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Geneva show: Renault outs Kadjar SUV

Family resemblance: Renault's new SUV borrows many design features first shown in the smaller Captur crossover.

Captur's big brother detailed ahead of Renault Kajar official Geneva reveal


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3 Feb 2015

RENAULT has shown off its all-new Kadjar SUV, confirming that the newcomer will slot into the crossover family between its imminent Captur small SUV and larger – but only just – Koleos.

Measuring a mere 15mm narrower, 70mm shorter and 90mm lower than the Koleos, the new addition to Renault's SUV line-up is only marginally smaller in all dimensions compared with its older and bigger sibling.

However, the new model is clearly more closely related to its younger and smaller stable-mate sharing many of the modern styling features showcased in the Renault Captur, which launches in Australia this week.

Larger alloy wheels with low-profile tyres, short overhangs at either end, an almost identical headlight and grille arrangement, and unique curved sill/door design all nod to the Captur and continue Renault's design direction.

Despite the size similarity between longstanding Koleos and the Kadjar, Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar said the new model is not a replacement for the older vehicle and is still under discussion for Australia.

“Koleos is still here, and when Koleos is updated, it'll still be here,” he said. “That's a business case that's been in the making for a long time and it's fairly well put to bed. The introduction of something in between [Captur and Koleos] is a much newer discussion in the scheme of things.”

While new-model discussions are still ongoing, Mr Hocevar said, given the SUV climate globally and in Australia, the Kadjar would be a good fit.

“No doubt about it, it's a very attractive car,” he said. “It sits in a very strong segment globally, and that's replicated in Australia.

“So, if you look at it on face value, that's a car that most manufacturers would say 'could I have that kind of line-up between B, C and D SUVs' and you'd be very pleased.

“It's not confirmed for Australia at this point in time. We have been working on the business case for quite some time. I have taken a group of dealers over to see the car and their reaction was very positive.”

Mr Hocevar went on to explain that establishing the potential of a new model was only part of the decision-making process and that swamping the line-up with too many options can be damaging.

“Whilst we've got got good growth, we have to make sure that growth is sustained and if we do start to try to add more and more products, can we support it?” he said.

“That's where we're often torn in our decision making between what's really attractive and something that you'd love to have, versus what can you afford to have.

“We've just got to try and bridge the gap between those two objectives.”

If the Kadjar gets the go-ahead for Australia, its main competitors would include the Honda CR-V, the mechanically related Nissan X-Trail, Ford's Kuga, the Mitsubishi Outlander, Toyota RAV4 and Mazda's top-selling CX-5.

Available with both two- and four-wheel drive, a 190mm ground clearance and wheel sizes up to 19-inch, Renault is targeting owners who live in an urban environment but like “to get away from the crowd.”

Four-wheel drive versions of the Kadjar offer three driving modes with the Auto setting continually adjusting to changing conditions with a combination of two- and four-wheel drive, while Lock mode offers the best off-road traction, and 2WD provides the most frugal fuel consumption.

A modular layout with wheels at far corners of the vehicle have permitted a larger interior space for the Kadjar, while also increasing off-road ability thanks to steep approach and departure angles of 18 and 25 degrees respectively.

Interior space and versatility is boosted further with the Easy Estate system, which automatically unlocks and folds the 60/40 split rear seats, while the variable boot floor height allows a flat load area when in 'high' position or a maximum boot capacity of 472 litres when 'low'.

Extra interior storage offers another 30 litres of stow space and Renault claims the new model has the best rear-seat head and elbow room in the segment, measuring 910mm and 1456mm respectively.

No information has been offered regarding engines or performance with the French car-maker stating simply the car will have “low fuel consumption” thanks in part to idle-stop engine tech.

It will be built using the Renault-Nissan Alliance CMF (Common Modular Family) platform that also underpins the Nissan Qashqai and X-Trail SUVs as well as Renault Espace people-mover that was revealed at last year's Paris motor show.

Given the models it is related to, there is a likelihood that the Kadjar will be offered with a number of petrol powertrains, possibly including the 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre units from the X-Trail, as well as the 96kW/320Nm 1.6-litre diesel.

The images of the vehicle reveal that it will be offered with a Euro-friendly six-speed manual gearbox, but an automatic transmission version is also likely.

Renault says the interior of the Kadjar is “smart, comfortable and carefully appointed.” and features soft-touch materials, double-row stitched upholstery and a large glass roof, while entertainment is taken care of by the company's R-Link 2 multimedia system.

An “ultra-modern dashboard” with 7.0-inch touchscreen relays vehicle and entertainment information to front row occupants, with voice commands, Bluetooth, a choice of applications available for travel, news and social media updates.

Safety systems include a variety of driver assistance technology such as a lane-departure warning, road sign recognition and a reversing camera, while Renault's Pure Vision LED headlights are 20 per cent more powerful than incandescent technology with a frequency similar to daylight.

With a facelift in 2011, the Koleos has been on the market in since 2008 so a new-generation model is likely to arrive in the near future, possibly next year. Its replacement may grow in size to put more of a margin between its new Kadjar sibling.

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