Going boldly forth at our Kadjar’s helm, I was anticipating a dawn of optimism as the January dates flicked by. But apparently not. The 20th, you see, was Blue Monday, which has been decreed a new nadir in the emotional year. I’m full-Geldof on dislike for Mondays, but January 20th was mega-Monday for moping, the day emotional forecasters tell us is the most downhearted 24 hours of the year, thanks to a cocktail of bad weather, long nights, distant paydays and the aftermath of the festive glut.
What claptrap. Call me old-fashioned, but when I as a child ,my father knew just the cure for this: go out for a drive. Potter to the coast, meander down memory lane, just get out. And what better car than this? Our Kadjar might be blue, but it comes kitted with a panoramic glass sunroof so I can, at the push of a button, bathe the cabin in the refreshing palette of, err, grey gloom that appears to be fastened over the country for the entirety of the winter months.
Never mind, there’s the audio system to lighten the mood, though my left hand does begin to feel a bit depressed at the fact that layered touchscreen commands necessitate so many jabs to get to a station my finger’s convinced it’s a woodpecker. In fact, access on the screen to all manner of information and controls is, as my son might say, often laggy. As with many new cars that roll my way, should I get a phone call saying “Quick, listen to Radio 4 now!” by the time I’ve prodded through to the option, it’s history. At start-up, the audio system can take what feels like too long to wake up, too. Progress is an odd thing when digital is outpaced by a 1970s transistor radio.
Looking on the brighter side, at least the Kadjar makes motoring feasible at a point in the month when finances may be constrained. If you can somehow offset the obvious eco-shame of a journey simply for journeying’s sake, this Kadjar won’t insist on an adventure punctuated by fuel stops, with consumption happily reporting more than 50mpg in the data readings.
But if you’re a speleologist (keep up), the roads at this time of year are more of a descent into downright terror than depression. Travelling on the left is becoming just an ambition in Gloucestershire, unless you get a buzz from molesting your MacPhersons. This has been one of the dirtiest and dampest winters round here for years, and when you factor in the gobsmacking state of road maintenance, that cheer-yourself-up drive can suddenly turn into an adrenalin sport, not least when your wife embeds her fingernails in your left thigh as, for the sake of keeping all four wheels intact, you swerve craters to flirt dangerously with that oncoming truck.
In such moments, you really get to know your car, and I can happily report that the Renault’s agility, engine response and suppleness of suspension are jolly good. Winter blues? Take one of these twice daily.
Date arrived 10th June 2019
Fuel economy 55.4-60.1mpg (WLTP combined) 53.3mpg (on test)
Discovered this air quality and deodorisation tool. Just what this stink-ing world needs.
Okay, transistor technology wasn’t perfect, but digital radio can be oh-so slow.