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Renault Kadjar confirmed for Australia

The facelifted Renault Kadjar to debut early in the second half of 2019

Renault logo14 Sep 2018

RENAULT Australia has finally confirmed that it will fill the gap in its line-up between the Captur crossover and Koleos mid-size SUV with the Kadjar compact SUV that is set to land around the middle of next year at the earliest.
 
The French car-maker will offer the facelifted version that was revealed this week ahead of its public debut at the Paris motor show in October, bringing with it a host of updates including refreshed styling, as well as an all-new 1.3-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine co-developed with Daimler that is also offered in the second-generation Mercedes-Benz A-Class.
 
According to Renault Australia managing director Andrew Moore, the Kadjar will be an all-turbo range priced to compete with the likes of the Honda HR-V, Toyota C-HR and Mitsubishi ASX, meaning that the base variant may start from as low as $26,000, before on road costs.
 
“We want to be competitively priced,” he told GoAuto at the launch of the Renault Megane RS range in Brisbane this week. “We want to see it tackling Qashqai, Kia Sportage, Toyota C-HR and Hyundai Tucson. 
 
“I want it to provide value to a level that is similar to those vehicles. And I think its advantages are European styling and turbo engines, because low-displacement turbos give better fuel economy and provide a drive that’s a lot more exciting with a more torquey drive … that’s Renault’s heartland.” 
 
Mr Moore said the Kadjar cannot come soon enough for the French brand, as it restructures to offer vehicles such as SUVs that Australian consumers are responding to.
 
“I’m pushing to get the Kadjar here as soon as possible,” he said. “The peak sales period is May and June, and I’d love to have it here for that (next year).”
 
As previously reported by GoAuto, while the Kadjar has been available in other markets since 2015, it was only fast-tracked for Australia after Mr Moore joined Renault Australia from Suzuki Australia in September last year and recognised shifting consumer behaviours towards SUVs. 
 
“Because the vehicle is sourced from Europe, the pricing has been one challenge,” he revealed. 
 
“The other has been that there was a feeling amongst the team that it wasn’t different enough from the Koleos. I think five or six years ago that was appropriate, but now with more people looking to move into an SUV, so more people are looking for slight variations in size. There are customers that would find a Koleos simply too big, the Kadjar satisfying and the Captur too small, so we were losing those customers.
 
“For me, it’s important to have more SUV offerings because there are more customers that have small nuances in the SUV space that there was even just three years ago.”
 
Manufactured alongside the Renault Megane in the company’s Palencia plant in Spain, the Kadjar is currently Europe’s eighth best-selling SUV, and is closely related to the British-built Nissan Qashqai, sharing its Common Modular Family-CD architecture as well as most drivetrain components. 
 
These include a similar wheelbases (2647mm versus 2646mm), MacPherson strut front suspension and a multi-link rear axle.
 
In Europe, the new 1.3 TCe four-pot turbo petrol will be available in circa-103kW ‘140’ and circa-117kW ‘160’ metric brake-horsepower outputs, in six-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic transmission configurations. A 1.5-litre dCi turbo diesel is also marketed abroad but unlikely for Australian-bound versions. Whether Renault also imports the part-time all-wheel-drive versions remains to be seen. 
 
Compared to the 2015 original, the updated Kadjar also ushers in a wider and more chrome-laden grille design, reshaped headlights and bumpers, revised tail-lights, improved cabin switchgear, updated multimedia tech, larger door pockets and better materials to give it a more upmarket look and feel.
 
The Kadjar will be the first salvo in a renewed SUV assault on the local market, as it may be followed sometime in 2020 by the Koleos-based Arkana coupe-SUV unveiled last month at the Moscow motor show, but only if the latter is given the green light for right-hand-drive production. Also destined for Australia is the second-generation Captur, in the pipeline for sale sometime early in the new decade.
 
“Our ambition for Renault Australia is to become a strong player in the SUV segment.  We’ve already seen success in the popular SUV space with our top-selling Koleos and Captur and our intention is that in the future we will have an SUV that perfectly matches the various lifestyles of all Australians,” Mr Moore said in a statement.

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