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Renault adds value with Kadjar XP

07.04.2017

The Renault Kadjar has been a strange product for the French marque. At its national media launch last year, everyone present was convinced it would sell in large quantities. But that hasn’t been the case, which is not to say it has been a bad seller, just not quite as good as anticipated.

In any case, as is customary with Renault these days, a limited edition variant of the Kadjar saw the light of day a month or so ago. I had a go in this XP (Experience Points) recently, which also allowed me to experience the more basic Kadjar Expression variant on which the XP is based.

Express yourself

The XP was dropped off at the office where its additions immediately became apparent. There’s a set roof racks, side steps, a tow bar, 17-inch alloy wheels and cornering fog lamps to differentiate it from other models.

I suppose the benefit of the XP is the fact that the cost for the items fitted are not passed on to the consumer, meaning that for the list price of R364 900, you’re getting what Renault claims to be R40 000 worth of extras at no additional cost. For those with an active lifestyle, the XP makes sense as there will now be the possibility of towing up to 1 200kg, placing items such as mountain bikes on the roof racks, as well as tackling light mud and dirt roads thanks to its 200mm of ground clearance.

Powering the XP

The XP is powered by the all-too-familiar 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine with 96kW/205Nm on tap. As with all models fitted with this motor, there is a discernible amount of turbo lag present as one shifts through the six-speed manual gearbox.

Once the vehicle is up to speed, the powertrain works well, however I must concede that Renault’s claimed fuel consumption of 5.7-litres/100km is optimistic to say the least, with my 500km or-so drive resulting in a figure of 8.2-litres/100km. This is mainly because the small motor needs to be kept on the boil most of the time.

Back to basics

It was refreshing to sample a more basic Kadjar as the motoring media are often gifted with highly specified test vehicles, which often gives and over-inflated perception of how good a car really is. This basic model represents more of what the consumer will purchase.

For example, there is no touchscreen infotainment system, but rather a relatively old-school black-and-white digital display with Bluetooth and USB functionality. There are also cloth-covered seats and a general sense that the Kadjar is a very well built product in terms of materials, perceived quality and driving refinement.

However, I must admit I did feel that the car was lacking in the spec department due to the fact that cheaper Renault models offer the same if not better specification as standard. There are features such as a multi-function steering wheel, cruise control, a strange manual air-conditioning system that takes a few minutes to acclimatise to, if you’ll pardon the pun, four-speaker sound system and electric windows all round.

Conclusion

The Kadjar XP makes a good case for itself as a lifestyle product with value-added features, however, driving the more basic Kadjar has provided me with a possible answer as to why it hasn’t sold quite as well as expected. Renault models such as the Clio, Sandero and Captur are cheaper and admittedly far less spacious but provide better specification per Rand, which shouldn’t be the case as the

Warranty and service

The Kadjar range comes standard with a five-year/150 000km mechanical warranty and a five-year/90 000km service plan with service intervals pegged at 15 000km.

Article written by Sean Nurse
07.04.2017
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