The Renault Kadjar is easy to drive around town and fairly relaxing on the motorway but it isn’t quite as comfortable as the Nissan Qashqai
You can get the Renault Kadjar with two petrol and two diesel engines and with either a manual or automatic gearbox. Four-wheel drive is also available if you need the reassurance of a little extra grip in slippery conditions.
Pick a 1.2-litre petrol model if you mostly spend your time pottering around town. At slow speeds it’s significantly quieter than the diesels and Renault claims it’ll return more than 50mpg – although, in normal driving conditions, it’ll return around 40mpg. It has just enough poke to pull five passengers and some luggage along but starts to feel a little strained on steep hills or at speed.
Don’t be fooled into thinking you need a big engine in your Kadjar – the smaller 1.2-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel both do a fine job
A diesel model will be more suitable in those scenarios. The 1.5-litre version will return an impressive 60mpg in the real world – compared with Renault’s claimed 72.4mpg – while the more powerful 1.6-litre model is a much better bet if you want to tow trailers. It’ll return a claimed 57.6mpg and makes lighter work of heavy loads – pulling 1,800kg rather than the 1,350kg the basic diesel can manage – despite not feeling that much faster than the smaller 1.5-litre model. It’s also the only Kadjar model available with four-wheel drive. This system delivers a little extra grip in wintry conditions and only slightly worsens fuel economy.
Whichever model you pick, you’ll get a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. It’s not the slickest around, however, and takes some getting used to. To give your clutch foot a rest – in heavy traffic for example – you’ll want to pick a 1.2-litre petrol or 1.5-litre diesel model with the upgraded seven-speed automatic gearbox. It’ll certainly help take the stress out of long journeys but is a little jerky at slows speeds – especially when you’re trying to park.
The Renault Kadjar’s raised driving position gives you a good view of the road ahead and there aren’t any particularly awkward blind spots to worry about. Don’t think you’ll get blind-spot monitoring as standard, however – it only comes fitted to top-spec Signature S Nav models.
Despite this, the standard car’s light steering makes maneuvering through tight city streets fairly easy. You will have to fork out for a Dynamique S Nav model or above if you want front and rear parking sensors, however. For even more peace of mind, pick a top-spec Signature S Nav model – it comes with a self-parking system that’ll steer you into parallel and bay parking spaces automatically.
Once you’ve left the car park, you’ll find the Renault Kadjar is reasonably comfortable, especially if you avoid the larger 19-inch alloy wheels. You’ll feel bumps a little more than in a Nissan Qashqai – most noticeably at slow speeds – but it’s still more relaxing to drive than a Kia Sportage.
On the motorway, the Renault Kadjar stays reasonably composed, but cars with larger alloy wheels produce a lot of unpleasant tyre noise at speed.
Euro NCAP awarded the Renault Kadjar an impressive five-star safety rating in 2015, although the tests have been made stricter since. All models come with automatic emergency braking – a feature that’ll apply the brakes to help prevent avoidable collisions – while top-spec Signature S Nav cars come with blind-spot monitoring and lane departure warning (to stop you wandering out of your lane on the motorway).