Renault Kadjar SUV review (2015-2022)
“The Renault Kadjar is a good family SUV, thanks to its attractive design, practical interior and affordable running costs”
- Plenty of space
- Stylish design
- Cheap to run
- So-so reliability
- Pricey at the top of the range
- Entry-level model poorly equipped
Verdict - Is the Renault Kadjar a good car?
The Renault Kadjar shares a platform with the old Nissan Qashqai, so comparisons with the all-conquering medium-sized crossover are inevitable. In many ways, the Kadjar makes more sense than the previous Qashqai; it’s larger, more practical and cheaper. It’s also simple to drive, easy to live with and comes with a long list of safety kit. On the flipside, it fails to stand out in a crowded segment, the interior is bland, the infotainment system is showing its age, and there was just one engine available when production stopped in 2022, ahead of the Renault Austral arriving to replace it. As a used buy, the Kadjar makes a lot of sense, but it’s hard to recommend in the face of newer, more practical and more exciting rivals.
Renault Kadjar models, specs and alternatives
The Renault Kadjar is a family SUV that’s a little bigger than the Renault Captur and more practical than the coupe-styled Renault Arkana. It’s not a huge car, and instead it rivals a wide range of other medium-sized crossovers.
After the discontinuation of the larger Renault Koleos it was the French brand’s largest SUV until it was axed in 2022 to make way for the all-new Renault Austral. Like the Kadjar, the Austral shares many of its parts with the Nissan Qashqai, including a full-hybrid powertrain.
Although the Kadjar is no longer being made, its styling means it still looks quite modern. The LED daytime running lights and distinctive headlights give it a stand-out look, and the curvy bodywork means it’s attractive rather than intimidating. The interior has all the tech you need, and its smart design means it’s still competitive with many of its rivals.
One of the Kadjar’s strong points is practicality, as it’s roomy inside and the back seats can accommodate three people fairly well. There’s no seven-seat option, though. The boot capacity is 472 litres, or 1,478 litres if you fold the seats down, which means there’s room for all the gear that comes with family life.
The Kadjar’s engine line-up was massively stripped back, and by the end there was only one option: a 1.3-litre 138bhp petrol engine. It manages up to 44.1mpg and 0-62mph in 9.8 seconds, and is a great all-round choice. It’s smooth and quiet, punchy enough and reasonably economical, and available in manual and automatic forms.
While entry-level Renault trims can sometimes be rather spartan, the whole Kadjar range is relatively well equipped, with DAB radio, LED daytime running lights, air-conditioning, Bluetooth and a stereo compatible with MP3 and USB storage. Our pick of the range is the Iconic, which became the entry-level trim after Play was discontinued. It offers sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, lane-departure warning, a rear parking camera and 19-inch alloy wheels. S Edition adds all-round LED lights, a fixed panoramic sunroof and USB sockets in the rear. The range-topping GT Line is fairly luxurious with its heated leather seats, and adds clever features such as blind-spot monitoring, autonomous parking and emergency braking – but it’s a little pricey.
For 2022, Renault changed the trim levels to Equilibre and Techno. Equilibre is, in essence, a renamed Iconic, while Techno blends the S Edition and GT Line versions; you get the safety equipment from the GT Line and full LED headlights, but no sunroof.
Our biggest reservation is the Kadjar’s undistinguished reliability record. It didn’t appear in our most recent Driver Power polls, but was placed 55th overall out of 100 cars in our 2020 owner satisfaction survey. While many drivers were pleased with its fuel consumption and running costs, there were doubts over build quality, with 15.7% reporting at least one fault in the first year of ownership. Of less concern are the Kadjar’s safety credentials, which include a five-star rating from independent crash-test expert Euro NCAP.
Renault Kadjar alternatives
Rivals include the SEAT Ateca, Ford Kuga, Peugeot 3008 and Skoda Karoq, plus the Hyundai Tucson, Volkswagen Tiguan, Mazda CX-5 and Kia Sportage. One more significant alternative is the Nissan Qashqai – the latest model is a big improvement, and since the Kadjar shares many parts with the previous-generation Qashqai, the Renault is now somewhat falling behind its stablemate.