£19,145 - £28,845 Price range
48 - 74 MPG
The Renault Kadjar is a family crossover that not only rivals the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5 and Volkswagen Tiguan, but is also a worthy alternative to best-selling hatchbacks such as the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.
The Kadjar shares many parts with the Nissan Qashqai, but its body is a bit bigger. This means you get slightly more passenger space and a larger boot. The Renault’s interior also packs a high-tech infotainment system and an eye-pleasing dashboard.
Like the Qashqai, the Kadjar drives just like a normal family car, but offers a better view of the road ahead thanks to its elevated driving position. It’s quiet on the motorway and the ride is exceptional, apart from on the optional 19-inch wheels, which can make the Kadjar a bit bouncy.
The Kadjar’s engine range is made up of small turbocharged units, but they are cheap to run and also powerful. The smallest diesel is the pick of the range because of its low fuel consumption, free road tax and lively nature.
Go for the basic Kadjar and you won’t be short on kit – you get air-conditioning, cruise control, DAB radio, tinted rear windows and an automatic parking brake as standard. The new Signature S Nav model comes as standard with extra equipment and the option of a new automatic gearbox.
Have a look at our colour and dimensions guides to see if the Kadjar will fit in your life. If you’re after a larger SUV, see how the new Renault Koleos shapes up by reading our dedicated price, specs and release date guide.
Sit inside the Kadjar and you’re greeted by a very upmarket cockpit. Most plastics are soft and feel high quality, while glossy black details and polished aluminium-style trim pieces add class. The build quality is above average, but not as good as in the VW Tiguan. Compared to the Qashqai, the Kadjar’s interior feels more stylish and it has a better infotainment system.
The R-link infotainment system with a seven-inch touchscreen is standard on all but the basic models and reviewers praise its quick operation and easy menu navigation. You can download apps to increase its functionality and it recognises gesture commands. It controls many of the car’s systems leaving you with an uncluttered dashboard with only a few buttons, which are easy to navigate.
Renault Kadjar passenger space
Passenger space inside the Kadjar is very good. The upright body and wide-opening rear doors provide easy access to the rear bench, which also features two Isofix child seat mounts. The driver’s seat in the basic Kadjar doesn’t offer height adjustment (£200 option on mid-range models), but the overall driving position is good, giving you a ‘commanding’ view.
Go for the top-of-the-range Signature Nav model and you get a large panoramic sunroof which lets light in and makes the cabin feel more spacious. The drawback is you lose some headroom, which might be an issue if you frequently transport tall passengers.
Renault Kadjar boot space
With the rear seats up the Kadjar has a boot capacity of 472 litres. Compared to a similarly priced Volkswagen Golf, the Renault can pack nearly 100 litres more. The load area is also bigger than in the Qashqai making the Kadjar one of the most practical family crossovers currently on sale. Press a button to fold the 60:40 splitting rear bench and 1,478 litres of space is at your disposal.
A false boot floor with a hidden compartment underneath it is standard on mid-range models – it’s perfect for hiding valuable items, or you can raise it to eliminate the load lip, thus making it easy to slide bulky items in and out.
The Kadjar is very easy to drive. The steering is light at slow speeds, making it a doddle to park, and it weights up at motorway speeds to get rid of any high-speed nervousness. Body roll in corners is comparable to a hatchback and far from the roly-poly feeling SUVs of old.
The car grips well and gives the driver confidence, but it’s not the first choice for driving fun. If thrills behind the wheel are a priority for you then have a look at the Mazda CX-5, which somehow feels a little like an MX-5 sports car in the corners.
At a cruise it’s decently quiet and the diesel engines sound particularly refined. The cosseting ride makes long journeys seem shorter, so you can step out after a lengthy trek feeling refreshed rather than tired. Only models fitted with the 19-inch wheels ride a little firmly in town, but become decently comfortable at higher speeds.
A four-wheel-drive system can be paired to the larger diesel, but most buyers will go for the cheaper two-wheel-drive models. It’s a fairly advanced system providing plenty of grip on snow or wet grass, but doesn’t have the off-road ability of more rugged crossovers such as the Land Rover Discovery Sport.
