It’s taken some time of Kadjar to find its way Down Under having been unveiled at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show and going on sale in Europe that same year. It has been a major success for the iconic French manufacturer with sales in excess of 500,000 worldwide. We do however get the benefits of a 2018 facelift.
According to Renault the name is a mix of ‘Kad’ meaning quad and ‘Jar’ meaning agility although all models are front-wheel drive.
Australian Kadjars are built at Renault’s factory at Valladolid, Spain.
Three Kadjar variants are available with the familiar quirky Renault tags of Life, Zen and Intens.
Styling is neat and attractive albeit with little that will make it stand out from its multitude of similarly sized competitors. At the front it’s clearly identifiable as a Renault with a standout version of the company diamond in the centre of the grille. The turn indicators are integrated into the LED daytime running lights and there are front and rear skid plates, lower door protective mouldings, black wheel arch extensions and anodised satin grey roof bars.
Life and Zen have halogen headlights, Intens gets Pure Vision LEDs. There’s chrome on the window surrounds, sill guard and DRL surrounds.
Life and Zen roll on 17-inch alloys wheels, two-tone on the latter. Intens has 19-inch two-tone alloys.
Interior space is well managed with good front headroom even in the top-spec Intens with its panoramic sunroof and enough rear legroom for most occupants. The boot is on par with others in the class in terms of size but it does have a number of clever permutations including the ability to split it into two separate compartments.
Although there are a number of power options available overseas, including diesels, all Australian Kadjars get a 1.3-litre turbo-petrol engine with 117 kW of power at 5500 rpm and 260 Nm of torque at 1750 revs. It’s mated to a seven-speed EDC automatic transmission.
Although Kadjar shares the same platform as the Nissan Qashqai it does provide a clear point of difference to is Japanese cousin which comes with a 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine and continuously variable transmission.
Standard safety features across the Kadjar range include six airbags; Electric Stability Control; ABS brakes with brake assist; front and rear parking sensors; reversing cameras; active cruise control; hill start assist; distance warning and automatic emergency braking.
Zen and Intens add side parking sensors, lane departure warning and blind spot warning while Intens also gets park assist.
Infotainment features are displayed on an attractive 7-inch colour touchscreen that’s embedded within the dashboard. The touch-sensitive buttons on the left side are far too small. Not so with the three large air-conditioning dials sitting below the screen which are much more user friendly.
The various features are managed by Renault’s R-LINK 2 system with the option of voice control. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available. Sound comes through an Arkamys unit in the lower spec models and BOSE in the Intens, each through seven speakers.
Renault Australia launched Kadjar on a 200 km route to the north of Melbourne that featured a blend of motorway and country roads.
Small turbo-petrol engines such as the 1.3-litre in Kadjar typically explain why diesel engines have never taken off in Australia. There’s fast response after minimal turbo-lag, from around 2000 rpm onwards it cruised smoothly although unfortunately the drive route rarely let us free from restrictive 60 to 80 km/h speed limits but when we did get the luxury of rare 100 km/h zones it showed plenty of spark.
There’s a nice feel of body control around bends and the occasional bumps were soaked up without any jarring. Steering is light and so more suited to the car’s urban natural habitat.
All Renault vehicles now come with a five year / unlimited kilometre warranty, five year / 150,000 km capped price servicing and up to five years roadside assist provided that servicing is maintained at Renault dealerships.
Fuel consumption is listed at 6.3 litres per 100 kilometres with CO2 emissions of 143 grams per kilometre.
We’ve been fortunate enough to arrange an extended test of Kadjar over the holiday period and will be able to provide a comprehensive review early in the New Year.
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Renault dealer for drive-away prices.