Last weekend saw the launch of the Renault Kadjar to the Irish market. While Renault may have already carved themselves a sizeable piece of the crossover pie, they have stepped up their game even further, entering the C segment for the first time with the all new Renault Kadjar.
Renault have focussed on a C segment crossover for the first time as their B segment Captur holds strong as the best selling Crossover in Europe in its segment. So it is easy to see why the French giant has chosen to steal a piece of the 24% overall market share that the Kadjar competitors currently hold. This is an incredibly competitive segment dominated by a number of strong brands and models from the mighty Nissan Qashqai, the Volkswagen Tiguan, Skoda Yeti, Hyundai IX35 (now the Tucson), Mazda CX-5 and Kia Sportage. The list goes on.
In the metal, the Kadjar stands at just a shade under 4.5 metres in length and first impressions are that it has nailed the brief on terms of aesthetic appeal. It gets a similar front end to its smaller sibling, the Captur, donning distinctive daytime running LED’s, but takes its own unique shape moving back along the car. It sports bulged rear wheel arches housing 19 inch diamond cut alloy wheels and attractive design curves in the bodywork that lend to its sleek and modern appearance. Inside, things are not quite as exciting with an extensive use of dark materials across the sports style dashboard. That said, the dashboard is finished to a high standard with a drivers cockpit that is both funky and modern, sporting a centrally mounted binnacle that houses both the rev counter and speedo in one single dial complete with the engine temperature and fuel gauges placed at either side. The R-Link infotainment system has also received an upgrade to make it more user-friendly and it is easier to navigate.
The cabin itself feels roomy and the seats were both comfortable and figure hugging. Space in the rear is ample too offering enough room and head space to fit three adults. The overhang has been extended at the rear to allow for a bigger boot offering 472 litres of space. Should you require more room, the rear seats are arranged with a 60:40 split and fold to provide a huge 1478 litres of space within the rear of the cabin. The 'dynamique nav' and 'dynamique S nav' offer the option of partitioning space in the boot area creating separate storage areas. Storage throughout the rest of the cabin is not bad with a large cubby beneath the centre armrest, the glovebox and the door cards.
Driving the new Renault Kadjar is an enjoyable experience. The ride is very well damped and soaks up Irish B roads lumps and bumps in its stride. Our test car was fitted with the 1.6 dCi 130 diesel engine mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox. It pulled really well and felt quite potent mainly down to its meaty 320Nm of torque. This combined with a nice driving position made for quite an engaging drive if you are so inclined and is certainly a model that won’t leave buyers looking for more power. Jumping from our test 4x2 and into a Kadjar 4x4, we had the opportunity of taking it off-road during a brief break from our road test. The car demonstrated its capabilities well and coped admirably on 45 degree inclines and declines. It turning circle was very impressive too.
The new Renault Kadjar will be available in four specifications, the 'Expression Plus', ‘Dynamique Nav’ and ‘Dynamique S Nav’ and the range topping 'Signature'. There is a choice of one 1.2 petrol engine and two 1.5 diesel alternatives and the 1.6 dCi 130 with the option of 4x2 or 4x4. There is also the option of an automatic gearbox but this is only available on the 4x2 models. One of the stand out features of test car was the red paint and Renault are very proud of the customisation available with the Kadjar and the number of colour combinations that customers can specify. It offers a host of new safety features and achieved a 5 star NCAP safety rating.
The Kadjar starts from €24,990 for the 1.2 Tce petrol 'Expression Plus' model. Renault Ireland are aiming to sell 3000 units in 2016 to make the new Kadjar their No. 1 best selling car in the country. The C segment currently accounts for 30,000 sales annually meaning Renault hope to win 10% of that market in Year one. With 140,000 plus car sales predicted for next year, and after driving the Kadjar, I cannot see any reason why Renault cannot achieve this goal.
For more information visit renault.ie