Renault is planning to build on the huge success of its compact Captur crossover which last year alone recorded almost 178,000 sales.
It will do this with the arrival of a stylish, innovative and individual bigger brother, the Kadjar. Shown in public for the first time at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, it is now on sale in Ireland in a 15-version range offering three engines, two gearboxes, four trim levels and two-or four-wheel drive. Prices start from €24,990 for the Expression +TCe 130.
One car in every five cars sold around the world today is a crossover, and the sector is projected to continue growing in the coming years. In Europe crossovers account for an even larger 23 per cent share of the market. Renault believes that the Kadjar is ideally positioned to capitalise on that as part of Renault’s plans to become a more internationally focused company.
The Kadjar is built at the Renault plant in Palencia, Spain. The name ‘Kadjar’ is an amalgamation of two things – ‘kad’ is inspired by the word ‘quad’, a casual term for something driven by four wheels or legs: in France the letters qu are pronounced as a k. And ‘jar’ is a reference to the French word ‘jaillir’, which means to emerge quickly. So, we have a four-wheel-drive vehicle which is very agile – Kadjar.
Stylish inside and out
The new Kadjar is a stylish looking crossover. The assertive front grille and, on Signature Nav versions, front and rear skid plates are characteristic of SUVs, while wheels of up to 19 inches in diameter (alloy on all but entry-level Expression+ models ) attest to Kadjar’s sporty credentials. All versions have body-side protection mouldings, the majority with a chrome strip, and black wheel-arch extensions, and there are anodised roof rails above Expression+ grade.
Chrome window surrounds are standard, and there is extra chrome detailing above Expression+. Signature Nav models have full LED headlights, and LED daytime running lamps are fitted to every model. Meanwhile the rear lights create a rippled lighting signature effect. The interior is equally smart and modern, and is dominated by a horizontal dashboard which emphasises the width of the cabin.
Kadjar is available in Ireland in four trim lines familiar to owners of other Renault vehicles – Expression+, Dynamique Nav, Dynamique S Nav, and Signature Nav. All provide a comprehensive standard specification, rising to the truly luxurious at the top of the range. Renault’s fabled active and passive safety has been democratically applied across the range, while connectivity via the easy-to-use R-Link 2 system is fitted to all models above Expression+.
Standard safety features include ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Emergency Brake Assist, ESC stability control with traction and understeer control, cruise control, speed limiter, Hill Start Assist, six airbags, seat belts with load limiters and front pre-tensioners, side impact protection bars and ISOFIX child-seat mounting points on the two outer rear seats. No wonder then that the Kadjar received five stars in the Euro NCAP crash test.
Three cars in one
Renault says that it was not prepared to settle for a ‘me too’ approach with Kadjar. The result is a car which can be regarded as three in one – a subtle blend of SUV, estate, and saloon. The SUV links are evident in its assertive styling, robust appearance, and the availability of all-wheel drive.The all-wheel-drive system is an intelligent method of improving traction which allows three operating modes – Auto, LOCK ,and 2WD – so that owners can fine-tune how the car drives according to the road surface and weather.
Kadjar has 190mm of ground clearance and approach and departure angles of 18 and 25 degrees respectively for owners in search of off-road adventure, while range-topping Signature Nav versions have painted front and rear skid plates and a stainless steel boot sill guard protect the underbody and keep it free from dirt. Kadjar’s estate-car versatility can be seen in the boot-mounted ‘One-Touch’ easy folding rear seat system on the Dynamique S and above.
These release, and fold, the 60:40 split rear seats in one action. There are high and low boot floor positions which offer simplified loading or increased capacity according to requirements, and it is possible to compartmentalise the boot for secure storage. The boot has a capacity of between 472 and 1,478 litres, depending on seating arrangements, and Kadjar has a payload of up to 549kg and a towing capability of up to 1,800kg braked.
Ultra-efficient powertrains and drive systems
Renault says that the Kadjar has been designed to slot into a cityscape or countryside with equal ease. That is why it allows buyers to choose between two- and four-wheel drive, and why it offers a range of powertrains which deliver maximum fuel economy with minimum emissions, reducing the impact on the owner’s pocket as well as the environment.
The three engines, two gearboxes and two drive systems offer claimed fuel economy of up to 74.3mpg (3.8l/100KM ) on the combined cycle, with CO2 emissions as low as 99g/km.
Renault reminds us that the car is protected against defects recognised by Renault for five years or 200,000km (first two years have no mileage limit ). In the event of a breakdown, Renault provides emergency roadside repairs or towing to the nearest dealer 24/7 every day of the year.
There is also a three-year paint warranty and 12 years cover against corrosion. Servicing is required only once a year or every 30,000km.