Words & Images Kayla Cloete & Andrew Middleton
Sleek lines, luxurious styling, and… well, that’s about it, I’m afraid. With its price tag of R454 900, you’d expect the Renault Kadjar to have more to offer the aspirant gravel traveller aside from its
sleek design and diesel economy, when it’s placed next to its competitors.
It’s not all bad news for the Kadjar, though. With 96kW of power and 320Nm of torque, the Kadjar does still offer a good dose of acceleration and overtaking thrust. Then again, so does the R40 000-cheaper Nissan Qashqai 1.6 dci AWD. The Nissan and Renault share AWD systems, engine and chassis.
The Renault’s extra cost comes courtesy of a few nice-to-haves like the plush leather seats (Nissan gets cloth) and a reversing camera. However, for R15 000 more, you could take home the larger and more powerful Kia Sportage, with all of 130kW.
The Kadjar’s raised suspension is somewhat counteracted by the hard springs and damping characteristics, which, along with the non-compliant wheel/tyre choice, results in a stiff and occasionally choppy ride over smaller undulations. Despite the vehicle’s positioning in the softroader sphere, where you would expect at least a modicum of bad road cred, even potholes are also a no-go, as those low profile tyres on 19-inch rims are going to be vulnerable to damage. Luckily, a full-sized spare is included.