Renault Kadjar 1.3 TCE 160 GT Line 5dr
All the Kadjar has to do is drive ‘fine’. There are cars that are entertaining, downright well-sorted, to steer in this class (well, there’s the Seat Ateca, then a sort of browny-green mush of everything else) but the Kadjar is resolutely not one of them. It does have a certain honesty to it though – it goes down the road like an unassuming family hatchback, albeit, quite a tall, heavy one. The steering isn’t particularly quick so it’s easy to manage on a motorway, but it’s a long way from agile.
The 19-inch wheels so dearly loved by the styling department intensify the ride from comfortable to brittle. The manual gearshift is notchy, and the seven-speed ‘EDC’ auto (sans paddleshifters) does the job smoothly enough until it’s rushed into action, when it gets flustered and doesn’t change up quickly enough. Which sort of begs the question, why have a snappy DCT when a regular automatic would be lighter, and silkier still?
Renault is keen to point out that the Kadjar’s 1.3-litre petrol engine is co-developed with Daimler. Mercedes ought to bill it the other way around. While this engine is a thrashy weakling in the supposedly sporty A-Class hatch, it’s much happier towing along the Kadjar. Less intrusive, more relaxed. It doesn’t feel overly downsized, like a big car flummoxed by a little motor.
We’d save money and go for the lesser 138bhp version. It’s not dramatically slower and delivers a real-world 40mpg.
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