Renault Kadjar

Signature Nav dCi

110

Renault Kadjar, static front
Renault Kadjar, front action
Renault Kadjar, rear action
Renault Kadjar, dashboard
Renault Kadjar, sunroof
Renault Kadjar, boot (3)
Renault Kadjar, rear seats
Renault Kadjar, interior
Renault Kadjar, side, action

It's no easy task threading your way through the myriad of SUVs and crossovers to be found in the new car lists.

At a quick glance, I counted more 70 different models, and that's not including the sub-plot of equipment options and whether you opt for two-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive.

To make matters more difficult, it's fair to say there are no - or at least very few - real lemons on sale these days. The duffers usually get weeded out long before reaching the showroom.

So it makes sense to know a bit about yourself before make your-mind-up time.

For a start, do you really need four-wheel-drive? If not, stick to the usual front-drive system which saves weight, reduces the purchase price and improves economy.

Most SUVs are diesel, but for lower mileage users petrol may be a better option. So wise-up to that, too.

Nissan was fast off the blocks in the sector with the Qashqai, but Renault followed it up with their version, the Kadjar, built on the same platform, with many of the same parts and offering a similar choice of engines.

Of the petrol and diesel options it is currently the 1.5dCi that's proving most popular in Britain.

With a decent balance between reasonable performance and high economy, it is an exceptionally smooth diesel capable of topping 110mph and polishing off the 62mph in an acceptable 11.7secs while regularly turning in around the 50mpg mark.

Sure, there's a more powerful 1.6litre diesel version which is available with four-wheel-drive but the performance is only marginally superior and that extra 20 horsepower pushes up the purchase price and lessens the economy.

Living space within the smart body is both generous and family friendly with loads of pockets, cubbies and bottle holders.

And the boot at 472litres is bigger than its Nissan relative. In fact, it is slightly longer than the Qashqai which benefits luggage space.

The Signature Nav version I drove is the flagship and includes seven-inch touchscreen with sat av, panoramic sunroof, roof rails, Bose sound system and traffic sign recognition.

It also has smart 19-inch alloy wheels but from experience the ride quality is smoother and better with smaller 18-inch wheels.

The sat nav is a TomTom system which works well and simply and includes free traffic and map updates for the first year after the car is bought.

Renault has boosted its quality if cabin fitments and the Kadjar impresses for its premium feel, clear design and general stylishness. Front seats are wide and supportive and the high-riding attitude means that driver and passengers have ample leg and headroom. Sadly the glass roof is fixed, so no breeze through your hair here.

While it might not be as sporty around bends as the SEAT Ateca or the Mazda CX-5, the Renault grips well and cornering roll is kept well in check.

The steering is a shade lighter than that of the Qashqai which is good for town driving but less appealing on faster sweeps.

FAST FACTS

Renault Kadjar Signature Nav dCi 110

Price: £26,545

Mechanical: 1,598cc, 109bhp 4-cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-spd manual gearbox

Max Speed: 112mph

0-62mph: 11.7sec

Combined MPG: 72.4

Insurance Group: 15

C02 emissions: 103g/km

Bik rating: 22%

Warranty: 4yrs/100,000 miles

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