Test driving the 2020 Renault Kadjar

The Renault Kadjar is a mid-sized SUV with style. Its versatile boot space and practical dimensions make it a hugely attractive option for those considering alternatives to the Nissan Qashqai or Ford Kuga.

You might think it looks strikingly similar to the popular Nissan Qashqai… and you’d be right. The Kadjar is built on the same platform as the Nissan – and if the Qashqai’s success is anything to go by, the Kadjar should be an impressive, practical mid-sized SUV.  Read on to see what we thought of it when we took it out for a test drive. 


What did we drive? 


Renault Kadjar 115 dCi Blue
Engine: 1,461cc Diesel 
Model Lines: GT Line
Transmission: 6-Speed Manual
Power: 115hp
0-62: 11.7 seconds
Colour: Flame Red
Upholstery: Black Leather 
OTR Price: from £21,995

Learn more about leasing the Renault Kadjar




Renault have done well with the engine options available on the Kadjar. Even the lesser-powered of the lot (the 115 horsepower we drove) performs well. There are 4 diesels and 3 petrols, available with automatic and manual transmissions – it just depends on which engine and model line you go for. All of them are efficient and well powered. Here’s a quick run-down of all the available engines.



TCe 140: 6-Speed Manual

TCe 140 Auto EDC: 7-Speed Automatic

TCe 160: 6-Speed Manual



dCi 115: 6-Speed Manual

dCi 115 Auto EDC: 7-Speed Automatic

dCi 150 (2WD): 6-Speed Manual

dCi 150 (4WD): 6-Speed Manual




As we mentioned before, the Kadjar is based on the same platform as the Nissan Qashqai and shares many components with that of the Japanese Manufacturer. This means that many might find it a comforting alternative to the Qashqai when looking to lease their next family SUV. They share a practical size, rounded front and structured roofline. In terms of size, the Renault Kadjar dimensions are 4489mm (wheelbase) x 1613 (height with tailgate closed) x 1836 (width), also making strong competition to the likes of the Kia Sportage or Hyundai Tucson

The Kadjar certainly has good looks, with that big grille complete with the famous French emblem and LED headlights. Tinted glass comes on all models, with extra tinted windows and tailgate available on ICONIC, S EDITION and GT Line cars. This car also had 19 inch POSEIDON alloys, which are really eye-catching with their shiny gloss black contrast and double-spoke design.


Inside, the Kadjar has a simplistic layout that varies drastically from that in the Clio or the Captur that we recently drove. It’s an uncomplicated and relaxing cabin to sit in, the materials are of a nice quality and are predominantly soft touch. There are a few scratchy plastics here and there. However these are predominantly in the places that you don’t really pay much attention to and certainly don’t compromise the overall ambiance of the cabin. 


The star of the show is the huge panoramic roof. Not quite front to back like in the Range Rover Evoque, but a star none the less that adds SO MUCH light to the car. There’s quite a big pillar behind the driver, but on the whole visibility is pretty good and there’s some smaller windows behind the two rear passenger windows which I found to be a bit of extra help where maneuvering was concerned.


The Drive


I’ve heard reviews of some who weren’t too fond of the Kadjar’s manual gearbox, so going in my hopes weren’t high. However it certainly exceeded expectations. It slotted into gear easily and it was no faff at all to put it into reverse. This car had a pokey diesel engine that was quick enough and handled the notorious steep and lengthy hill by our dealership without trouble.

Without being used to a manual diesel car, it did take a while for me to get used to. However, that was certainly user error and we won’t hold it against the Renault.

An Eco score pops up after every drive, letting you know how well you’ve done in regards to economical Acceleration, Anticipation and Gear Changing as well as your MPG and an overall score out of 100. Now I blame my shoddy gear changing, but I ended the drive with a slightly shameful score of just 67/100.  But I can imagine making a bit of a game out of it each time you drive, constantly trying to better your score.




