added dimension over the past few years; it’s no longer all about the hatchback now, it also includes crossover SUVs with the likes of the Nissan Qashqai, Mazda CX-5, Suzuki SX4 and the Kia Sportage, all of which have bourgeoned this segment. Renault has now produced its own entrant into this ever-growing market in the form of the Kadjar, which I drove in Spain, recently.

The looks

Renault has really gone to town with the Kadjar; it looks a lot like a grown-up Captur (the brand’s new B-segment SUV) with a massive corporate grille that gives the car a real presence on the road. The side profile is one of sweeping lines, rugged black wheel arch extensions and aluminium roof racks. At the rear, the car resembles a grown-up Clio, clad with off-road tinselling and a brushed aluminium skid plate.

Inside counts

The interior of the Kadjar really impressed me. All the switchgear, buttons and instrument binnacle are newly designed items and look decidedly upmarket. The higher specified models exhibit a great deal of quality with soft-touch materials, while the lower-spec cars have the occasional piece of hard plastic inside. The R-Link 2 infotainment system includes SatNav, Bluetooth, USB/AUX, Radio and Application compatibility.

The inside is clever with a 60:40-split rear seating along with a front passenger seat that can be tipped forward using a handle mounted beneath  for added loading space.  The 527-litre boot can also be split to form two loading areas.

Capable on and off-road?

Well, in terms of the off-road part, it certainly does have the credentials to tackle mild off-road situations with 200mm ground clearance and all-wheel-drive in the X-Mod dCi 130 4WD model that we drove through the desert. The diesel model has 96kW/320Nm on tap and is only available in six-speed manual guise. While it’s no off-road conqueror, it is more than capable of tackling gravel roads and slippery off-road situations with three modes, namely:  Auto, Lock and 2WD.

The models with 19-inch wheels looks fantastic however, these wheels are more suited to road driving where the Kadjar also felt capable. We drove the TCe 130 Energy Intens on the road, which is front-wheel-drive and equipped with a 96kW/205Nm 1.2-litre turbocharged motor. There is still some turbo lag evident but at the same time the target market for the vehicle is less interested in lag and more focused on practicality and style.

There is also a 1.5-litre diesel model in the range, available with both a manual and Efficient Double Clutch (EDC) transmission. This familiar motor puts out 81kW and is claimed to return just 3.8 litres/100km fuel consumption while emitting 99g/km CO2

Local availability?

The Kadjar range for the local market is still to be confirmed however, after discussions with Renault South Africa, I have surmised that we will receive a mixture of petrol and diesel engines with both manual and automatic transmissions when this model arrives locally in the final quarter of this year.

Verdict

The Kadjar is a very impressive product that is apt to give the likes of the Qashqai (on which it is based) a very good run in the sale charts. We will wait for word on final model availability and pricing before making a concise verdict.

Article written by Sean Nurse
18.06.2015
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