There’s enough space in the back for your six-foot tall friends to get fairly comfortable but the Renault Kadjar’s interior is far from exciting – even with its standard digital driver’s display
The Renault Kadjar is based on the Qashqai, but it can’t quite match the Nissan’s slick, stylish interior. Sure, the Renault’s dashboard and doors come with a soft, squidgy covering and even the centre console’s matte finish doesn’t look or feel too low-rent.
Overall the Renault Kadjar feels almost as well-built as the Nissan, if not as plush as the VW Tiguan, and all its sensibly laid-out controls have a weighty, solid action – exactly what you’d expect from a chunky SUV. It even comes as standard with a digital driver’s display, instead of traditional analogue dials.
That isn’t enough to make up for entry level model’s lack of an infotainment screen, but at least their Dark Carbon Fabric upholstery should be easy to clean.
Dynamique Nav models add a little bit of chrome, but to get a bordering-on-premium feel you’ll need to go for a Dynamique S Nav model that has synthetic leather upholstery that looks fairly realistic. That said, even Signature S Nav versions, which have real leather seats, aren’t a patch on a VW Tiguan in terms of build quality.
A few neat features – such as the quick folding rear seats – make the Renault Kadjar easy to live with but, annoyingly, they’re reserved for mid-range models
The entry-level Renault Kadjar Expression Plus is best avoided – it comes with Bluetooth connectivity and DAB digital radio but that’s about it in the infotainment department.
You’ll be much better off with a Dynamique Nav model – these mid-range versions get a 7.0-inch touchscreen display (that Renault calls R-Link) with satellite navigation as standard.
The screen itself is reasonably easy to read on the move but it looks a little small in the Renault Kadjar’s large centre console – like a tiny TV monitor in an empty shop window. It doesn’t come with any handy shortcut buttons, either – unlike both the Qashqai and Tiguan. As a result, switching between key features is more difficult and you’ll have to take your eyes off the road for longer to tweak its more detailed settings. Thankfully, there’s a physical knob for the stereo so you can quickly adjust the volume without having to fiddle around with the touchscreen.
There’s no option to mirror your smartphone using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto mirroring – even in top-of-the-range models. Instead you’ll have to rely on the Renault Kadjar’s own built-in sat-nav to keep you heading in the right direction. On the bright side, it’s reasonably easy to input a postcode and the directions are relayed using bright, clear icons, but it’s not quite as intuitive as the systems in the VW Tiguan and SEAT Ateca.
The standard stereo isn’t anything to write home about. Entry-level Expression Plus models have to make do with four humble 20W speakers but Dynamic Nav versions come with a set of beefier 35W units. To really make the most of your music library, however, pick a Signature Nav model or above – they come with a much clearer, and louder, Bose system with seven speakers.