Given the success that Nissan has had with its Qashqai, it was unsurprising that sister brand Renault decided to take the Qashqai’s underpinnings and apply it to its own model.
The result was the Kadjar, which Renault unveiled in 2015 to sit above its smaller Captur. It’s since been joined by the larger Kadjar.
Renault unveiled the facelifted model in 2018, with sales commencing at the start of the year. The updated car benefits from a revised look including new bumpers, a wider grille with more chrome detailing and more body-coloured areas to replace some of the plastic cladding.
Renault also introduced a new TCe 160 petrol option to the line-up, too, which strengthens the Kadjar line-up further.
But can a light facelift continue to ensure that Kadjars continue to fly out of showrooms in this crowded market?
Renault offers the Kadjar with the option of two petrol engines and an efficient diesel engine.
Both petrol engines utilise a turbocharged 1.3-litre petrol engine (interestingly they are the same units that are found in certain Mercedes models). They are available with outputs of 138bhp or 158bhp – the latter option being found in our ‘TCe 160’ test car, which is an all-new engine for the Kadjar.
It’s the sprightliest engine fitted to the Kadjar, enabling a 0-60mph time of 9.7 seconds and a top speed of 130mph. Power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox that’s surprisingly pleasing to use. The engine itself has several flat spots of power, but on the whole, it feels a good fit for the Kadjar.
A 113bhp 1.5-litre diesel engine is also offered, which will be the best option for drivers who cover more miles annually, along with a 148bhp 1.7-litre diesel.See Available Kadjar deals
Ride and handling
For a top-heavy SUV, the Kadjar handles surprisingly well, with plenty of grip through the corners.
The body lean is also well-controlled, and it means for a lot of the time, it doesn’t feel too different to drive to a normal five-door hatchback, which is something that can’t be said for many crossovers.
One area where the Kadjar falls short is ride quality. Even on our mid-spec Iconic grade car, it features 19-inch alloy wheels. While they look great, the problem with large alloy wheels is that they equate to quite a harsh ride – particularly on rougher road surfaces. For that reason, the entry-level model with its smaller alloy wheels could make more sense.
Interior and equipment
Small adjustments have enhanced the Kadjar’s interior, with the latest model integrating more soft touch plastics and giving the design a more modern feel. The minimalist layout is easy to appreciate, with all but the most important buttons replaced by touchscreen functions. Speaking of the touchscreen, it’s a seven-inch unit that’s easy to use and integrates smartphone mirroring and satellite navigation. It’s not as sharp as rivals’ units, though.
But the Kadjar excels when it comes to practicality with loads of rear space for families, and while its 472-litre boot might not be class-leading, it’s well-shaped and should be more than spacious enough for most.
The Kadjar comes in four trim levels – Play, Iconic, S Edition and GT Line. Even the entry-level version comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, cruise control and automatic lights and wipers, with our Iconic model adding 19-inch alloy wheels, a seven-inch touchscreen with smartphone mirroring and keyless entry and start.
S Edition brings front and rear parking sensors and a panoramic sunroof, while range-topping GT Line versions get blind spot monitoring, autonomous emergency braking and self-parking.
The Kadjar is one of the best value cars in its class, with prices starting from £20,600, and even range-topping versions only just exceeding £30,000. It’s low- and mid-spec models that make the most sense, though, given their lengthy list of standard equipment. Our Iconic-spec TCe 160 seemed great value at £22,900, too.
All engines offer competitive running costs as well.See Avialable Kadjar deals
The facelifted Kadjar might not introduce vast changes to Renault’s mid-size crossover, but an improved cabin and revised styling only enhance this model further.
The Kadjar isn’t the most comfortable car in its class, but this car has plenty going for it. Not least its generous standard equipment levels, spaciousness and low starting prices. These three reasons alone are enough to warrant the Kadjar appearing on your new car shortlist.