Renault Kadjar (2015-present)

Renault's Kadjar, the French equivalent of the Nissan Qashqai, excels at family life

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Cheaper than most rivals
Good to drive and comfortable on British roads
Fresh styling - no frumpy family car looks

Weaknesses 

Only one petrol engine in the range
Limited off-road ability
Predicted to lose value a little faster than some rivals

Promising to meet your "adventurous needs", the Renault Kadjar is marketed with images of rugged men climbing rock faces and the car speeding down unmade roads. In the real world, though, it's less likely to be venturing into the unknown than transporting little ones to rugby tots. Negotiating a sodden car boot sale will probably be its toughest test.

And that’s fine: the Kadjar is a solid choice of family car thanks to its large boot, spacious interior and hard-wearing internal plastics, which feel sturdy enough to withstand muddy boot scuffs and spills.

The Kadjar is a good example of the benefits of buying a crossover car, which combines the high driving position and practicality of an off-roader with the comfort and stability of a conventional car. It's available with four wheel drive, which improves grip when accelerating in snow or mud, but doesn’t have the ride height (the gap between the bottom of the car and the ground) for tougher terrain. More capable off-roaders include the Jeep Renegade and the rather more expensive Land Rover Discovery Sport, which offers seven seats.

The Kadjar is not as popular as the Nissan Qashqai, even though it's a better choice. The cars share many of their parts, thanks to Renault's partnership with the Japanese firm, but the Kadjar has been stretched by 7cm (3in), creating more legroom and boot space.

Adults should be comfortable in the back on long journeys, although headroom is a bit tight for taller occupants, and the 472-litre boot can accommodate a large buggy and shopping without requiring the meticulous loading that the Qashqai requires.

The Kadjar has two sets of Isofix points in the back for securely attaching child seats and was awarded a full five stars for safety from the independent crash testers at Euro NCAP. For optimum safety, only the top-of-the-range Signature S car is available with optional automatic emergency braking.

Inside, there are smart digital instrument dials across the range, soft-touch plastics around the dashboard and an easy-to-use layout, The cheapest model has only buttons and dials, for ultimate simplicity. The rest of the range has a straightforward 7in touchscreen with Renault's clear R-Link 2 software.

Every Kadjar has a DAB radio tuner and the ability to pair a smartphone. Cars with dashboard touchscreens made since April 2017 should have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, for easier control of popular phone apps, including navigation.

The layout and equipment is fairly standard, but no longer stands out in this category, where you can also choose from the precise quality of the Volkswagen Tiguan, the hi-tech dual-screen dashboard of the Peugeot 3008 and the individuality of the slightly smaller Mini Countryman.

It's a similar story on the road too: the Kadjar is good to drive, particularly with the diesel engines which are frugal but feel powerful. The crossover remains comfortable and stable on all but the most potholed roads, where it comes close to matching the smooth Qashqai. Roly-poly leaning in corners, that can affect some tall cars, is kept to a minimum and the Kadjar gives the driver a good feel for the grip and position of the tyres, so it can be driven confidently and precisely.

However, you'll find the Peugeot 3008, VW Tiguan and Skoda Karoq steadier over potholes. The Mazda CX-5 and Seat Ateca are better options if you're looking for precise steering and nimbleness.

Few rivals offer the same value as the Renault, though. Two-year-old used models cost less than £13,500, or under £200 with a ten percent deposit on representative finance. There's a high level of demand for the Renault, so it holds it value fairly well for this type of car, and that helps lower the cost of some types of finance. The list price of new models starts at just under £20,000, but new car discounts bring that down considerably.

It's a car that offers almost everything that a family would want at a reasonable price, which is all that many buyers ask for.

 

Last Updated 

Friday, April 20, 2018 - 14:45

Key facts 

Warranty: 
3 years / 60,000 miles
Boot size: 
472 litres
Width: 
2058mm
Length: 
4449mm
Height: 
1607mm
Tax: 
£145 to £205 in first year, £140 thereafter

Best Renault Kadjar for... 

