Renault Kadjar

Signature Nav dCi

130

Renault Kadjar, front
Renault Kadjar, front
Renault Kadjar, front
Renault Kadjar, side
Renault Kadjar, rear
Renault Kadjar, interior
Renault Kadjar, interior
Renault Kadjar, boot

IF any car maker knows how to turn out sparkling family models, it's Renault.

Building cars that suit busy mums and dads who must watch the pennies - or the euros - is something ingrained in the French firm's DNA.

Look back through the decades... Megane, Clio, Scenic, Espace, R16 and even the basic but radical R4 of the Sixties.

But it has a far less impressive record of designing prestige saloons and coupes.

Witness the Avantime, a strange and angular large three-door coupe, and the ungainly Vel Satis saloon. Both flopped and were destined for shortened lifespans.

So it's good to see the firm that was Britain's third best seller (after Ford and Vauxhall) at the start of this century, back in its comfort zone and doing what it does best - making solid, good value family cars.

Translated into today's idiom this inevitably means a crossover. Thanks to Renault's alliance with Nissan the French giant has produced its own version of the Qashqai, Nissan's most successful car ever.

More exciting visually that the Qashqai, around 60% of the parts are shared but the Kadjar has its own and its own personality.

Model for model, prices are a tad more reasonable too. I drove the Signature Nav dCi 130, which is near the top of the range and costs £24,795. There are less powerful diesel versions and also a 1.2-litre petrol.

With an upmarket, soft-touch cabin, the Kadjar raises the bar in standards set for mid-size SUVs. And there's loads of passenger room for five with ample storage space provided by lockers, door pockets and cubbies.

The opening hatch reveals a 472 litre boot which puts it towards the top of the sector's space race. Fold the rear seats - almost flat - and you have room for 1,478 litres of cargo.

On the road, the 1.6-litre diesel is quiet but punchy with ample high gear power from the 128bhp four cylinder turbo-diesel. It tops out at 118mph and reaches 62mph in just under the 10 second mark.

The performance is easily accessible and unstrained. The manual six-speed gearbox is light and pleasant to use.

Economy is a strong point with near 50mpg within sight for most drivers. The official combined average is 62.8mpg and the CO2 emissions of just 117g/km mean that tax and running costs are kept low.

Most Kadjar models come as two wheel drive, as was the test car. While front drive alone means you lack that ultimate mud-lugging ability, it allows cheaper maintenance and running costs and benefits on-road handling.

Road-holding is sharp and satisfying with decent levels of adhesion and not too much roll. This area of dynamics has improved hugely across the SUV sector in the last couple of years, and the Kadjar is no exception.

Bumps are generally soaked up well but the occasional pot hole or undulation can catch out the suspension.

The newly-redesigned key card is still too easy to mislay despite being coloured white rather than grey and, to my mind, fits into the ‘unnecessary technology' category.

FAST FACTS

Renault Kadjar Signature Nav dCi 130

Price: £24,795

Mechanical: 128bhp, 1,598cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheel via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 118mph

0-62mph: 9.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 62.7

Insurance Group: 18

C02 emissions: 117g/km

Bik rating: 19%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

LATEST Renault NEWS

THE bewildering choice of compact SUVs is set to grow even more with the...

Read more View article

RENAULT is careful about the new models it offers British buyers, keeping some...

Read more View article

DIESEL isn't going to turn up its smelly toes without a fight and for some...

Read more View article

LATEST NEWS

Google+