First Drive

First Drive: Renault Kadjar

The story:
Revised engines and refreshed styling keep the Kadjar in the running in this competitive class.
Category:Crossover
Key rival:Seat Ateca
Renault Kadjar
Price:£20,595 (£20,335 P11D)
MPG:47.9mpg
Emissions:134g/km
On sale:Now

If you’re going to base your crossover on another, the Nissan Qashqai is a good place to start. It may not be the clear class-leader it once was, but the Nissan remains one of the best cars of its type.

The same goes for Renault’s Qashqai clone, the Kadjar – although to call it a clone is rather unfair when the exterior and cabin look so different from the Nissan’s. However, the mechanical parts you can’t see are all but identical.

That means the Kadjar also gets the new engines that already feature in the refreshed Qashqai.

The less powerful of the two 1.3-litre engines would be our pick of the new petrols. Badged TCe 140, it’s impressively economical, especially when matched to Renault’s impressively slick EDC auto, returning 51.4mpg (NEDC adjusted). With a manual ’box fitted, it returns 47.9mpg.

Carbon dioxide emissions of 131g/km for the auto and 134g/km for the manual put both in the 27% BIK bracket. The equivalent Qashqai has lower emissions (121g/km or 130g/km depending on the wheels fitted for the manual), so it’s the more tax-efficient choice for drivers who can resist the allure of big alloys.

The TCe 160 has an extra 20bhp compared with the TCe 140 (158bhp compared with 138bhp). It’s clearly the quicker of the two but also a little noisier. The list price climbs by £800, but there’s nothing in it in terms of CO2 emissions.

It may go against what the retail market now wants, but fleet drivers and managers still understand the benefits of diesel. The least powerful Kadjar diesel improves by 5bhp to 113bhp, and emissions are now 113g/km. That means a 27% tax banding. The range-topping diesel now has 148bhp.

First Drive - March 2019 - Renault Kadjar - image 7As well as the new engines, there are subtle exterior changes, but you almost have to park the new car next to the old one to notice. The quality of the interior has also made a small but worthwhile improvement, and the naming of the specification levels has been brought in line with the rest of the range.

 

So, it isn’t a ground-breaking update, but the tweaks are enough to keep the Kadjar competitive with the likes of the Qashqai and Seat Ateca.

 

David Motton

The verdict

Small but worthwhile improvements keep the Kadjar thoroughly on the pace.