I so hope readers appreciate the intact splendour of the Kadjar this month. The skills required to get to some of these idyllic English Riviera locations without knocking off the door mirrors is not to be sniffed at. Another year’s gone by and still the Devon Tourist Board fails to do the decent thing and erect signs at the county boundary: Warning, Narrow Lanes Ahead for the next 1,000 miles. You can spot the local delivery drivers – they’re the ones with the reinforced armour plating on their mirrors; they know that driving in these parts is a form of jousting where grockels (Devonish for tourists) are fair game.
But I have a secret weapon this year for our somehow set-in-stone migration to Salcombe: an SUV that measures 12mm narrower than the beefcake Peugeot 5008 we naively inserted into the local lanes last year. If you want visibility around here, you’re going to need a Unimog, since the bocage of deep-set routes offers no hope of seeing the sea, but an SUV is still a less terrifying proposition than a supermini, with drivers of the latter likely to be cowed into a quivering wreck by the time they hit the beach. Mill Bay, our youngest’s favourite beach, I have to say, is a pain in the proverbial. Its impossibly blonde fringe flashes coquettishly from the centre of Salcombe, but it’s a pig of a diversion north to reach and if you feel tempted by short-cut lanes, keep that St Christopher close to your chest.
So the Kadjar could write this confident postcard back to its owners at Renault’s HQ: “Having a lovely time here by the sea. Because I have those removable floor panels in the boot, I was able to offer enough storage for a family of four, even one that insists on carrying a beach tent and two body boards, as well as all the bits and bobs that might come in handy (but often don’t) for a week when the weather icons look a bit meh. My contempt for fuel stations continues to please the pilot and despite all the short bimbling journeys they seem to enjoy making, I’ve been able to ensure that they covered more than 500 miles or so on a tankful of juice. My lustrous blue bodywork even drew a few admiring glances in the streets of Salcombe, despite the fact that I only cost about half as much as some of the blingy LED-flashing late-edition Land Rover Defenders which seem to be compulsory around here. I spent five days at different beaches and, as it turned out, got very hot waiting for them to come back, but my air conditioning worked a treat.”
I do have a reputation for grumbling about holidays south of Taunton, but when term time resumes this year and that compulsory conversational gambit requires a human response, I can honestly say yes: thanks to this lovely all-round charabanc, I did go somewhere nice for my holidays.
Date arrived 10th June 2019
Fuel economy 55.4-60.1mpg (WLTP combined) 55.5mpg (on test)
Removable and adjustable floor panels in the boot. As it happens, we left them at home for extra volume.
Is the fuel-averse nature of this engine a clue to why I keep stalling when moving off?