Everything but the entry-level PLAY models get front and rear parking sensors and a rear camera as standard. The camera is good enough and GT Line models like ours benefit from 360 sensors around the car for that added security when parking.

Whilst the touchscreen fits in well aesthetically, it’s not quite as user-friendly as other systems, and the touch doesn’t always register first-time. So I found myself not even attempting to use whilst driving – sticking to the media controls on a stalk behind the steering wheel. And parking up when I needed to input a sat nav destination or look at the screen for any extended period of time. Perhaps this would be easier if the screen was less centred and angled slightly towards the driver, similar to that in some of the Audis we've tested out.


The Drivers display is set into 3 sections; the left showing engine temperature, right showing a fuel gauge and the larger centre display with the speedometer and the rev counter. This display also indicates when you should change gear, as well as showing a leaf icon that lights up according to how efficiently you are driving. Cruise control and speed limiter buttons are actually down in the centre console right next to the parking brake – which is a bit odd, and not something I found to be the most user friendly.

This car had heated seats (although the controls were hidden in the armrest so it took me a while to find them), and the upgraded BOSE sound system. The centre console also houses 2 USB ports, and a 12v socket as well as a headphone jack. All in all it is well equipped and provides most of the technology many will need. 


Space and Practicality


The arm rest is split into two separate compartments, with space for your phone and then more storage underneath. The centre console holds two different sized drinks holders, as well as a smaller little compartment for coins. The cabin is a mix of plastic, leather, chrome and a piano black gloss – the latter of which looks good but scratches easily – so not the most practical. However the steering wheel looks and feels lovely.

The driver’s seat was comfortable and supportive for your back and also for your head. That comfort extends to the back, with big plush seats that will make long journeys a doddle. There are two isofix points that are easy access but rather than flip up, they are removable - which to me means only one thing… losable.


Boot space is very practical at 472 litres with the seats up and 1,478 with those rear seats folded down. To do so, there’s a handy lever in the boot space so no faffing about trying to pull down the heavy seats in a rush. The boot floor has multiple dividers that allow you to create separate spaces if you need them.

There was also no load lip, meaning you can slide heavy luggage or bags into the boot without hassle. And with those seats down the space remains level right up to the back of the front seats.


Model Lines - What you get: 



  • 7” Touchscreen
  • Apply CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Rear parking sensors
  • 17” ATHENA Alloy Wheels
  • Cruise control with Speed limiter
  • Dark Carbon cloth upholstery
  • Tinted rear windows
  • Electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors
  • LED daytime running lights and LED brake light
  • Eco mode
  • Automatic dual zone air conditioning


  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Handsfree keycard
  • 19” Alloy Wheels
  • Western European Mapping (detailed maps of Europe for international driving)
  • Lane departure warning
  • Automatic headlights and automatic rain sensitive windscreen wipers
  • Synthetic Leather and Cloth upholstery
  • Roof bars
  • Rear camera
  • Extra-tinted rear windows and tailgate


  • Fixed panoramic sunroof
  • Black fabric upholstery with blue stiching
  • LED headlights, fog lights and rear brake light
  • Electrochrome rear-view mirror
  • 19” ZEUS Alloy Wheels

GT Line

  • BOSE premium surround sound
  • Hands-free parking
  • 360 Degree parking sensors
  • Heated Seats
  • Black Leather upholstery
  • 19” POSEIDON Alloy wheels
  • Electrically adjustable drivers seat with cushion length extender
  • Leather steering wheel
  • Ambient lighting


Final Verdict 


The Renault Kadjar is a very respectable choice for those looking for a practical SUV, and the boot provides just that little bit more space than the much loved Qashqai. For me, the perfect model would be the S Edition, as it allows you to benefit from that impressive panoramic roof and those 19 inch alloys. The infotainment system may not be as user friendly as some of its competitors, but overall it’s a well-equipped car that is easy to drive.