Dare with the Kadjar Renault now also in the rapidly growing SUV segment, which has now achieved a global market share of 20 percent. "And of course we want to be there," says Renault Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn at a first presentation of the vehicle in Paris. That is why the new compact model will be the first Renault to be produced in China from the beginning of next year, where crossovers have now achieved a market share of 30 percent. So far, the French SUV range has extended to the front-wheel drive Captur (segment leader in France and Europe with 200.000 copies sold) and the Koleos manufactured in Korea.
What is unmistakable about the Kadjar is its similarity to its Japanese relatives, even if the front section of the new compact Renault SUV stretches the brand's current design language into the wind. But at the latest when you look at the side panel, the close optical relationship with the Nissan Qashqai becomes visible. And above all under the sheet metal, the kinship relationships continue. After all, both are on a common platform and share the most important technical details.
The Kadjar is said to be more than an SUV. Ghosn: "Our crossover appears as an all-wheel drive off-road, offers the interior of a sedan and the versatility of a station wagon." However, other models also want to offer that. When the Kadjar comes onto the market in summer, there are initially three drive options to choose from. In addition to all-wheel drive and the classic front-wheel drive, there is a so-called extended-grip variant, which provides the front-wheel drive vehicle with additional traction via the optimized traction control, which should prove itself particularly on snow, mud and sand.
With a length of 4,45 meters, the Renault is 7 centimeters longer than the Qashqai, otherwise the dimensions differ only minimally. The front section with the dominant trademark and a chrome clasp that stretches almost the entire width takes up the new design language developed by Renault chief designer Laurens van den Ackers. The successful rear section is also self-confident. In addition, the creative department did not save on typical SUV design elements such as bulky protective strips and generously sized wheel arches. The indentations on the sides, which give the lines a dynamic touch, also contribute to the flowing design. The ground clearance of 19 centimeters and an underride guard at the front and at the rear also qualify the Kadjar for trips into easy terrain - even if most contemporaries will probably save themselves and their vehicle.
In the interior, the rear seat can be divided in a 60:40 ratio, whereby the Easybreak system, which is available as an option, will be helpful. The foldable front passenger seat back turns the crossover into a transporter for shopping in the Swedish furniture store or for a surfboard. The trunk, which holds up to 472 liters, is also variable.
The Kadjar will be powered by engines from the Renault-Nissan shelf that are already driving the Qashqai. Which units actually come under the hood will only be announced when they are presented at the Geneva Motor Show. This also applies to the prices, which are likely to be slightly above the Qashqai level, which starts at just under 20.000 euros.
In addition to the Kadjar, according to Ghosn, Renault plans to launch the Espace successor and the new Laguna this year, which will probably be given a different name, as well as a new small car from the discount brand Dacia and a pick-up, but not on the German market will roll.
Author: Walther Wuttke / SP-X