Renault Kadjar 1.5 dCi 110 Expression+
This entry-level diesel emits just 99g/km of CO2, so is exempt from road tax. Its official fuel economy figure is a frugal 74.3mpg.
Renault Kadjar 1.6 dCi 130 Dynamique Nav
The more powerful diesel engine enables smoother motorway overtaking and is good for towing. The Dynamique Nav trim level ensures there's a useful sat-nav fitted as standard.
Renault Kadjar 1.6 dCi 130 Signature Nav
You couldn't really describe it as sporting, but the 1.6-litre diesel engine is the quickest available in the Renault Kadjar. Signature Nav trim comes with LED headlights for better night-time visibility.
Renault Kadjar Signature S Nav TCe 130 EDC
Top-of-the-range Signature S models are expensive and the high levels of CO2 and poor mpg figure make it expensive to run.

Renault Kadjar History 

  • September 2015 The first Renault Kadjars are delivered to customers.
  • April 2016 Renault Kadjar Signature S Nav top-of-the-range trim level launched,with rear parking sensor and leather seats as standard.
  • April 2016 A new smoother 7-speed automatic gearbox is available with the TCe 130 petrol engine.
  • April 2017 Apple CarPlay and Android Auto added to new cars with the R-Link 2 dashboard display.
  • September 2017 More powerful TCe 165 petrol engine and efficient X-Tronic automatic gearbox (a CVT design) introduced. Hands-free keycard upgraded so car locks automatically when you walk away.
  • February 2018 Renault reduces its warranty from 4 years or 100,000 miles to 3 years or 60,000 miles
  • April 2018 Kadjar Dynamique SE Nav special edition launched, with panoramic sunroof, side steps and rear parking camera in addition to Dynamique S spec.

Understanding Renault Kadjar car names 

  • Kadjar
  • Engine
    1.5 dCi 110
  • Trim
    Dynamique Nav
  • Gearbox
    EDC
  • Driven wheels
    2WD
  • Engine
    Engine size is given in litres (here it's 1.5). Smaller engines are often - but not always - more economical. dCi is the label used on diesel Renault Kadjar models; the petrol engine is labelled TCe. The engine's horsepower is also shown - this may be labelled as PS.
  • Trim
    There are six trims in total (Expression+, Dynamique Nav, Dynamique S Nav, Dynamique SE Nav, Signature Nav, Signature S Nav). Each higher level means more equipment and a larger price. If the trim has Nav in its name, sat-nav is standard.
  • Gearbox
    A 6-speed manual gearbox is offered across the range. Some automatic gearboxes are labelled EDC, which means that they have two clutches for quicker and smoother gearchanges. There's also a different type of automatic, called X-Tronic. This is a CVT gearbox, which works in a different way - without fixed gears. It's smooth and efficient during steady driving, but slower to react when accelerating.
  • Driven wheels
    Standard two-wheel drive cars are rarely badged 2WD but four-wheel drive versions are labelled 4WD.

Renault Kadjar Engines 

Petrol: TCe 130, TCe 165
Diesel: dCi 110, dCi 130

Choosing an engine for your Renault Kadjar is fairly simple, as there’s a limited selection. The 1.2-litre TCe petrol is nippy and will perfectly suit those living in busy towns and cities with plenty of short hop commutes. You can choose it with Renault's new 7-speed automatic gearbox, which is said to be smoother than the 6-speed version available with some diesel models. It's not the most frugal engine on offer and you can only expect around 35mpg in real-world driving, according to the Equa Index, which estimates fuel economy based on public road testing. The official figure of 50.5mpg - based on a laboratory test - is laughably optimistic.

Fuel economy isn't a strength of the more powerful TCe 165 motor either, although it's actually little different to the smaller and cheaper petrol option: real-world fuel economy is similar and it doesn't feel much faster, so it's hard to justify the extra cost.

Despite the reducing appeal of diesel, it's a good choice for the Kadjar if you drive more than 10,000 miles a year. Fuel economy is dramatically better: you can expect around 54mpg in normal driving from the dCi 110 with a manual gearbox, and 50mpg from the fast-shifting automatic. The engine is smooth and feels powerful, even at motorway speeds. It is a bit noisy, though.

