In the general scheme of things, you’d want an ideal vehicle to suit your lifestyle. The Renault Kadjar tries to balance your needs and wants. By Kannan Chandran
It’s far from ideal in Singapore, when it comes to car ownership, so you have to endure compromises — usually in terms of what fizz you’re getting for your buck’s pop.
Smart is the brand that offers as many outward pacifying aspects to cover any inadequacies there may exist in a product that is cut to suit the cloth. Or, in some instances, you could just offer whatever will prove adequate to the needs of the consumer.
Renault, in debuting the Kadjar has probably found a balance between practicality and, not so much performance as functionality. Renault’s entry into the crossover market was inevitable, as the Kadjar is built on a similar platform as the Nissan Qashqai. The joint partnership between the two mass-market brands is designed to build on their respective market strengths.
The curves are in abundance, as they are with the Nissan. With the Kadjar, you get to see the curves from the driver’s seat. Neat touches include the stylish rims and the play of lively colours on the sculpted design.
The Kadjar enjoys more space than the Qashqai, and makes good use of it. The boot is cavernous, although you have to heave down on the large boot lid. The back seats are roomy enough and can also be flipped down when dealing with particularly large or bulky items.
The 1.4-litre engine does a good job of hauling you about. At low speeds the diesel engine’s drag is quite pronounced, though once it’s up and running it seems to get into the flow of things quite nicely. There’s enough juice to get you up to reasonable speeds. Don’t expect massive performance figures. It goes from 0-100kmh in a steady sub-12-second trot.
Don’t expect too much of an engaging drive either. At higher speeds there’s a slight vagueness to the handling, and some correction to the steering is necessary at times, particularly around bends.
What’s outstanding about the Kadjar is the fuel efficiency. It takes some doing to get the fuel gauge to budge from full. The 1.5L turbocharged Euro 6 diesel engine does 100kmh on 3.9 litres of fuel. That’s without compromising on torque (250Nm from 1,750rpm), which allows you to get underway if you have a clear road ahead.
In the cabin, the Kadjar tries to make things as comfortable as possible. Not much going on in the back, but the R-Link 2 multimedia system offers a slew of information on the seven-inch touchscreen in front. From navigation to air quality and entertainment, it delivers the kind of informed connectivity that is de rigueur these days. The BOSE variant of the Kadjar is loaded with seven high-performance speakers and a subwoofer, and comes with a panoramic glass moonroof.
Electric seats would have been good, but you’ll have to contend with manual heaving to get into the right position. The multifunction steering wheel puts most of the vital controls within reach, with the information in clear sight on the customisable LED instrument cluster, so it’s all eyes on the traffic ahead.
Safety features have been shoveled in in spades. Lane departure warning is delivered via a thumping on the side of the Kadjar like a Harley Davidson has come alongside. If there is a bike in your blind spot, the monitoring system will alert you. You’ll always be informed of the speed limit on the road you’re on, which is handy in the event a cop is on the prowl.
For what you’re paying, the Kadjar is a pretty good proposition.
RENAULT KADJAR TECH SPECS
Engine: Turbocharged diesel direct injection with common rail
Max Power: 81kW@4,000rpm
Max Torque: 250Nm@1,750rpm
Transmission: 6-speed Automatic EDC
Top Speed: 181kmh
Retail price: *$135,900
Please reconfirm price with dealer.