We all wished it, some time or another. A car which literally goes with you all the way: in the urban traffic jungle, up that high mountain pass, on this forest road, on that fast stretch of Autobahn. As a superbly smooth, yet sturdy and pleasant companion. With a delicately balanced drivetain, which is utterly effortless and well at home in any situation.
Well, Renault has built just that car for you: it is their Kadjar we drove recently.
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Already in its fluent looks the Kadjar holds many promises. Which indeed it does...
First of all, its Energy dCi 110 hp is nothing less than astonishing. Supersmooth also when cold, it delivers plenty of pulling power over a wide rev range and guarantees lively performance. It develops 110 hp at 4000 rpm and 250 Nm of torque at 1750 rpm.
Moreover, it is coupled to a just as velvet like 6 speed dual clutch auto box which chooses the gears with utter intelligence and alertness, matching ideally the torque and power characteristics of this engine.
Remarkably, this transmission does not hesitate to rev the engine in first gear up to a good 2000 rpm and even slightly more, just to let the turbo set in nicely for that extra oomph in the following gears, when stronger acceleration is wanted.
The bare figures do not even bear justice to the vivid impression this drivetrain gives to the man or woman behind the wheel, but they are impressive nonetheless. 0 to 100 is absolved in 11,7 seconds, top speed is 181 km/h. Cruising along at the legal 120 km speed limit in our country, the unit is humming along at 2500 rpm with plenty of power in store for further accelerations when called for.
In tune with its alertness and sportiness, we should mention here that one can use flick the gear lever to the left when and push it forward or back to change up and down, as one wants to enjoy the engine in well controlled manual mode. You do not have to lift the throttle when making these manual changes, and they are imperceptible to both driver and passengers(s).
The engine remains with all this very frugal. During our test, we easily achieved an average consumption of 5,2 litres/100 km, driving the Kadjar with spirit both in town and on the open road. This frugality is also reflected in the official test cycle figures, which boil down to a mere 3,8 litres/100 km on average. Co2 emissions are quoted as 99 g/km. our test car came with the comprehensive eco driving guidance ECO2 with R-link, which indicates the extent and way of your deceleration(s), the amount of coasting you did, i.e. evaluating totally your way of anticipative driving, and you can see the results for yourself on the display screen on the centre console...
Well developed chassis
The Kadjar runs of course on the latest platform technologies of the Renault/Nissan group, and when it comes down to combining handling and comfort to reach a truly masterful balance, French car builders certainly score very high indeed. The Kadjar is no exception to this rule...
It feels agile, sure footed, the electric power steering makes it handle with precision, yet there is never any undue harshness and one is never jolted about even in the most rigorous terrain conditions.
Seating comfort is also of very high order, thanks to the well designed seats which deliver ideal firmness and good support when cornering with more abandon. Our test car came with the optional leather pack which featured not only leather upholstery, but also electric asjustment for the driver seat and electric heating on both front seats. This extra sets you back 1500 Euros in our country.
Furthermore, we enjoyed a panoramic glass roof, which gives that extra airiness which one appreciates certainly in these darker winter times, costing 600 Euros.
State of the art infotainment with Bose...
Our test car was also equipped with a magnificently sounding Bose stereo system, which proved quite delightful, classic and jazz music lovers as we are.
Navigation is excellent, intuitive and responsive, and we of course appreciated the optional Parking and Safety Pack Renault had thrown in. Distance radar, dead angle warning, active emergency stopping system, side sensors, rearview camera and last but not least Easy Park Assist, it was all there.
Lats but not least a word of praise for the instrumentation and displays. A large rev counter with a digital speed indication in its centre is indeed just what a driver needs. On top of all that, one can choose the ambient color of the instrument lighting, and even display several functions, like power and torque for instance.
Versatile and practical
The Kadjar is easy on you in daily use, and pleases with good storage space, ideally suited to haul in that Christmas tree and all the things one buys for family and friends. We also find the split level storage spaces in the luggage area a boon, certainly when you want to put that camera of yours away a bit more discreetly.
It is a well styled compact SUV, which truly delivers in all conditions, for everything you might use it for. It has a friendly practicality in daily life,
cocoons you nicely in its sturdy cabin, seats you comfortably, soothes you with superbly sounding music, and lets you enjoy its smooth, frugal power through its excellent engine and auto box.
As we said, it is last but not least a beauty, as you can see for yourself on the accompanying photos...
Hans Knol ten Bensel