So, this is it for the Kadjar and I, and time to let somebody else in the Diesel Car team enjoy the eye-catching LED running lights curving their way into the line of the grille, set against the powerful Flame red paintwork. The go anywhere and tackle anything ground clearance, those comfy and hugging front seats and that properly ëpukkaí little engine. As I said in the Renaultís first report, itís the really good bits of the car that push it to the front of the queue and shout loudly to let you know theyíre there, credit where credit is due.
I havenít spent a lot of time in the back of the Kadjar, and that became obvious when I got into a disagreement with a friend, who weíll call ëEagle-eyed-Martyní, for arguments sake. He was sat in the back and piped up about how disappointing the plastics were on the rear doors. While I was sat in the front, stroking the smooth, soft, front door cards, I questioned his judgement. When we stopped a little later, I was quite surprised to find that the plusher, soft-touch materials donít go past the centre pillar, and that passengers are perched in what is essentially the cheap seats, with hard, scratchy plastics. While Renault arenít on their own in this department, itís disappointing that an SUV at this price point is finished in this way, especially as great strides in quality have been made by Renault elsewhere.
Having lived with the twin-clutch automatic transmission for the past five months, Iíd relish the opportunity to try the same 1.5-litre dCi engine with the six-speed manual gearbox option, as Iím pretty certain that the transmission doesnít show the Kadjar to its true potential. Yes, in most scenarios it operates just fine, such as free-flowing A-roads, where it simply gets on with the job in hand quietly and smoothly. Cruising along at speeds of 65mph or more, it will sometimes refuse to kick down to deliver more pace, both in automatic and the manual mode. When you demand extra power quickly, to perhaps overtake an obstacle, it is left floundering. It can be caught out around town, too, at slower speeds, when itíll change down into first gear, causing the nose of the car to dive and the engine to scream away noisily.
But all of these points are quite small in the grand scheme of things, and Iíve enjoyed my time with the Kadjar far more than I anticipated. I love that it is so versatile, and in a lot of ways forgiving for the tough lifestyle that I lead as a photographer. This Renault has done much to improve my relatively low opinion of French cars, though it would be a leap too far to say that I was a total convert, but can say that I have an appreciation for the Kadjarís talents. In just five months, the Kadjar has covered the equivalent of a yearís worth of motoring in my care, and there hasnít really been much to moan about. As I hand the keycard to the carís next custodian, I hope that he will be able to say exactly the same.
Date arrived: 15th July 2016
Mileage to date: 13,370
Fuel consumption: 74.3mpg (combined) 51.1mpg (on test)
The engine impressed me from the word go, with its refinement and capability.
The automatic headlights can’t always be trusted to be on when they should be.