A hot version of the Renault Kadjar is a possibility, although a full-blown Renaultsport edition is not on the cards just yet.
Project director André Abboud is open to the idea of a more extreme variant. "I believe that there is room for a sporty edition," he said, "and crossovers are good candidates for this type of edition.
"We know that customers are looking for emotion and this could mean a more sporty version of the crossover. It's not in the scope at the moment - but we have a six or seven-year product cycle ahead of us."
The Kadjar was revealed at the 2015 Geneva motor show and will go on sale this autumn. It shares many components with the Nissan Qashqai, thanks to the Renault-Nissan Alliance, and it will be taking on much the same market as that model, as well as the likes of the Mazda CX-5, Hyundai ix35 and the Ford Kuga.
The company's vice-president for exterior design, Anthony Lo, said there are a lot of shared parts between the two cars. "The agreement [between the two companies] is that everything you see is different, but we had a lot of freedom to create our own stuff," he said. "We tried to carry over everything you don't see."
The Kadjar shares engines with the Qashqai, including the 1.5-litre and 1.6-litre diesels. Renault's head of design, Laurens van den Acker, said: "We have the benefit of very good engines, with low CO2 values. I think when you look at this in terms of CO2, engines, quality, design and flexibility and functionality of the interior, you have a very strong package."
The 108bhp 1.5-litre diesel is the most economical model offered, with CO2 emissions of 99g/km and fuel economy of 74.3mpg. Final performance figures are not yet confirmed, but it is expected to offer much the same levels as the Qashqai, with 0-62mph coming in 11.9sec. The 128bhp 1.6-litre diesel is set to make it from 0-62mph in 9.9sec, emit 115g/km and average 64mpg. Performance and economy figures are said to be largely similar for both automatic and manual versions. A 128bhp 1.2 TCe petrol model will also be offered.
Full trim and specification levels will be revealed closer to the on-sale date, but Renault says the Kadjar will be offered with a reversing camera, a hands-free parking system, engine stop-start, emergency brake assist, lane departure warning and road sign recognition with speed limit alerts.
Despite being predominantly an on-road car, the Kadjar, to be offered with a choice of front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, is also designed to cope with some off-roading. The two-wheel-drive models will come with an Extended Grip system that is claimed to enhance grip on low-traction surfaces. The all-wheel drive system has three modes: Auto, Lock and 2WD.
The Kadjar also comes with a 19cm-high ground clearance and approach and departure angles of 18deg and 25deg respectively. It also comes with front and rear skid plates and a stainless steel boot sill guard for added protection.
The Kadjar is 4.45 metres long, 1.84m wide and 1.6m high, making it slightly larger than the Qashqai. At 472 litres, with the rear seats in place, its boot is also 42 litres bigger.
The boot will also come with several practical touches. These include handles to drop the rear seats on a 60/40 split – a system that allows the compartment to be split into two or three sections – and an adjustable boot floor.
The front passenger seat can also be dropped to create a small table, or to load longer items. Renault says there is also 30 litres of storage space around the cabin.
The Kadjar will also come with the latest version of Renault's R-Link 2 infotainment system, which will be able to offer voice control, navigation, Bluetooth and radio.
Speaking of the Kadjar's importance to Renault, van den Acker said: "I think it is no secret that we are very late with this segment. It is a big gap in our line-up that we have finally filled, and it is very important for us to finally have a C crossover."
Despite the close relationship with the Qashqai, van den Acker said the aim was to create a link with Renault's current cars, saying: "It was important to do the big brother of Captur. It was not important to do a sister of Qashqai."
However, he said the two Renault/Nissan cars could sit alongside each other. "The goal is not to steal sales from the Qashqai," he said. "It is to steal sales from Volkswagen, from Kia, from Toyota, and I think there is room in the market to do it."
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