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Car group tests

Nissan Qashqai vs Renault Kadjar

Has Renault improved on the Nissan Qashqai with its new sister car, the Kadjar? We put the crossovers head-to-head

Crossovers are big business at the moment, and every car manufacturer is trying to cash in on their popularity. However, one brand that has struggled to make an impact in the class is Renault.

It has achieved reasonable success in the small SUV sector with its Captur, but so far hasn’t impressed in the larger market. It fast-tracked the Koleos into the UK back in 2008, but this crossover – a rebadged model from Korean firm Samsung Motors – didn’t win over many British hearts and was taken off the market two years later.

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But now, Renault is back with the all-new Kadjar. This car makes the most of the brand’s alliance with Nissan, as it’s largely based on the same running gear as the popular Nissan Qashqai. However, Renault has taken time to develop the Kadjar so it has its own character.

The question is, does the Kadjar mark a new dawn for Renault in the class? To find out, we’ve lined it up against the Qashqai for its first test. Both cars are front-wheel drive and are powered by the same 1.5 dCi diesel, so it should be a close contest and a tough trial for the newcomer.

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Nissan Qashqai review

Renault Kadjar review

Click on the links above to read each in-depth review, then read on for our verdict...

Head to head

Practicality

It's clear that Renault has taken the Qashqai formula and tuned it to make the Kadjar more versatile. As well as having a larger boot, the car gets a retractable load cover that’s easier to work with than the Nissan’s parcel shelf. It’s simple to store when you need to load above the window line, and it feels better built than the Nissan’s flimsy shelf.

Noise

Our test cars feature the same 1.5 dCi diesel engine, but our noise tests revealed that the Renault was louder at idle. It registered 71dB outside, compared to 66dB for the Nissan. However, climb into either car, and engine noise and vibrations are well isolated.

Efficiency

The Qashqai emits 103g/km, but higher price means it costs more to run than its rival as a company car. Renault and Nissan offer 17-inch rims as a no-cost option, cutting CO2 to 99g/km and giving respective savings of £91 and £95 for higher-rate taxpayers.

Verdict

Renault

It's a winning debut for the Kadjar. The brand’s engineers have essentially tuned the Qashqai formula, and in many ways the newcomer is like a facelifted version of the Nissan. The larger boot and extra practical touches put it ahead, while the cabin has a more upmarket feel, thanks in part to the higher-quality dash displays. Plus, the Kadjar manages all this with a lower list price.

Nissan

The Qashqai is still a fine crossover, it’s just that the Kadjar edges ahead in a few important areas. They’re closely matched in the way that they drive, and running costs are on a similar level, too, but the Renault has added practicality and longer warranty cover. The Nissan does have stronger residuals, yet that’s not enough to give it an advantage here.

Other options for similar money...

New: Honda HR-V 1.6 i-DTEC SE Navi Price: £22,105 Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl, 118bhp

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Honda's HR-V isn’t quite as big as the Kadjar or Qashqai, but flip-up Magic Seats in the back and a split-level boot boost practicality. It’s reasonable to drive, too, while the 1.6 diesel is smooth, punchy and economical.

Used: Land Rover Freelander TD4 HSE Price: £22,995 Engine: 2.2-litre 4cyl, 148bhp

Buy used, and you can stretch to a 2013 Freelander HSE with around 10,000 miles. The 2.2 diesel isn’t the most efficient engine, but you get the bonus of go-anywhere 4WD ability, plus lots of kit for the money.

Figures

 Renault Kadjar 1.5 dCi Dynamique S NavNissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi n-tec
On the road price/total as tested£22,395/£24,120£23,730/£25,005
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)£9,675/43.2%£11,011/46.4%
Depreciation£12,720£12,719
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£804/£1,609£852/£1,705
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,261/£2,101£1,409/£2,348
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost14/£447/B/£2015/£521/A/£0
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£399 (3yrs/30k)£159/£249/£159
   
Length/wheelbase4,449/2,646mm4,377/2,646mm
Height/width1,613/1,836mm1,590/1,806mm
Engine4cyl in-line/1,461cc4cyl in-line/1,461cc
Peak power/revs108/4,000 bhp/rpm108/4,000 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs260/1,750 Nm/rpm260/1,750 Nm/rpm
Transmission6-spd man/fwd6-spd man/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel55 litres/£9555 litres/repair kit
Boot capacity (seats up/down)527/1,620 litres430/1,585 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,394/530/1,350kg1,365/545/1,350kg
Turning circle10.7 metres10.7 metres
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery4yrs (100,000)/4yrs3yrs (60,000)/3yrs
Service intervals/UK dealers18,000 miles (1yr)/15320,000 miles (1yr)/225
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos7th/12th28th/29th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars89/81/74/5 (2015)88/83/69/5 (2014)
   
0-60/30-70mph12.0/12.2 secs11.4/11.6 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th4.8/7.5 secs5.0/7.7 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th10.7/13.8 secs11.1/14.8 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph113mph/2,000rpm113mph/2,000rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph47.9/35.2/9.0m52.2/34.6/10.3m
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph71/46/58/67dB66/47/57/68dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range47.6/10.5/576 miles42.6/9.4/515 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined70.6/72.4/72.4mpg65.7/72.4/70.6mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined15.5/15.9/15.9mpl14.5/15.9/15.5mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket159/103g/km/18%178/103g/km/18%
   
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/cameraSix/yes/yes/noSix/yes/yes/surround
Automatic box/stability/cruise control£1,200/yes/yesNo/yes/yes
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/no/noYes/no/no
Metallic paint/LED lights/keyless go£525/no/yes£550/no/yes
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes
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