The more powerful 1.6-litre dCi 130 diesel engine is best for towing and offers improved acceleration for faster overtaking. It’s also worth considering if you live in a remote area that can experience treacherous driving conditions, as this engine can be combined with four wheel drive. This is available with a different automatic gearbox called X-Tronic. This is a type known as CVT, which doesn't have fixed gear ratios. It's efficient but slow to react when you want to accelerate hard.

Fuel

Official fuel economy

Power

Acceleration (0-62mph)

Top speed

TCe 130

Petrol

50.4mpg

130bhp

10.1sec

119mph

TCe 165

Petrol

47.1mpg

163hp

9.2sec

127mph

dCi 110

Diesel

74.3mpg

110hp

11.9sec

112mph

dCi 130

Diesel

65.7mpg

130hp

9.9sec

118mph

Renault Kadjar Trims 

Expression+, Dynamique Nav, Dynamique S Nav, Dynamique SE Nav, Signature Nav, Signature S Nav

Renault offers a decent amount of standard equipment in in the Kadjar: you get more for your money than with the Nissan Qashqai but it doesn’t offer all of the hi-tech features that the Nissan does - such as the 360-degree cameras system, which gives the driver a bird’s-eye view around the entire car.

Entry-level Expression+ models come with air conditioning, a digital speedometer, cruise control, a speed limiter and all-round electric windows. There's a digital radio and Bluetooth for connecting your phone wirelessly, but no dashboard screen.

All drivers receive hill start assist, which automatically applies the brakes to prevent the Renault Kadjar from rolling backwards in awkward hilly traffic conditions. Standard safety equipment includes numerous airbags and two sets of Isofix points for child seats in the back seats. This version of the car can't be fitted with Renault's automatic braking system, which can prevent, or reduce the speed of, crashes.

Step up to Dynamique Nav and you will get a 7-inch touchscreen display with TomTom Live navigation as standard, along with a more powerful sound system with 3D sound functionality. These cars also benefit from stylish 17in alloy wheels - as opposed to the smaller 16in steel wheels found on Expression+ models - as well as fog lamps.

The Dynamique S Nav badge indicates a more sporty appearance, so these cars receive the largest 19in alloy wheels (these reduce fuel economy by up to 2mpg). They also get electrically adjustable mirrors, front and rear parking sensors and easy-folding rear seats, which can be lowered with one touch.

Special edition Dynamique SE Nav models add a panoramic sunroof, part-leather seats, side steps and a rear parking camera, while Signature Nav models come with a powerful Bose sound system, brighter LED headlights, and synthetic leather upholstery on top of Dynamique S specification.

Top-of-the-line Signature S Nav models have seats that combine real and synthetic leather, a rear parking camera, blind spot warning and technology that sees a car automatically parallel park itself using on-board camera and radar hardware. This is the only model available with Renault's automatic emergency braking system.

Renault Kadjar Reliability and warranty 

Renault's 100,000-mile/four-year warranty, offered on Kadjars sold before February 2018, used to beat those offered by VW, Mazda and Ford (all three years). However, it has since been reduced to 3 years or 60,000 miles. If you're buying used, then it's worth getting a car that's covered under the old offering, which will give you an extra year's peace of mind.

The Kadjar ranked mid-table in the 2018 Auto Express Driver Power survey. It was 58 out of 75 for reliability in the owners poll, which focuses on the most popular new cars. Almost one in six drivers reported problems in the first year of ownership, which electrics and gearboxes the most common cause for complaint.

Used Renault Kadjar 

Predictions suggest that the Kadjar will hold its value well, which helps to reduce the cost of owning the car but this does mean that used versions won't be bargain basement cheap. On the other hand, cars with higher used values tend to cost less to finance.

If you want the latest phone connection software, then you should find a car built after April 2017, as these came with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which display common apps on the dashboard screen, enabling you to control music, navigation and listen to text messages easily. If you're buying a 2017 car, it's worth double-checking that it does have the newer software, as it's not always clear.

Bear in mind that models with sat-nav include live traffic information for a limited time only. When buying used, you may need to pay an annual subscription to get full use of the system, which can divert you around traffic jams.