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6 airbags, cruise control, LED headlamps, satnav, park assist (front and rear, acoustic and visual), climate control, auto lamps/wipers, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, 19in alloys, front and rear parking sensors, half-leather seats, electric folding mirrors, panoramic sunroof, premium sound system
Petrol: 130hp 1.2-litre Diesel: 110hp 1.5-litre
Expression+, Dynamique Nav, Dynamique S Nav, Signature Nav
6-speed manual, 6-speed dual-clutch automatic, CVT auto
We all make mistakes, but Renault's decision to ignore a booming crossover/small SUV segment ranks as a serious one.
Compounding the error is the presence of the hugely successful Nissan Qashqai. As part of the Renault-Nissan alliance, Renault could have used the Qashqai as the basis for its own crossover. But it's taken a decade for that to happen.
Now, with the Clio-based Captur already under its belt, Renault's launching its own Qashqai-based Qashqai rival, the Kadjar.
Wisely resisting the temptation to badge-engineer its way into the segment, everything you see and touch with the Kadjar is all-new. But make no mistake: underneath it's pure Qashqai.
That means it gets the same range of efficient engines: the 130hp 1.2-litre turbo petrol plus two diesels: a 110hp 1.5-litre and 130hp 1.6-litre. A more powerful 160hp 1.4-litre petrol turbo will join the range later and there's the choice of three transmissions: a six-speed manual, a good dual-clutch automatic with the 1.5-litre diesel or a CVT on the most powerful 1.6 diesel.
Best of the bunch for business users is the smallest diesel. It's capable of averaging 74.3mpg and emitting 99g/km of CO2. Those doing fewer miles should also consider the small 1.2 turbo that can still crack 50mpg, although it definitely needs working out of town.
Inside the cabin, fit and finish is impressive, and practicality a strong point. The Kadjar's boot is usefully bigger than the Qashqai, but not quite as large as that offered by the Mazda CX-5.
A one-touch button to drop the second row of seats and a fold-flat front passenger seat help win back points. Behind the driver, there's also plenty of head- and legroom. There's a new, simple-to-use infotainment system too, and a clear, logical and well laid-out cabin.
We drove the all-wheel drive version that increases fuel consumption from the 130hp 1.6-litre diesel's 65.7mpg to 58.8mpg, but adds useful all-weather traction. It's agile, smooth and refined but not especially quick (0-62mph takes 10.5 seconds). Our car also rode on huge 19-inch wheels that gave an unsettled ride.
So far, there's been a lot of unavoidable Qashqai comparisons, but Renault hopes the Kadjar's lower costs will give it the upper hand over the Nissan. And early indications suggest the car will indeed benefit from class-best residuals, giving it a fighting chance of beating not just the Qashqai but everything else in the small SUV/crossover segment. If that's the case, it might just prove that sometimes it can pay to be fashionably late.
Renault Kadjar Signature Nav dCi 130 AWD
Model price range £17,995-£26,295
Residual value 35.4%
Service, maintenance and repair £2464
Vehicle Excise Duty £60
National Insurance £2253
Cost per mile 54.0p
Fuel consumption 57.6mpg
CO2 (BIK band) 129g/km (23%)
BIK 20/40% per month £101/£201
Boot space (min/max) 472/1478 litres
Engine size/power 1598cc/130hp
The Kadjar has the ability to be a competitive fleet favourite