Never mind Elon Musk’s prediction of an artificial intelligence apocalypse and the human race’s enslavement by robots; if the new car registration data and the product strategies of every manufacturer from Ssangyong to Rolls-Royce are to be believed, we are destined to be taken over by crossovers and SUVs.
So, with appropriate subservient deference, we welcome onto the Autocar fleet one of our future automotive overlords, the Renault Kadjar (emphasis on the ‘jar’). As you probably know, the Kadjar is sister car to the current Nissan Qashqai, sharing much of its mechanical make-up and a range of engines. Renault, perhaps, would prefer us not to dwell too long on that Japanese/British engineering association and instead be happier for us to point out how well the Kadjar slots into the French car maker’s line-up above the popular Captur. Which it does.
Fittingly, given the rise in popularity of the Kadjar and its ilk, I have stepped into it from that most ubiquitous of conventional five-door family hatchbacks: a Ford Focus. Quite literally, in fact. I parked the Focus within feet of the Renault and a few short minutes later was on my way, sitting slightly higher, in a slightly bigger car, with slightly more space inside and slightly sad to see the Ford go. Sad because I was aware that I was about to experience an inevitable deficit in dynamic ability, but also slightly excited because I have a quiet appreciation of the chunkified high-rise aesthetic of the pseudo-off-roader. Some you win, some you lose.
Interestingly, my first two impressions - that the larger sheet metal area of the Kadjar’s doors relative to those of the Focus made them feel light and almost flimsy in my hands, and that the Renault’s steering wheel was noticeably smaller than that of the Ford - quickly melted away. (Incidentally, the flimsy door thing doesn’t bother me. Lightness matters, and an artificially weighted door in the name of a more premium feel strikes me as being a slightly vulgar excess in this day and age.)