With the Captur and Duster both proving relatively popular on the sub-R300 000 SUV scene, Renault is now turning its attention to the segment above that with its new Kadjar, which is being launched in South Africa this week.
The Kadjar takes over from the rather unmemorable Koleos as Renault’s assault weapon in the hotly-contested Rav4/Kuga/Sportage war and though the newcomer is a touch smaller than the Koleos, it is a lot more modern and Renault promises to eventually supplement it with a larger D-segment SUV.
The new Kadjar shares its platform with its alliance partner Nissan’s Qashqai and X-Trail SUVs, yet when I drove it at its international launch in Spain last year, I felt the French newcomer had a more upmarket feel to it inside. Its exterior design is also very much at the cutting edge of modern crossover style and it’s a lot more city-chic than rough-and-ready.
TWO ENGINES: DIESEL OR PETROL
This is also largely reflected in its mechanical composition as only the range-topping derivative comes with all-wheel drive, and this All Mode 4×4-i system with a lockable centre diff will be familiar to X-Trail owners. Ditto the engine, which is the familiar 1.6-litre dCi turbodiesel with 96kW and 320Nm on tap. The other two Kadjars use a 1.2-litre turbopetrol engine to power the front wheels and, pushing 96kW and 205Nm, it’s slightly more powerful than the 85kW/190Nm version found in the Qashqai.
DYNAMIQUE OR EXPRESSION?
Whereas the 1.6 dCi 4×4 is offered only in Dynamique trim, the 1.2T can be had with the latter or the value-conscious Expression grade. This entry model still packs cruise control, an 18cm digital instrument cluster with multiple view options, manual aircon, electric windows all round and an audio system with Bluetooth connectivity. A five-year/90 000km service plan is also part of the deal. Renault has skimped on the wheels though, the Expression running on 16-inch steelies with plastic wheel covers.
The 1.2T and 1.6 dCi Dynamique models add 17-inch alloys, full LED headlights, an 18cm touch-screen infotainment system with satnav, automatic dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors as well as automatic lights and wipers.
Leather seats (electric for the driver) are optional, along with a self-park system that comes bundled with a reverse camera, side park distance control and a blind-spot warning system.
DOES IT STACK UP?
With a stylish design, comfy ride and a wide array of gadgets, the Kadjar appears to make a good case for itself in the C-segment SUV market, and it’s priced in line with its rivals too. This is a rather crowded segment though, with many well-established players, meaning Renault will have fight hard for its share of the pie.
RENAULT KADJAR PRICES
Expression 96kW 1.2 Turbo – R359 900
Dynamique 96kW 1.2 Turbo – R384 900
Dynamique 96kW 1.6 dCi AWD – R449 900
Ford Kuga 1.5T Ambiente 110kW – R359 900
Hyundai Tucson 2.0 Premium 115kW – R359 900
Mazda CX-5 2.0 Active 121kW – R341 000
Nissan Qashqai 1.6 dCi AWD Acenta 96kW – R410 600
Toyota Rav4 2.2 D-4D AWD VX 110kW – R522 000