FRENCH car makers might have looked down on SUVs with a certain degree of disdain for a long time but all that has changed.
As the shifting sands of the new car market started to see SUV and crossover sales soar, the likes of Renault, Peugeot and Citroen decided they needed to get in on the act.
Once upon a time SUVs were luxurious off-roaders like the Range Rover or more practical workhorses like the Mitsubishi Shogun, equally at home towing a horsebox or taking children on the school run.
It was such everyday usage that led to the rise of the term ‘Chelsea Tractor', a somewhat disparaging description for oversized SUVs whose off-roading adventures would go as far as tackling a suburban kerb or two.
But now SUVs and the smaller crossovers they have spawned are quite literally everywhere - to the point where they have virtually replaced the conventional hatchback or estate as the family car of choice.
They offer many advantages in that they tend to be spacious, have a high driving position offering a commanding view of the road and have a generally more beefed-up road presence that drivers seem to like.
Renault seems to have embraced the concept wholeheartedly and the Captur crossover has proved a big hit across Europe.
Now the car maker hopes to appeal to a new audience with its Kadjar, a larger vehicle with added appeal for families.
It's based on the same platform as the Nissan Qashqai, though you'd be hard-pushed to think of them being the same vehicle and there's a lot that's different.
The Kadjar has appealing looks that display recognisable elements of Renault's current design language.
Cleverly it combines SUV-style practicality with sweeping lines that give it a distinctly sporty look too.
The interior is one of its great strengths and has been thoughtfully designed with oodles of high-tech and high quality kit and switchgear.
Equipment levels are high in all cars, which should prove a good selling point and there are a variety of trims to choose from ranging from the entry-level Expression+, through to the mid-spec Dynamique Nav and Dynamique S Nav.
While the range-topping Signature Nav vehicles aren't cheap they offer the kind of equipment list that really will leave you wanting for nothing.
There are three petrol and diesel engines to choose from with the 108bhp 1.5-litre dCi 110 diesel fitted to this car being more up to the job for most people's needs, though there is a larger 1.6-litre diesel delivering 128bhp available.
The petrol option is a 1.2-litre 128bhp TCe turbo.
On the road the Kadjar offers a great drive and a supple ride.
Given their added ride height no crossovers are going to match the handling agility of a decent sporting saloon or hatch but the Kadjhar makes a pretty good job of it and even when being pushed on a winding B-road grips well and suffers from very little pitch and roll.
In addition it's refined and comfortable and economy is impressive, too.
The 1.5-litre diesel keeps emissions under 100g/km of CO2 and will return 74.3mpg on the combined cycle.
Given its sporty profile one might have imagined the Kadjar compromises slightly when it comes to practicality.