THE Renault family of cars has never looked better.

Attractive design has become a key reason why customers plump for the Clio, Megane, Captur and Kadjar over rivals in the crowded hatchback and SUV market.

Take the new Kadjar, for example, which sits in the middle of Renault’s three-strong SUV range. There’s a dash of French elegance, trademark dashes of chrome and softer lines that catch the eye, and now there are several more good reasons why you might want to extend your interest in buying one.

Equipment levels include a seven-inch colour touchscreen, automatic climate control, rear parking sensors and 17-inch alloy wheels on even the entry-level model. Step up the range and you can have 19-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic glass sunroof and safety features such as automatic emergency braking and blind spot warning.

It’s not going to break the bank either, with a starting price of a little over £20,000.

But the biggest change for 2019 is the Introduction of new turbocharged petrol engines developed by the alliance with Nissan in cooperation with Daimler.

There’s a four-strong engine line-up. The new TCe 140 and TCe 160 four-cylinder petrol engines are the stars of the show, but those who prefer diesel can choose the new Blue dCi diesel engine in 115hp and 150hp forms that gains enhanced power and reduced emissions of engine pollutants.

The TCe 140 and dCi 115 power units are available with a choice of a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic gearbox, while the TCe 160 is available with a manual gearbox.

Here I am focusing on the TCe 160 in Iconic specification, which is expected to be the best seller.

The Kadjar range is now made up of four versions, a reduction from five in the previous generation. In addition to the Play, Iconic and GT Line trims there is an S-Edition sitting between Iconic and GT Line.

The Kadjar Play is offered with TCe 140 petrol and dCi 115 diesel configurations. Both are available with a six-speed manual or a seven-speed EDC automatic gearbox. You will need to step up to the Iconic the to get the TCe 160 petrol unit..

The new GT Line is available with the dCi 150 engine, with a six-speed manual gearbox and with the option of two-wheel or four-wheel drive.

The turbocharged 1.3-litre four-cylinder TCe engine developed by the Alliance in cooperation with Daimler was first fitted on the Scenic and Mégane.

It’s a tough call on whether or not you go for the higher power of the TCe 160 over the lower-powered unit, and will probably be settled by whether or not you want the higher trim level.

The TCe 160 is slightly faster from standstill, and even dips under the 10-second mark in a 0 to 62mph dash. This engine has already found favour in the Merc A-Class and Nissan Qashqai and is a proven performer.

It’s a great alternative to the diesel units and splendid to drive in both urban environments and on motorways.

The ride is supple through the soft suspension, so don’t expect sharp handling, and the steering can occasionally have a wafty feel through its lightness. Otherwise, it’s an easy drive with a relaxing ambience.

Away from the engine choice, let me start by re-emphasising that the exterior design remains a pivotal reason why you might want one. In the updated Kadjar not only do you get better engines but the design has been tweaked to offer more fluid lines, with revised front and rear ends. The wider grille includes chrome inserts and there are even touches of chrome on the rear bumper. The attention to detail is mightily impressive.

Step inside and you will not be disappointed. The cabin now features a new control system for the air conditioning, and there’s more chrome on the air vent surrounds, door handles and centre console with satin chrome inserts.

On a practical level, there are larger door buckets that can hold a 1.5-litre bottle, further reinforcement in the seats to provide better support, larger cupholders in the centre console, a sliding front armrest and lighting for the front cubby.

There’s a boot that’s bigger than that of the Qashqai, too, and three quick-folding rear seats to take bigger loads.

The entry-level Play version might be all you need when you consider that it also comes with tinted windows, LED daytime running lights, front fog lights, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers and rear parking sensors.

But for a couple of thousand pounds extra the Iconic gets a few toys that we seem not to be able to live without. These include satellite navigation with Western European mapping and DAB digital radio as part of the R-Link2 infotainment system and includes Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free calls, voice control, and a range of vehicle-focused applications.

The Iconic also gets both front and rear parking sensors, with a reversing camera, folding door mirrors, a hands -free keycard for automatic door locking and unlocking, 19-inch alloy wheels, extra tinted windows, roof bars and – thoughtfully - rear air vents and two rear USB sockets.


Renault Kadjar TCe 160

Price: £22,900 (range from £20,595)

Engine: Four-cylinder 1.333cc turbo-charged petrol producing 160bhp

Transmission: Six-speed manual

Performance: 0 to 62mph in 9.9 seconds; top speed 130mph

Economy: 42.8mpg combined

CO2 emissions: 136g/km


Performance: ****

Economy: ***

Ride/Handling: ****

Space/Practicality: ****

Equipment: ****

Security/Safety: ****

Value For Money: ****