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First Drive

First Drive: Renault Kadjar

The story:
Renault has facelifted its Kadjar crossover as part of a mid-life revision that also takes in interior and connectivity improvements.
Key rival:Nissan Qashqai
Renault Kadjar 1.5 Blue dCi 115 S Edition
On sale:Now

Renault has given its Kadjar crossover a fairly substantial mid-life upgrade that will be most noticeable to current owners from the inside, although the LED indicators now neatly incorporated into the headlights are an exterior clue. A wider grille with new chrome inserts and redesigned bumper are also present on the revised model.

Interior improvements include an upgraded 7.0-inch touchscreen system, new climate control dials and chrome touches to the air vent surrounds, door handles and centre console, while the mirror and window controls are backlit for easier operation at night.

First Drive-July 2019-Renault Kadjar-Image 2The seats have also been given attention, and are now claimed to offer more support, as well as a new adjustable leg cushion, while the centre console has two larger cupholders and the redesigned door bins will now take a 1.5-litre bottle.

The 115hp 1.5 is the lower-powered of two diesels, but has 5hp more than previously, while the dCi 150 has an additional 20hp over the pre-facelift Kadjar. On the petrol side, there are new 140hp or 160hp 1.3 TCe units that have already appeared in Renault’s latest Scenic, Captur and Megane models.

Our test vehicle was fitted with the most efficient and fleet-friendly 115hp diesel, which gets to 117g/km as tested with the six-speed manual, or 115g/km with the automatic gearbox.

The Kadjar is big and practical on the inside, with plenty of passenger space and a useful 527-litre boot that is much larger than that in the Nissan Qashqai, with which the Renault shares its underpinnings. However, both are dwarfed by the space in the Citroen C5 Aircross and Peugeot 3008.

First Drive-July 2019-Renault Kadjar-Image 7Our car had a particularly aggressive clutch that made pullaways a little trickier than they might have been, but once on the move the engine is perfectly capable of hauling the Kadjar without needing to be worked too hard, and it’s a fairly refined and quiet experience.

Residual values can’t match those of the best-performing crossovers in the volume segment, which puts the Kadjar at a disadvantage in the running costs tables, although there’s not a great deal to choose between most of the players. The Renault slots into a batch covered by 3.5p that includes the Kia Sportage and the Qashqai, C5 Aircross, Peugeot 3008 and Vauxhall’s Grandland X. The Kadjar doesn’t lead in any area, but is close enough in all to make the shortlist. Then, as Renault’s research shows, a lot of the decision is down to visual appeal.


Paul Barker

The verdict

Subtly smarter to look at and with worthy interior upgrades and an improved engine line-up, the revised Kadjar offers more appeal than before, but others are slightly cheaper to run.