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.
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