"Urban exploring" is a hobby were modern bounty hunters explore abandoned buildings. First prize is a unique photo. Industrial heritage is the favourite subject. Driving a car into such a building is a bit tricky, but this adventurous Renault certainly is suitable for a drive to search for special architecture!
The photo shoot was done on a disused expo centre. This is where the Kadjar really shines! The design was done by Dutchman Laurens van den Akker. He also drew the Captur, and that style can easily be recognised in the Kadjar.
Just like the Captur, the Kadjar is a mix between an off-roader and a family car. That's why the Kadjar is big and tall, but not tough looking. The design of the cabin is the same blend as that of all other Renaults.
The big difference with the other models is the higher seating position, which ensures easy entry and a good view over the other traffic. What's lacking is the feeling of operating a mighty vehicle; the experience hardly differs from the average MPV (tall family car).
The space in the front and rear is good, but not better than average for a car of this size. The boot has a handy double layered loading floor. That way fragile luggage can be separated from bulky pieces. Alternatively, the entire loading space can be enlarged by removing the second "floor". Underneath, the Kadjar is equal to the Nissan Qashqai, but thanks to a longer overhang at the back the Kadjar offers 40 litres of extra boot space.
The Kadjar is the latest and newest model in its segment, which reflects in the spec levels. For example, the car can be fitted with blind spot detection (warning when there's a vehicle in the blind spot of the wing mirror) and an automatic parking function. When the distance to the car in front gets dangerously small, the computer first issues a warning and eventually activates the brakes.
The traditional speedometer and rev counter have been replaced by a big display. The advantage of this is that the driver can choose from many colours and layouts. For example, gauges with needles are available as well as a digital speedometer. Additionally, an eco theme (more information about fuel economy) and a sporty theme (rev counter in the centre) are available.
Just like every other Renault, the Kadjar is equipped with "R-Link"; the integrated audio, communication and satnav system from Renault. What's special about this is the home screen, which shows several functions at once. R-Link can be extended with apps, but during a test drive in Spain the app-store turned out to be empty.
Forget about the Bose audio system; it's not worth the money as the sound quality is mediocre at best.
The Kadjar is available with front-wheel drive, Extended Grip (front-wheel drive combined with special tyres and an electronic off-road assistant) and four-wheel drive. For this city drive the base model was chosen, also because that's expected to be the most popular model.
Compared to its competitors, Renault chooses comfort rather than sportiness. This means one can comfortably ignore speed bumps and just speed along. On the other hand, in fast corners the body work does tilt more than usual.
This is a matter of getting used to, because despite the tilting of the body, grip levels are more than adequate. However, the Kadjar doesn't handle as well as a traditional car like the Renault Megane.
At the moment of writing, Renault offers the choice of one petrol engine and two diesel engines. The petrol has a displacement of just 1.2 litres and it's also shared with the Nissan Qashqai. Thanks to a slightly different engine management system the Renault version of this engine develops a bit more power (130 PS / 205 Nm).
However, this peak power is only available at very high revs. In real life this means that the Kadjar 1.2 behaves rather sluggishly. Therefore, it feels unwilling and heavy. The sixth gear is a true "overdrive", because 120 km/h means just 2,800 revs per minute.
With strong head wind and at speeds above 120 km/h fuel economy is strongly affected. A calm driving style is rewarded with excellent fuel economy. The test drive took just 6.2 litres per 100 km (46 mpg), including urban exploring in search of a good photo spot.
Finally! Renault introduces the Kadjar and responds to the huge demand for mid-sized SUVs. The strongest point of the Kadjar is its looks, because the Kadjar exudes the same unmistakable charm that made the Clio and Captur such a success.
When it comes to handling, the Kadjar is also different, because Renault chooses comfort over sportiness and that might appeal to a big audience. The engines are modern and perform well, while being frugal. The modern electronics make daily life with the Kadjar more pleasant and more safe. This makes the Kadjar a true treasure for Renault!
- Great mix of SUV and MPV
- Modern, useful technology
- Poor sound quality Bose audio
- Not a lot of apps available for R-Link
- Fuel economy ends at speeds over 120 km/h
"French twist" Nissan Qashqai
"Suit up!" Mazda CX-30
"Above average of average size" Seat Ateca
"Sporty by nature"