Ready for adventure
Renault already owns a small SUV: the Captur. That car is wildly popular thanks to its elegant design and unusual concept. In fact, the Captur is a clever mix of off-roader and family car.
The Kadjar is the Captur's big brother in every way. The Kadjar also packs the space of a family car in the rugged jacket of an off-roader. But because the Kadjar is on a platform also used for other models (Nissan Qashqai, Renault Espace), the designers had a little less freedom. The lines are therefore less harmonious; as if it is wearing someone else's tailored suit.
In technical terms, the Kadjar goes a considerable step further than the small Captur. The Kadjar is actually intended for off-road use. Ground clearance is 200 mm, and with approach and departure angles of 18 and 25 degrees respectively, the Kadjar can handle a slope. Thereby, the car shown here is equipped with ground protection that extends to the front and rear bumper. The optional tow bar is foldable, so it won't be damaged.
In the interior, only two large handles near the centre console hint at the Kadjar's adventurous character. Apart from this detail, the interior could have been from any other Renault. Space in the front and rear is average for a car of this size. Luggage space is also very average at 472 litres, but the double cargo floor with waterproof non-slip mat makes the Kadjar just a little smarter.
Also very clever is the display that replaces the traditional dials behind the steering wheel. This allows users to choose their own layout, for example by emphasising the speed, tachometer or, conversely, the fuel gauge. Various colours and themes can also be chosen.
In terms of safety, the Kadjar offers the "Active Emergency Braking System" that warns or even automatically brakes for danger. "Lane Departure Warning" warns if a lane change occurs without indicating direction. In addition, "Blind Spot Warning" warns for objects in the blind spot of the wing mirror. Of course, the Kadjar also offers all the usual airbags, electronic stability programmes (ESP) and crumple zones.
The camera used for the above systems also reads traffic signs while driving. Thus, the last-seen speed limit appears next to the speedometer. In addition to cruise-control, there is also a speed limiter, to be completely sure one is never going too fast.
When a sat nav is chosen, it is provided by TomTom. This guarantees good map material and sophisticated routes without having to pay the high price for it. Unfortunately, the screen is a bit small, but it is still more pleasant (and nicer!) than a portable navigation system.
Diesel or petrol?
Depending on the intended use, either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive can be chosen. When the Kadjar is used purely as a family car, two-wheel drive is the most economical choice in purchase and use. But. when the car will actually be used off the beaten track, four-wheel drive is a godsend.
At the time of writing, the all-wheel-drive Kadjar is always fitted with the strongest diesel engine on the range: the "dCi 130". In other words, four-wheel drive in combination with a petrol engine is not an option (for now).
After an earlier test drive with the "TCe 130" (petrol engine), the "dCi 130" (diesel engine) is a pleasant surprise. While both engines deliver the same power (130 hp), the diesel engine has much more torque (320 Nm versus 205 Nm for the TCe). Moreover, the power is available at lower revs, so the diesel engine performs much better instinctively. The Kadjar is quiet, but competitors are generally even quieter.
Renault claims that the "dCi 130 4x4" consumes an average of 4.9 litres of diesel fuel per 100 km. With a calm driving style, this is actually achievable. It should be noted here, that consumption suddenly rises sharply at speeds above 110 km/h. The emphasis is therefore on a calm driving style.
On public roads, it is noticeable that the Kadjar has significantly softer suspension than most of its competitors. Renault chooses comfort over sportiness. This is pleasant on bad road surfaces, but it also means that the bodywork tilts when cornering fast.
After the obligatory test drive on public roads, the desert finally looms. In the middle of Spain lies a dry and arid area popular with filmmakers, adventurers and 4x4 drivers. Now the Kadjar gets to prove itself here too!
At the push of a button, one can choose automatic four-wheel drive (the rear wheels temporarily step in when needed) or permanent four-wheel drive (drive forces are split 50/50 between the front and rear wheels). The Kadjar has no low gearing or electronic descent aid, but the diesel engine provides enough "back pressure" in lowest gear to descend safely without braking.
It is noticeable in everything that the Kadjar is basically an ordinary family car, but as long as it follows the paths made by other off-road cars over the years, it bravely makes its way through the vast landscape. With some dexterity, this Renault eventually gets to places that ordinary cars can never reach.
Following the overwhelming success of the Captur, Renault now introduces the Kadjar. Like the smaller Captur, the Kadjar is a family car with the look of an off-roader.
The Kadjar will be chosen first and foremost with the mind. The Kadjar is spacious, practical and, thanks to modern electronics, comfortable and safe. The modern engines combine sufficient performance with modest consumption. Here, the "dCi 130" in particular stands out in a positive way.
At the same time, the Kadjar is chosen with feeling. Its looks and optional all-wheel drive give this family car a sense of adventure. Only for Renault, there is little adventure about the Kadjar, as it is the right product at the right time.
- Modern, useful technology
- Successful mix between SUV and MPV
- Small range of apps for R-Link
- Consumption increases sharply at high speeds