Reviewed: The Renault Kadjar Compact SUV

Reviewed: The Renault Kadjar Compact SUV

There is a growing demand for compact SUVs these days. They offer many of the features of their bigger brothers. And they are more spacious inside than large saloons or people carriers. Many of today’s car manufacturers have at least one compact SUV model.

Renault is one such example. Today I’ll be telling you about their latest compact SUV: the Kadjar. Here is what you need to know:

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Is it just a rebadged Nissan Qashqai?

Believe it or not, they are two separate models. They aren’t just copies or clones of each other. The reason they look similar is because both models are part of the Renault-Nissan alliance. They share the same chassis and engine technology. But when it comes down to styling and individual features, they differ from one another.

The thing about the Nissan Qashqai is that it doesn’t appeal to everyone. Of course, the same can get said about any vehicle. Renault hopes to capture a large part of the market with the Kadjar thanks to its loyal customers.

There’s no denying that Renault owners because customers for life. Their vehicles are innovative, reliable and feature out of the box styling.

There are three engine choices on offer

Because the Renault Kadjar isn’t a full-size SUV, it doesn’t need a heavy and thirsty power plant. As a result, Renault offers the model with a trio of engine options.

First in the lineup is the 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine. Now, I know what you’re thinking; a 1.2 in a car that weighs 1.3 tonnes is silly! But, wait until you learn of the engine’s specifications before you pass judgement!

As standard, the 1.2-litre turbo unit boasts 128 brake horsepower. That puts it in the same category as a 1.6-litre 16-valve non-turbo engine. It’ll go from 0-60 mph in 9.8 seconds and has a top speed of 119 mph. What’s more, it offers impressive fuel economy at 50 mpg.

Reviewed: The Renault Kadjar Compact SUV

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When I was looking at this Renault at the Carco Group, I specifically test-drove the 1.2. I was curious what a 1.2 turbo would be like in such a car. It shocked me to learn that it offered good performance. Granted, it’ll never be a supercar. But, the Kadjar isn’t that kind of vehicle.

The second of the engine trio line-up is the 1.5 dCi diesel. It offers more fuel economy at 74 mpg combined but at the sacrifice of power. As standard, the engine only puts out 108 bhp and has a 0-60 time of 11.5 seconds.

Last, but not least, there’s the 1.6-litre dCi diesel. Fuel economy is slightly lower at 65 mpg combined. Still, the power output of 128 bhp (same as the 1.2 petrol) makes up for it. 0-60 mph time on this option is 9.6 seconds (faster than the petrol).

It goes without saying that the 1.6 dCi diesel option is the best of the three. It offers the best mix of performance and fuel economy. Plus, with diesel being as cheap as petrol nowadays, it makes financial sense.

It’s possible to get an automatic model

All three engines I’ve listed above come with a six-speed manual transmission as standard. According to Renault, one can specify an “EDC” automatic on the diesel units. If that’s what you wish to do, I recommend the 1.6 dCi as your engine of choice.

At the time of writing, it’s not possible to specify an automatic transmission on the 1.2 petrol.

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The basic Expression+ trim comes packed with kit

You might think that car makers seldom offer much as standard on basic trims. The Renault Kadjar is an exception to the rule! For a start, it comes with a DAB digital radio system and Bluetooth connectivity. There’s even a USB port if you don’t fancy a wireless connection to your smartphone.

You also get a seven-inch touchscreen display, air-conditioning and a trip computer. Outside, the Expression+ comes with front fog lights, LED DRLs and body-coloured bumpers.

It’s a dream to drive on the road

Let’s face it; the Renault Kadjar is an SUV made for road driving. Sure, one trim option comes with 4×4 running gear. But, this is a car made for driving on the tarmac.

As a result, it has to do that job well and not complain when encountering tough driving conditions. I’m pleased to report that is the case here! The Renault Kadjar has minimal body roll when cornering and steering feedback is perfect.

If you’re in the market for a compact SUV, consider the Kadjar.

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