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Renault Kadjar 1.6 dCi Dynamique S 4WD review: Renault outsmarts the Qashqai with new Nissan-based SUV

Renault Kadjar 1.6 dCi Dynamique S 4WD1
The Kadjar is actually based on the Qashqai but is that where the similarities end?


18 June 2015

Renault Kadjar 1.6 dCi Dynamique S 4WD review

What is it?

RENAULT’S new crossover estate/SUV rival to the Qashqai, which rather amusingly is based on the same platform as the Nissan. There’s the choice of three engines; one petrol that we got to try, plus two 1.6 litre diesels with either 109bhp, or the most powerful 128bhp version that comes with four-wheel drive as reviewed here.

Wonder what Kadjar means? Well, according to Renault, the name is made by cutting and shutting the words quad and jaillir, which means ‘to emerge quickly’ in French.

So there you have it.

What’s hot?

  • The silhouette and dimensions of the Kadjar might be similar to its Nissan sister, but this Renault is the more stylish car. The front of the Kadjar almost looks like a scaled up Captur, but the Renault diamond is even bigger and the way the detail of the LED front lights follows the line of the grille is something new and different. The interesting design continues down the side of the Kadjar, with the signature concaved sides and wedged rear quarters. The back of the Kadjar is reminiscent of all modern Renaults with the slim, high set rear light clusters and curvy rear window.
  • We’re also fans of the Kadjar’s neat interior design – this is by far the best finished modern Renault we’ve ever been in. The plastics and trim quality feel a step up – even the TFT dials are easy to read.
  • Our Kadjar was powered by the familiar 128 bhp 1.6 dCi diesel, which feels a bit flat below peak torque at 1,750rpm. Once above that, it pulls strongly and reasonably smoothly right through the rev range. Plus, the six-speed manual has a positive, if not totally slick change.
  • This Kadjar’s 1.6-litre four-cylinder diesel should prove cheap to run, with a 57.6mpg combined consumption figure and just 129g/km emissions, meaning this Renault SUV falls into tax band D which equals £110 a year in VED – even with four-wheel drive.
  • Safe and secure probably best describe the driving experience in the Kadjar, which is all most crossover buyers will ever need. Yes the 18-inch alloys fill the arches well, but we were pleased that our review car was fitted with the smaller 17-inch alloys, which provided a more comfortable and composed ride.
  • Will this Kadjar make sense as an SME company car? Yes, with CO2 emissions of 129g/km, plus a combined fuel consumption figure of 57.6mpg, this car falls into the 23% company car tax band for 2015/2016, which considering the four-wheel drive equals an affordable monthly tax bill for a 20% tax payer of £96.
  • Priced at £25,095, the Renault is a high-value, well-equipped package that looks like seriously competitive when compared to the established crossover competition.
  • Inside, there’s room for five and even three tall rear passengers will be comfortable in the back. The majority will be able to find a good driving position, plus the seats are reasonably supportive.
  • The 472 litre boot is big enough and practical enough for everyday use, but one pull of a clever mechanism and the rear seat folds completely flat.
  • The four-wheel system is more capable than most drivers in this class will ever need. Two-wheel drive most of the time, up to 50% of the drive can be sent to the rear wheels should the rear wheels slip. It can also be locked in front or four-wheel drive modes, if the auto mode doesn’t work for you. You can see the percentage of drive going to the front and rear wheels via a neat little gauge on the dashboard.

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