WHENEVER a new car was dropped off at my office the most common question I faced from work colleagues rarely touched upon performance, power or even the make or model.
The most frequent enquiry was frequently "what colour is it?".
The reason I make reference to this is down to the dazzling paintwork on my most recent car for evaluation - a Renault Kadjar.
It was supplied in a stunning Flame Red shade and it looked fabulous. Too many cars are silver, black or white these days so it's a refreshing change to get such a bright car.
And the sporty colour certainly suited the car's athletic styling with plenty of eye-catching design cues, including 19-inch Zeus diamond cut alloys, body side mouldings with chrome inserts, side and boot kick plates, tinted windows, roof rails, painted front and rear skid plates, full LED headlights, front fog lights and a panoramic sunroof that allows light to flood into the cabin.
Inside, the Kadjar is beautifully styled with plenty of on-board technology to be explored.
Creature comforts include a seven-inch touchscreen with TomTom sat nav, a DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity, an eight-speaker BOSE sound system, dual zone climate control, a reversing camera and plenty more besides.
The dark carbon coloured leather and cloth seats offered plenty of support and could quickly be adjusted to find the ideal driving position.
And the driver benefits from excellent all-round visibility thanks to the elevated driving position. In addition, all dials, controls and read-outs are ideally positioned for ease of use which is another plus factor.
This two-wheel-drive (2WD) version was priced at £26,565, but a number of optional extras bumped up the price-tag to £28,010 including that Flame Red metallic paint which cost £645.
The Kadjar was powered by a 1.6-litre 130ps diesel engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox and could reach from 0-62mph in 9.9 seconds, maxed out at 118mph and, according to official figures, delivers combined fuel efficiency of 62.8mpg with carbon emissions of 117g/km.
Out on the open road, the Kadjar performed very nicely with plenty of power on tap as it zipped smoothly through the gears. The road-holding was assured and there was minimal body lean into the corners which is good for a compact SUV.
There is a little wind and road surface noise when pushed hard, but generally the all-round handling was refined. In busy town centres that great visibility is a bonus with cars and pedestrians darting out from all angles and there is even hands-free parking which will make you look like the complete expert when squeezing into unimaginably tight spaces.
The Kadjar has a very athletic feel and look to it and although it shares many of its powertrains and body parts with the Nissan Qashqai thanks to the Renault-Nissan Alliance, the French model certainly takes top billing on the catwalk stakes.
Storage options are impressive too with a boot capacity of 472 litres which can be increased to 1,478 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.
The boot floor can be raised or lowered which is practical and elsewhere there are numerous handy storage compartments including reasonably sized side pockets. The cup holders are quite small though so be careful not to order too big a coffee to go.
Safety specifications are thorough and include the likes of lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, automatic high/low beam, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, a speed limiter, numerous airbags and an alarm and immobiliser to keep intruders at bay.
Renault Kadjar Signature Nav dCi 130 2WD
Mechanical: 130bhp, 1,598cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 118mph
0-62mph: 9.9 seconds
Combined MPG: 62.8
Insurance Group: 18
C02 emissions: 117g/km
Bik rating: 22%
Warranty: 4yrs/100,000 miles