Renault Kadjar

Signature Nav dCi

130

Renault Kadjar, front static
Renault Kadjar, dashboard
Renault Kadjar, rear action
Renault Kadjar, front action
Renault Kadjar, dash detail
Renault Kadjar, sunroof
Renault Kadjar, boot (2)
Renault Kadjar, boot (3)
Renault Kadjar, rear seats
Renault Kadjar, front seats
Renault Kadjar, boot (1)

RENAULT is careful about the new models it offers British buyers, keeping some of them firmly to the other side of the English Channel.

So, you can't walk into your local Renault showroom and order a new Talisman or Espace, because the company reckons not enough of us would buy one.

Might be right on the Talisman - successor to the unloved Laguna - but the people carrying Espace is such a stunner you'd think it might succeed on looks alone.

Which brings us to a Renault you very much can buy from the dealer down the road and it's a looker as well.

The Kadjar is Renault's larger car entry to the crossover market (with the smaller Captur a rung down the ladder) and comes at a time when we can't get enough of something that looks like a hatchback on steroids.

Something like the Nissan Qashqai, for instance. This massive seller donates big profits to its maker, and lots of parts... to the Renault Kadjar.

For both are products of the Renault-Nissan Alliance and beneath both Qashqai and Kadjar you'll find the same engines and body platforms, which keeps corporate costs down and profits up.

The bits you can see are different - and to these eyes the Kadjar is much the better looking car, inside and out with a bit of catwalk attitude to its bodywork creases and slashes.

Present the Kadjar in the flame red of this car (a £625 option) and you have something that looks worth more than the £18,495 that starts the range off.

Add in the chunky 19-inch alloy wheels that come as standard on the Signature Nav grade test car and you have a car that will stand out at the school gates, supermarket car park or drop off zone at the station.

Inside, there's enough creative energy expended to make it an interesting and comfortable place to while away the journey. There's plenty of room front and rear and a generous boot and the car's crossover inspiration means modest extra height makes it easy to jump aboard.

The same crossover genes make the Kadjar (and the opposition) look likely candidates for all-wheel drive, but hardly any of them are. You can have a four-wheel-drive Kadjar (from £24,795 with a 130 horsepower diesel) but most owners will find their front-wheel drivers can cope with anything an English winter throws at them.

The extra height of a crossover means a bit more lean in corners, or stiffer suspension to control the roll. So the Kadjar feels less athletic and rides a bit more firmly that a lower set hatch - but not by much.

It also moves along briskly with the 130 horsepower diesel doing the work, but you have to be in the right gear or nothing much happens until the revs build up a bit. The car showed 51.9mpg on its nicely clear dash readout after a good workout - some distance from the figure Renault has to quote but competitive nonetheless.

The Signature Nav grade brings - you've guessed - a satellite navigation system. It was easy to use and the route showed up clearly on a nicely sized screen.

Also part of the spec is a Bose sound system that pumped out volume when provoked but whose alloy coloured logo on the dash top reflected annoyingly in the windscreen all the time. Time for some black tape?

FAST FACTS

Renault Kadjar Signature Nav dCi 130

Price: £25,395

Mechanical: 128bhp, 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: 117 g/km

Bik rating: 23%

Warranty: 4yrs/100,000 miles

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