What's the used Renault Kadjar hatchback like?
Building on the success of its smaller sibling, the Captur, the Renault Kadjar is a bigger SUV aimed at families, those who need a more sizeable car than a regular hatchback and don’t want to go down the MPV route. It shares a lot of its underpinnings with the highly successful second-generation Nissan Qashqai, and was facelifted in 2018.
The range was initially made up of two petrols and two diesels. Propping up the Kadjar range was a 128bhp 1.2-litre turbocharged unit followed by a 1.6-litre unit punching out 162bhp, while the punchier 1.6 dCi diesel is the only engine you could pair with four-wheel drive and the version with the 1.5 dCi diesel under its bonnet actually drops below the 100g/km limit. Later petrols, post-facelift, were served by one more efficient 1.3-litre engine in two states of tune: 138bhp and 158bhp (known as the 140 and the 160).
As for standard equipment, there were five trims to choose from - Expression+, Dynamique Nav, Dynamique S Nav, Signature Nav and Signature S Nav. The entry-level model comes with cruise control, front foglights, 16in steel wheels air conditioning, DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity. Upgrade to the Dynamique Nav trims and you find 17in alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and Renault's R-Link2 infotainment set-up with a 7.0in touchscreen and sat-nav. Choosing Dynamique S Nav gets you parking sensors, 19in alloy wheels, a part leather upholstery, and one-touch folding rear seats.
The range-topping Signature Nav trims include LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, a Nappa leather steering wheel and a Bose sound system, while the Signature S Nav includes a reversing camera, blind spot monitoring system and heated front seats.
There isn’t a bad engine in the Kadjar range; even the entry-level 138bhp 1.3-litre petrol is strong enough, feeling particularly gutsy from low revs and delivering its power in a smooth and predictable manner. It’s so good, in fact, that you don’t necessarily need to upgrade to the more powerful 158bhp version. If you feel you must, though, it’s not hugely more expensive and won’t have a detrimental effect on running costs.
However, the median spot is the 113bhp 1.5-litre diesel. It isn’t particularly quick, but it delivers its power smoothly with plenty of pull from low in the rev range, meaning you rarely have to work it too hard. All engines come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, but a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is available as an option.
The Kadjar doesn’t drive as well as the Seat Ateca, because the steering doesn’t inspire confidence and the car can’t change direction with the same verve as a conventional hatchback. Things are made worse when this SUV is equipped with larger, 19in wheels, because it makes the ride a little too choppy.
Inside, the Kadjar is one of the more practical options when it comes to rear seat space. Okay, it does have a transmission tunnel that limits leg room more than rivals like the Peugeot 3008, which features a flat floor, but even people over 6ft tall will be comfortable in the back. The doors also open wide enough to give you enough space to put a young one in a child seat.
Front seat space is equally good, with plenty of leg and head room. There are lots of cubbies to store water bottles or to hide electrical items, such as a portable sat-nav or your smartphone.
The boot is one of the biggest in its class, even marginally bigger than that of the Nissan Qashqai on which the Kadjar is based, and on higher trim levels you can have a handy false floor. This helps when the 60/40 split rear seats are folded down, because it creates a virtually flat load area. Those seats don’t slide forwards or backwards, though, as they do in the Skoda Yeti or Kia Sportage.
Advice for buyers
What should I look for in a used Renault Kadjar hatchback?
The Renault Kadjar is popular with families, so you should check the rear seats for any damage caused by child seats, and the backs of the front seats for scuff marks, because the occupants of those child seats might have taken their frustration out on them through kicking. You should also check the rear bumper for scratches caused by buggies being lifted in and out.
Few reliability problems have been reported with the Kadjar, except for niggly faults with the infotainment system. If you are buying your Kadjar through Renault’s approved used scheme, check that your potential purchase has had all the latest software updates.
It is also worth noting that Renault doesn’t do quite as well as its rivals in terms of overall reliability. On the plus side, though, the Kadjar was offered from new with a four-year warranty, so even the earliest versions will still have some of the original manufacturer's warranty cover left on it.
The car didn't feature in our most recent reliability survey, but Renault as a brand finished in 19th place out of 31 manufacturers.
What are the most common problems with a used Renault Kadjar hatchback?
Is a used Renault Kadjar hatchback reliable?
What used Renault Kadjar hatchback will I get for my budget?
Prices for a Renault Kadjar start at around £8000, this for a high-mileage 2015 car. Spend between £9000 and £11,000 to secure a car with an average mileage for the year and a full service history, bought from a dealer, while 2016 cars currently cost between £11,000 and £13,000. Expect to pay upwards of £13,000 for 2017 and 2018 cars that satisfy the same criteria.
How much does it cost to run a Renault Kadjar hatchback?
This is where the Renault Kadjar scores well, because it has a range of highly efficient petrol and diesel engines.
The 1.2 TCe petrol engine comes with either a manual or automatic gearbox and has an official average fuel economy figure of 50.4mpg for the manual and 51.4mpg for the automatic.
There are two diesel engines on offer: a 1.5 dCi with 109bhp and a 1.6 dCi with 129bhp. The 1.5 has claimed average economy of 74.3mpg, regardless of which transmission you go for. The 1.6 does 65.7mpg as a manual. If you want that engine with an automatic, Renault has offered a continuously variable transmission (CVT) in recent years, but this drops the economy down to an average of 56.5mpg.
There is also a 163bhp 1.6-litre turbo petrol model that does 45.6mpg; it was added to the range in 2017. In 2018 the 1.3 petrol engine was launched, and this returns a claimed average of 47.9mpg in the 140 version and 47.1mpg in the 160.
Something that also affects fuel economy for the Kadjar is bigger alloy wheels. These are usually fitted to higher-specification trims such as Dynamic S Nav. If your Kadjar is fitted with 19in wheels, expect the economy to be a couple of miles per gallon lower than the figures quoted above.
Depending upon what year of Kadjar you choose, road tax figures vary significantly. For those registered before April 2017, the 1.5 dCi is the cheapest version, as it is either free or £20 per year, depending on which version you choose. The 1.2 TCe petrol and 1.6 dCi both cost £115 per year.
Any Kadjar registered after April 2017 will currently cost £140 per year to tax due to the Government’s revised road tax policy.
Which used Renault Kadjar hatchback should I buy?
If you plan to use your Kadjar for short journeys only, go for the 1.2 TCe petrol model, because it has enough power to cope with the inner-city dash, while being economical enough not to hurt your wallet.
The diesels are much more useful for those who have longer commutes and plan to carry a full complement of passengers; their extra torque helps to get the car up to cruising speed without having to use too many revs. Of the two, we’d recommend the 1.5 dCi over the 1.6, because the more powerful engine isn’t worth the extra cost involved with buying or running it.
Dynamic Nav is our favourite spec; it gives you the 7.0in colour touchscreen infotainment system, dual-zone climate control and automatic lights and wipers.
Our favourite Renault Kadjar: 1.5 dCi Dynamic Nav
What alternatives should I consider to a used Renault Kadjar hatchback?
The Nissan Qashqai has dominated this sector since its launch because of its classy interior, quiet nature and efficient engines. Like the Kadjar, its ride is spoilt by bigger wheels, and its popularity means it will be more expensive to buy.
The Kia Sportage is good value and has a spacious and practical interior, but some of its engines - especially the 1.7 diesel - aren't as refined as some rivals and it has only so-so handling.
The Seat Ateca is the best-handling small SUV, and it also has a spacious interior. It doesn’t have a very flexible interior, though, and rivals have engines that are more efficient to run. It also won’t be quite as cheap as the Renault because it is rather popular at the moment, keeping used values strong.
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