There’s no denying that crossovers are big at the moment. According to Renault’s figures, 20 per cent of all new cars sold worldwide are crossovers. It makes sense then that the French manufacturer would want to expand its foothold in the market beyond the diminutive Captur.
Which brings us to the Kadjar. This new C-segment vehicle is big brother to the Captur and cousin/rival to the Nissan Qashqai, with which it shares some 60 per cent of its components.
This, insists Renault, is not just another crossover. It’s a blend of SUV, estate and saloon.
It’s certainly got the SUV looks. A high nose, curvy, bulging panels and a raised stance are all present and correct. The family link to the Captur is clear but the Kadjar looks more grown-up and capable than its little brother. It’s also got SUV ability if you opt for the all-wheel-drive option with its switchable drive modes.
As for estate-car versatility, it puts on a pretty good show. The boot’s a useful 527 litres with all the seats in place and just shy of 1,500 with the rear seats stowed away – a job, incidentally, that can be done with the touch of a single button in the boot. There’s also the variable-height boot floor to give more storage or compartments to keep items secure.
Finally, the claims to offer a saloon-like passenger experience. Again, it ticks a lot of boxes. Space is good, the seats comfortable and it doesn’t feel like a big lumbering beast from behind the wheel – thanks in part to its commendably low kerb weight.
If variety is the spice of life then Renault is onto a winner with the Kadjar. Available in no fewer than 18 different variations, there’s got to be one to suit just about everybody. There’s a choice of two gearboxes (manual or auto, both six-speed); three engines – a 1.2-litre 128bhp petrol, 1.5-litre 108bhp diesel or 1.6-litre 128bhp diesel – four trim levels and the option of two or four-wheel drive.
Scotsman Motors tried out both of the diesels and we were mightily impressed. Both are far stronger feeling than their on-paper figures would suggest, with the 110 in particular giving a surprising amount of bang for your buck. Renault expect the 1.5 diesel to be the big seller and a combined consumption figure of 74.3mpg and tax-beating emissions of just 99g/km (103g if you go for the 19-inch wheels) make it obvious why. The 1.6 is a slightly stronger and more flexible engine and is also more refined at low speeds but the 1.5 makes more financial sense and is still a strong performer in its own right.
The four trim levels offer an array of equipment. A seven-inch touchscreen system serves up Renault’s slick and speedy R-Link 2 interface, complete with TomTom European mapping and DAB radio. Dual-zone climate control and keyless entry are also standard on all but base-spec models and full LED lights, panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery and hands-free parking are all on offer.
As a company well known for strong safety performance, Renault also includes a raft of features to protect occupants. The Visio system, fitted to Dynamique Nav models and upwards, includes lane departure warning, auto-dipping headlights and traffic sign recognition. This is on top of the emergency brake assist, stability and traction control and multitude of airbags standard on all models.
With plenty of kit, strong engines and that three-cars-in-one appeal it’s easy to see the Kadjar making a name for itself in the packed crossover marketplace.
Renault Kadjar Dynamique S Nav dCi 110
Engine: 1.5-litre turbodiesel producing 108bhp, 192lb/ft
Transmission: Six-speed manual driving the front wheels
Performance: Top speed 113mph, 0-62mph in 11.9 seconds
Economy: 74.3mpg combined