10 December 2018

First Drive: Revised Renault Kadjar

A revised version of Renault's Kadjar SUV will be appearing in the brand's Irish dealerships over the next couple of weeks, writes Brian Byrne.

The car, which has been highly successful globally for Renault since its launch in 2015, now looks a little stronger, and has been tweaked inside to provide a bit more of a premium feel.

A pair of new petrol engines will give the Kadjar more traction in the growing shift away from diesel, while the diesel engine offering is now both more powerful and efficient.

With the revisit, the car takes on the trim names and specifications already rolled out in other Renault models in the Irish and British markets. There are four for the Kadjar — Play, Iconic, S-Edition, and GT-Line.

Kadjar continues to be available in both FWD and AWD formats, though in the Irish market the latter only represents around 2pc of the model's sales.

The new turbocharged petrol engine is the result of a joint venture with Daimler and comes at the moment in 140hp and 160hp forms, with substantial torque available from as low as 1500rpm in the smaller power version. The diesels are a 1.5 115hp, and a 1.7 150hp.

Transmissions are six-speed manual or Renault's EDC dual clutch automatic.

Prices for the revised car have not yet been revealed, but a starting price is expected in the region of €27,000 which lines with the opening prices of main competitors. This represents an increase on the outgoing Kadjar's base price of around €25,500.

Renault Ireland says new fuel economy levels under the WLTP regime are a significant factor in price rises, while a VRT increase on diesel cars also comes into effect from 1 January.

During a pretty substantial drive at the international launch event in Sardinia, the company showed its trust in the ability of the Kadjar by sending us on some quite difficult mountain trails in the south of the island. Even though the cars were only FWD, they were more than able for the conditions. From this driver's perspective, I felt absolutely confident in the car's ability in occasionally extreme conditions.

The updated Kadjar has a solid place in the brand's SUV offering, between the Captur and the new this year Koleos. Given that the SUV element of the C segment has quadrupled in size since 2007, the model looks well set to build strongly on the 450,000 units sold since it was first launched.