1. What is it?
Absolutely not a Qashqai, according to Renault, despite running on the same platform and mirroring engine choices. It's a lifestyle SUV, with 1.2 litre petrol and 1.6 diesel engine choices, and like the Qashqai that shall not be mentioned, offers an AWD 1.6 diesel derivative.
2. What's so special about it?
It's very pretty. That's important in this urban cool market. It's also well built and decent to drive.
3. Climbing in...
No piano black! Hallelujah. Instead, a premium, SUV-like space, with plenty of headroom and wiggle room for the kids. The instrumentation is all-digital and is configurable - think of it as Audi's Virtual Cockpit but in funky colours.
4. Any driving enjoyment to be had?
The little 1.2 battles frankly - this is a sizeable car. The Nissan-derived 1.6 diesel is better and more than up to the task of keeping things on the boil, despite a narrow torque band. Steering is gratifyingly weighty but ride is on the harsh side and adds to the Kadjar's biggest problem - noise intrusion. At speed there is an unacceptably high amount of wind, road and engine roar.
5. So it's practial?
Mostly, yes. There are only five seats but that means a decent sized boot, a trade off we'd make every time. The rear seat splits 60/40/20 for long loads and the whole shebang fold flat for monster loads.
6. Anything else I need to know?
Electronica is what Kadjar focuses on, so, as well as the usual safety aids, there are all manner of trendy features, from full parking assist to a fresh air monitor that measures the outside pollution level and 'cleans' interior air.
Renault are focusing on design to sell Kadjar - good move given Captur's success with the same design language - but this is a far more capable car than its smaller sister, and much tougher. But here's the problem - Kadjar is R30K and R40K more expensive than comparable 1.2 and 1.6 Qashqais, respectively. Overseas it's the other way around. Are South Africans going to cough up for the extra style and a few more features? We'll wait and see.
Renault Kadjar petrol Expression 96kW Turbo R 359 900
Renault Kadjar petrol Dynamique 96kW Turbo R 384 900
Renault Kadjar diesel Dynamique 96kW dCi 4x4 R 449 900
Standard with a 5-year/150 000km mechanical warranty and a 5-year/90 000km service plan.