Renault has sort of been here before. Back in 2007 it launched the Koleos, closely related to the also-new Nissan Qashqai and a belated entry into the snowballing crossover category.

It was not a success; its ignominious withdrawal from sale in the UK in 2010 was made all the more glaring by the colossal triumph of its Nissan sibling.

The Koleos was an awkward creation. Designed in France, engineered in Japan and built in South Korea as part of Renault’s Samsung tie-up, it rolled about in the consciousness almost as inelegantly as its name rolled off the tongue.

In that respect, Renault has not learnt its lesson. Kadjar, apparently an amalgamation of French words but also, in a similar vein to Qashqai, the name of a now-defunct Persian dynasty, is pronounced as it is written, meaning it requires a few goes before you get comfortable with it. Nevertheless, it is on solid ground.

The Kadjar’s styling has already been tested in the smaller Captur, it will be built in Europe (at Renault’s Palencia plant in Spain) and it uses the running gear of the latest Qashqai, a recipient of almost universal praise.

Its appeal, says Renault, is intended to be far broader than that of the Captur. Where that car is primarily meant for tiptoeing around towns and cities only half full, the Kadjar is a proper family crossover, its global aspirations underpinned by the availability of four-wheel drive and a broader choice of engines.

These include the newer, more powerful 1.6 dCi diesel, yet the range remains propped up on the 1.5 dCi unit tested here, a powerplant that makes this particular Kadjar a sub-100g/km prospect.

Just as significant is Renault’s prudent decision to make its Qashqai clone noticeably cheaper to buy than an actual Qashqai – the well-equipped mid-range model here being pitched well under the price of its Nissan equivalent. Which immediately begs the question: is it better value or just plain inferior? 

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