Renault offers the Kadjar with one petrol engine and two diesels in varying power outputs. With five available combinations there is something to suit any buyer, but we’d go with the petrol for town driving and the smaller diesel for longer journeys.
Renault Kadjar petrol engine
The only petrol engine in the lineup is a tiny 1.2-litre but thanks to a turbocharger it produces a decent 128hp – enough for a 0-62mph sprint in 10 seconds. However, when the Kadjar is fully loaded you need to work it hard to make decent progress. This means you won’t be able to match the official fuel economy figure of 48.7mpg and annual road tax costs £110. Overall, the torquier diesels are better suited for the Kadjar.
Renault Kadjar diesel engines
The power delivery of the diesels makes them seem faster than the numbers suggest, because most of their power is available at lower revs. This results in easier overtaking and strong performance even when the Kadjar is packed with passengers or luggage.
With a fuel consumption figure of 74mpg, it’s easy to understand why the smaller 1.5-litre diesel is the bestseller. Being cheap-to-run isn’t its only good quality, though – power delivery is smoother than in the larger diesel making it easier to drive in traffic. To further ease stop-start driving you can have the smaller diesel with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, which has no effect on performance or running costs.
We’d recommend the larger 1.6-litre if you plan on doing lots of towing, because at 1,800kg it can pull 200kgs more than the 1.5-litre model. Fuel economy for the 1.6-litre sits at 62.8mpg and road tax of £30 a year is very affordable. The larger diesel shares the same 0-62mph time with the petrol, but feels quicker thanks to more pulling power. It’s the only engine available with four-wheel-drive.
Another thing the Kadjar shares with the Qashqai is its five-star-safety rating from independent organisation Euro NCAP. When it was crash-tested in 2015, the Renault was commended on its child protection and safety systems.
It comes as standard with anti-lock brakes, stability control, six airbags, tyre pressure monitors and seatbelt reminders, while on the most expensive Signature Nav trim you can have the Safety Pack Premium. For £400 it adds automatic emergency braking and a blind spot warning system – boosting the safety credentials of the Kadjar even further.
There is a choice of four trim levels available for the Kadjar and equipment levels are generally good, though, we’d avoid the basic model, because it doesn’t have the modern R-Link infotainment system.
Renault Kadjar Expression+
With the basic Expression+ models you still get stylish looks and they also come complete with air-conditioning, a Bluetooth phone connection, DAB digital radio and a USB port. However, the steel wheels might dent its appeal slightly.
Renault Kadjar Dynamique Nav
We’d go for the Dynamique Nav trim which adds the aforementioned infotainment system with sat-nav along with auto headlights and wipers, keyless go (so you can open the car without needing to fumble for keys) and climate control. A lane departure warning system, traffic sign recognition, and headlights that dip automatically when they sense traffic, make the mid-range car safer than the basic model. Silver roof rails, darker window tints and 17-inch alloy wheels also make it more distinctive than the basic model.
Renault Kadjar Dynamique S Nav
Parking sensors come as standard with Dynamique S Nav trim and are very handy if you’re not used to parking a large car such as the Kadjar. That trim also gets you huge 19-inch alloy wheels, a part-leather interior, and the useful flexible boot floor.
Renault Kadjar Signature Nav
At the top of the range is Signature Nav trim, which boasts bright LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof and powerful Bose sound system. Also available as an £800 option is self parking, which can squeeze the car into tight space all on its own.
Renault Kadjar Signature S Nav
The Signature S Nav model comes as standard with the same features as the Signature Nav model with the addition of black leather upholstery and heated front seats. A self parking system, blind spot warning, parking sensors and a rear-facing camera are also fitted at no extra cost. An automatic dual-clutch gearbox is offered as a £1,200 option on 1.2-litre petrol models. A Kadjar in this trim costs between £23,695 and £28,195 depending on your choice of engine.
For a stretch of time the Nissan Qashqai was the obvious choice for anyone looking for a crossover that’s cheap to run, decent to drive, comfortable and well equipped – but the waters have just got a little muddier. The Kadjar ticks all the boxes the Nissan does and is even more spacious, while the new Kia Sportage is arguably even more fun to drive and comes with a superb seven-year warranty. Choose any of these three and you’ll have bagged yourself a superb family car.