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Renault Kadjar GT Line TCe 140 6-Spd manual

Date: 29 January 2019   |   Author: Pete Tullin

The Renault Kadjar has always lived in the shadow of its more illustrious sister, the Nissan Qashqai. Renault hopes a facelift and new engines will address this situation.
Standard equipment:
7in colour touchscreen, automatic climate control, rear parking sensors, 17in alloy wheels, automatic lights and wipers
Engines:
Petrol: 140hp 1.3, 160hp 1.3
Diesel: 115hp 1.5
Equipment grades:
Iconic, Play, S Edition, GT Line
Transmissions:
Six-speed manual, seven-speed automatic

You have to imagine that when Renault and Nissan first announced an alliance, the French company's accountants must have been cock-a-hoop at the prospect of gaining access to Nissan's extensive North American dealerships. 

We're guessing they weren't nearly as excited as Renault's engineers, because that merger also meant access to the blueprints for the Nissan Qashqai. 

Sure enough, 2015 saw the launch of the Renault Kadjar, and to all intents and purposes it was mechanically identical to the Qashqai. 

Although each car has retained its own design language, inside and out, and to some eyes the French car is the more elegant vehicle, there has always been the suspicion that Nissan didn't hand over all the crown jewels. 

Engine improvement

Granted, along with a mid-life facelift, which includes a wider front grille, chrome inserts and a new rear bumper with brighter lighting tech, the Kadjar has also gained the latest powertrains that were recently introduced to its sibling. 

The all-new 1.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine effectively replaces the old 1.2 and 1.6-litre units previously found in the line-up and is available with either 140hp or 160hp power outputs. 

Both versions are more efficient than the units they replace, but more notable are the significant refinement gains that these new engines bring, especially the
lower-powered derivative.

The all-aluminium construction is boosted by extensive layers of combustion tech, including the latest electric turbocharging control, and as a consequence power is delivered smoothly and progressively from extremely low revs. 

New _Renault _Kadjar -Small -15052

Along with its spirited and flexible performance, the 140hp engine also remains smooth and impressively quiet all the way to the red line, with minimal amounts of mechanical vibrations transitioning into the cabin.

This super refined character is effectively what makes the lower-powered version superior to the higher-powered unit, which, although still impressive, produces a tad more vibration and is a degree or so more vocal thanks to higher levels of turbo whine. 

Easy does it

In typical Renault fashion, the standard six-speed manual gear shifter has a rather long throw, but it is not at all notchy and is nicely weighted, slipping between the gears with effortless ease. 

If you prefer having your gears shifted for you then there is an optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which cost £1,500. 

It may be worth considering too, thanks to its smooth, rapid shifts when under load and excellent low-speed driveability when pottering around the streets. 

The Kadjar's combination of comfort and control, including its neat and tidy handling and smooth isolation of lumps and bumps, help make it an easy car to schlep around in. This is supplemented by its light steering efforts; however, it can be overly keen to offer a helping hand. 

For instance, whenever the pressure on the accelerator pedal is relaxed, the electronics automatically assume the car is about to slow and automatically dump a dollop of additional assistance into the steering. Consequently, every time you get on or off the gas you expose differing levels of feel through the steering wheel, hardly an ideal recipe for smooth driving. 

Interior better but not best

Inside, things are airy and spacious enough for four adults to travel in comfort, but despite some material upgrades and splashes of satin aluminium paint to the airvents and steering wheel, the cabin materials still don't feel as plush as those in the Qashqai. 

New _Renault _Kadjar -Medium -15061

The Kadjar's infotainment has been revamped too and now provides Apple Carplay and Android Auto, but it is still not that great. Although the home is quicker to respond than the previous system, the screen is just too small and as a consequence, trying to make sense of the sat-nav whilst driving is the devil's own job. 

There remains the suspicion that the Kadjar isn't as well resolved as its Qashqai sibling, but that's a bit like saying Venus Williams isn't as good at tennis as Serena. The Kadjar is an easy car to like, with many strengths and few weaknesses, and this latest petrol model is a strong, refined performer.

P11D £24,835

Residual value: 37%

Depreciation: £15,684

Fuel: £6,852

Service, maintenance and repair: £2,424

Cost per mile: 41.6p

Fuel consumption: 47.9mpg

CO2 (BIK band): 134g/km (27%)  

BIK 20/40% a month: £112/£224

Boot space: 527 litres

Engine size/power: 1,332cc/140hp


Verdict


8/10
  • Smooth, powerful engine
  • Comfortable driving dynamics
  • impressive automatic gearbox
  • Small infotainment screen
  • Inconsistent steering
  • Some hard interior plastics

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