Motormouth by Gordon Hall

The Kadjar

The Kadjar – front view: Pic -supplied

Three faces of SUV: Renault’s new Kadjar – Noticeably more luxurious

The name sounds Russian, Japanese or even Arabic, but the source is purely French. Cécile Mandonnet-Dupic, head of Renault’s naming strategy division, says: “We were looking for something that would be coherent with the names of our other crossovers while expressing Renault’s personality traits. As well as bringing to mind attributes of power, strength and robustness, the name Kadjar evokes thoughts of escapade, travel and discovery. And it fits in with the other names in Renault’s crossover line-up: Captur, the latest, and Koleos, which dates to 2008.”

Renault presents Kadjar as a brand new sub-niche of Crossover-SUV-hatch-sportswagon, but SUVs are basically big hatchbacks, sportswagon or sports van has been used by others already and Crossover is getting rather old. Nit-picking aside, it’s an engaging mid-sized SUV about equal in size and market targeting to Tiguan, Tucson and family members Qashqai and X-Trail. It shares the Alliance’s CMF-CD (Common Module Family, large and mid-sized) variable build platform with the Nissan models mentioned.
It’s a little smaller than X-Trail, a bit bigger than Qashqai and dimensionally much the same as Duster, although it’s noticeably more luxurious and better equipped than its Romanian cousin. The range topping 4×4 diesel derivative uses X-Trail’s very competent All Mode 4x4i awd system.
Three models are presently available. They are entry-level Expression with 1200 cc turbopetrol motor developing 96 kW and 205 Nm, more luxurious Dynamique with the same engine and the top model, a 1600 cc, 96-kW, 320 Nm Dynamique diesel burner with the All Mode awd mentioned above. All are fitted with six-speed manual shifters although autobox models are expected later this year.
Feel-good stuff includes a seven-inch TFT digital dash with adaptive display, Renault’s Multimedia 7” touchscreen infotainment centre with four speakers, auto on-and-off parking brake, Bluetooth hands-free, two USB sockets plus auxiliary, eco mode with suggestions for improvement of driving style and voice command for iPhone and navigation. Expression’s media centre does without the touchscreen but still has voice control via a push-to-talk button on the steering wheel.
Safety kit includes six airbags, ABS brakes with EBA and EBD, ESC with ASR, ISOFix anchors, automatic locking while in motion, hill start assist, rear parking alarm, cruise control with speed limiter and tyre pressure monitoring.
The standard car has black skid plates, front and rear, while those on Dynamique are grey. Other external differences are 16-inch steel wheels on the base car whereas the more luxurious version has 17” alloys along with roof rails and darkened windows.
Dynamique further justifies its R25 000 price premium with superior upholstery, front parking distance control, cornering fog lamps, LED headlamps, folding and defrosting for the outside mirrors, keyless entry and starting, automatic dual-zone air conditioning with external pollution monitor, the satnav mentioned above, and rain- and light sensors.
Model-dependent extras on offer include a fixed skyroof, automatic parking (parallel or dock) with camera and blind spot monitoring, 19-inch wheels and leather upholstery with front seat warmers. Accessories comprise a bicycle carrier, rooftop box, retractable towbar, boot liner and alarm system.
Colours: There are seven. If you must have non-metallic, you are left with any colour you like as long as it’s Glacier White. The others, at a surcharge of R2500, are Mercury Silver, Dune Beige, über sexy Flame Red that looks ‘way better than it does in the brochure, Cosmos Blue, Pearl Black and Titanium Grey.
Practicalities: Both engines are perky, powerful and easy to drive; seats are comfortable; the ride is great; there’s plenty of room; the boot is big and easy to get at with a standard spare wheel inside; both visor mirrors are lit, and fit and finish is very good. There’s a fair bit to learn about the electronics and connectivity features, but they’re quite straightforward and should be easy enough to grasp.

Information gathered at a manufacturer-sponsored launch event

The kadjar - rear view.

The kadjar – rear view.

The details:
Prices: Expression 1.2 turbo – R359 900, Dynamique 1.2 turbo – RR384 900 and Dynamique 4×4 1.6 turbodiesel – R449 900
1) 1197 cc, four-cylinder, 16-valve turbopetrol
Power: 96 kW at 5500 rpm
Torque: 205 Nm at 2000 rpm
Zero to 100 km/h: 10.4 seconds
Maximum: 189 km/h
Claimed average fuel consumption: 5.8 l/100 km
2) 1598 cc, four-cylinder, 16-valve turbodiesel
Power: 96 kW at 4000 rpm
Torque: 320 Nm at 1750 rpm
Zero to 100 km/h: 10.7 seconds
Maximum: 188 km/h
Claimed average fuel consumption: 5.4 l/100 km
Tank: 65 litres
Luggage: 370 – 1478 litres
Ground clearance: 200 mm
All versions carry a 5 year / 150 000 km warranty and a 5 year / 90 000 km service plan with 15 000 km intervals.

Gordon Hall: 083 6608 177 • •