May 19, 2019

Renault Kadjar First Drive Review

Caroline travels to Sardinia to drive the new Kadjar!

The updated Renault Kadjar coming to Ireland in January 2019
The updated Renault Kadjar coming to Ireland in January 2019

An updated Renault Kadjar is due to arrive in Ireland in early 2019 with new petrol and diesel engines and some refinements to the styling and interior finish. Caroline travelled to Sardinia to put the new Renault Kadjar to the test on and off road!

Styling

The Renault Kadjar has a new nose inspired by Renault’s other SUVs, the Captur and the Koleos, with a new C-shape light signature. The updates make a good-looking SUV even better. Some new trim elements and LED lights have also been added to the rear of the car. There are two new types of 17″ and 19” alloy wheels and also new colours for the Kadjar range including Oural Green, Iron Blue and Highland Grey.

Interior

There have also been a few tweaks to the interior of the Renault Kadjar as part of this update. Redesigned seats now feature length adjustment on some models, double density foam to enhance comfort, and firmer side reinforcements for more support. New satin chrome trim has been added to the interior and the touchscreen for the infotainment system is now flush with the centre console. Some of the dials and switches have been changed too. The Kadjar’s interior is neat and inoffensive, with reasonably good material quality. The infotainment system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Practicality

The Renault Kadjar is a five seat SUV with good accommodation for this class of vehicle. Rear footwells are reasonably sized and there is a 472 litre boot, one of the largest in the segment.

The interior of the 2019 Renault Kadjar
The interior of the 2019 Renault Kadjar

Engines

For 2019, the Renault Kadjar now offers new engines that meet the latest emissions standards along with offering enhanced performance and lower fuel consumption. There’s a new four cylinder 1.3-litre petrol engine developed in collaboration with Daimler that comes with 140hp or 160hp (TCe 140 and TCe 160). Manual and automatic transmissions are available.

There’s also the 1.5-litre diesel (Blue dCi 115) engine that increases power by 5 hp and torque by 10 Nm compared with the previous-generation engine. Available with a manual transmission, this engine will be available at a later date with the dual-clutch EDC transmission. The will also be a higher powered Blue dCi 150 with a manual transmission. It will be available in 4×2 and 4×4 versions.

On the road

The Renault Kadjar offers a stoic drive for the segment – nothing remarkable but it’s comfortable and agile. Renault gave us a good variety of roads to test the new Kadjar, including some quite extensive off road tracks. The Kadjar coped admirably. I sampled the new TCe 140 manual and TCe petrol automatic, while I briefly drove the Blue dCi 150 through a short purpose-built off road course. The petrol engines perform well for the segment, with the TCe 40 particularly nice for low speed driving. The TCe 60 felt like a more mature and refined unit owing to that power boost, but the TCe 40 is likely to meet the needs of most Irish buyers.

The Renault Kadjar has a new engine range for 2019
The Renault Kadjar has a new engine range for 2019

Equipment

In Ireland there will be four trim levels: Play, Iconic, S-Edition and GT Line. Standard features will include 17-inch alloy wheels, seven-inch colour touchscreen with smartphone replication, automatic climate control, automatic wipers and lights, tinted windows, ambient lighting, front fog lights, LED daytime running lights, cruise control and automatic parking brake.

The Iconic model will add satellite navigation, handsfree keycard, rear parking camera, electric folding mirrors, lane departure warning, roof bars and synthetic leather steering wheel.

The S-Edition adds front and rear parking sensors, LED headlights, LED front fog lights, panoramic sunroof, unique interior cloth with blue stitching, and light grey front and rear skid plates.

GT Line features will include 19-inch alloy wheels, AEBS braking system, full leather seats, blind spot warning, hands-free parking, heated driver’s seat, driver’s seat cushion extender and puddle lights.

Pricing

Renault Ireland will confirm pricing closer to launch but we expect a small price increase on the current range that starts from €25,490.

Rivals

The Renault Kadjar has many rivals including the Nissan Qashqai, Peugeot 3008, Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson and Volkswagen Tiguan.

Renault chose Sardinia for the launch of the new Kadjar
Renault chose Sardinia for the launch of the new Kadjar

Verdict

Renault have refined the Kadjar a little more to keep up with rivals. The Renault Kadjar with its redesigned nose is now arguably even more stylish than before, while the interior of the car has been given a better fit and finish also. Underneath the Kadjar is still a practical and comfortable vehicle, with new engines meeting the latest emissions standards. Competition is of course fierce in the compact SUV segment but the Renault Kadjar brings some flair and passion with an utterly capable and enjoyable family vehicle.

Caroline Kidd