With just under 800 units having found homes since its market debut in April last year, including the additions of an EDC dual-clutch gearbox and two-wheel drive models in July, Renault South Africa has now further boosted the range with the limited edition XP.
Essentially based on the regular 1.2 TCe Expression, the XP adds a number of exterior features normally found on the options list or on higher spec models. These include 17-inch alloy wheels, swan neck tow bar, side steps, detachable roof rack, cornering foglights and special XP decals on the bootlid and front wings.
The interior remains unchanged from the Expression though with cloth seats, a seven-inch TFT instrument cluster with configurable display options and colours, multi-function steering wheel, cruise control with speed limiter, Bluetooth enabled sound system with USB/AUX, Hill Start Assist, six airbags, ABS with EBD, EBA and ESP, and ISOFIX mounting points among the standard comfort and safety items offered.
Tipping the scales at some 1.8 tons, there was always going to be some apprehension that the small 1 197 cc turbocharged four-pot would struggle to haul the Kadjar along, especially up at the Reef and with our extreme heat. With 96 kW and 206 Nm of torque on tap, the engine made for a willing performer on the 100-odd km launch route to and from Lanseria Airport, but tended to run out of puff when the terrain became hilly.
Linked to slick shifting six-speed manual gearbox, the four-cylinder mill came into its own on the highway with noise levels well dampened and the ride comfortable. Although an Eco mode for maximum efficiency is offered, the XP is at happiest without this setting activated as the somewhat delayed throttle and turbo response tendered to dull the overall experience.
While it is expected that the greater number of Kadjar buyers would rather opt for the torque-laden, oil burning 1.6 dCi in Dynamique trim, the XP makes for an attractive buy especially considering it includes the aforementioned extras, worth R40 000, at the same R364 900 sticker price as the Expression.
Now factor in the standard five-year/150 000 km warranty and five-year/90 000 km service plan, and you have a stylish, well-equipped and refined package worth serious consideration.