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.
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.
Car group tests
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Used car tests
Click on the links above to read each in-depth review, then read on for our verdict...
Head to head
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
|Renault Kadjar 1.5 dCi Dynamique S Nav
|Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi n-tec
|On the road price/total as tested
|Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost
|Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel
|55 litres/repair kit
|Boot capacity (seats up/down)
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery
|Service intervals/UK dealers
|18,000 miles (1yr)/153
|20,000 miles (1yr)/225
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos
|Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th
|50-70mph in 5th/6th
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket
|Automatic box/stability/cruise control
|Climate control/leather/heated seats
|Metallic paint/LED lights/keyless go