RENAULT’S big SUV reminds me of a blond, dark, spiky mullet.
Don’t worry I wasn’t guzzling the Pinot Grigio last night. It’s the name that does it. Say Kadjar and I just think of Kajagoogoo, lead singer Limahl’s crazy two-tone hairstyle and No1 hit of 1983, Too Shy.
I defy you to say Kadjar and not end up humming that tune all day. The great thing for Renault is that their SUV is just as catchy.
It’s curious that it took so long for the French giants to muscle in on the industry’s fastest-booming market of SUVs and crossovers.
Their alliance partners Nissan had overnight success stories with the Qashqai and Juke before the Captur finally arrived.
However, the Kadjar might be late to the party, but it’s making a grand entrance. It will Kadjar woo you.
It looks very much like the Captur’s big bruv and that’s no bad thing. With its sibling an instant design hit and using cousin Qashqai’s mechanical bits, if it ain’t broke and all that.
The inside job on the Kadjar is equally fresh and stylish.
The emphasis is on comfort, while I really liked the carbon-fibre-look trim.
Renault’s R-Link 2 touchscreen media system is standard on all but entry-level versions and dominates the dash. You can swipe between screens like an iPad and download a wide range of apps.
The Kadjar has enough rear-seat space for three adults and 472 litres of luggage capacity.
Better-equipped versions have handles in the boot for one-touch folding of the 60/40-split rear seat, plus there’s an adjustable-height floor to make loading large objects easier.
Elsewhere in the cabin, you’ll find plenty of useful stowage space and a front passenger seat that folds forward into a table.
The Kadjar boasts fuel efficiency on a par with many medium hatchbacks.
The economy king of the range is the 110bhp 1.5 diesel, with a claimed 74.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 99g/km (low enough for free car tax) – with prices starting at £19,895.
But even the entry-level 130bhp 1.2 petrol, which I also drove, will get you about 50mpg and CO2 of just 126g/km.
It costs £17,995 and, unless you do more than the average 10,000 miles a year, that’s probably the better option of the two, even though the diesel is the biggest seller.
On the road, the Kadjar is a smooth operator. It soaks up pretty much the worst our potholed roads can throw at it and does the normal family chores without much fuss.
Trim levels start with Expression+, then Dynamique Nav, Dynamique S Nav and Signature Nav.
All come with six airbags, cruise control, hill-start assist, air conditioning, Bluetooth and a DAB radio.
The Dynamique Nav adds sat nav, along with R-Link 2 and automatic lights/wipers.
Upgrading to Dynamique S Nav gets you 19in alloys, front and rear parking sensors, and heated door mirrors.
And the range-topping Signature Nav comes fully loaded with LED headlights, panoramic sunroof and a thumping Bose audio system.
Of course, with Too Shy, hush hush, eye to eye, blaring out. This Kadjar is not shy, it’s just a good buy and better looking than Limahl’s mullet.