Absolutely fit for purpose. The diesel engine has suitable vigour in the mid-range, so while it’s a bit flat at low revs and delivers a noticeable surge as the turbo kicks in, you still don’t have to row through the gears all the time to get satisfactory pace.
Sling it in to a corner and the Kadjar hangs on gamely and with more resistance to understeer than you’d get in most rivals, while the fairly heavy steering remains consistently weighted even with cornering load applied. There is quite a bit of body roll, but, even so, the Kadjar is sure-footed and predictable enough that you can enjoy hustling it if you wish.
More importantly for most looking to buy in this class, it’s fairly comfortable around town. The suspension errs on the soft and wallowy side, so initial bump absorption is good even on the standard 19in wheels of this top-spec car, but surface patina and high-frequency undulations can make it shudder and fidget subtly. It’s not uncomfortable, even over scruffy town roads, but smaller wheels would undoubtedly improve matters further.
Perhaps more irritating is the sharp initial brake response, which can make smooth stopping more of an exercise in concentration than it should be. There's also a stodgy-feeling gearshift, and rather more diesel dirge creeping into the cabin than is ideal.
Still, overall the Kadjar is an easy and not unpleasant thing to drive, while its cabin is one of the best in class. There are a few questionable materials dotted around - we’re not convinced by the matt dash fascia – but it generally feels well put together, and substantially better than any other current Renault.
The standard colour screen and sat-nav system is mostly easy to use, and – in this top-spec model - is fully specced with all the radio and connectivity functions you’d want. There's a Bose sound system with subwoofer, synthetic leather upholstery, panoramic glass roof and LED headlights.
On top of that, you get the full suite of safety kit, including lane-departure assist, front and rear parking sensors and traffic sign recognition. You’re not going to need to add anything, that’s for sure.
The Kadjar is equally impressive for space and practicality, with loads of room for those in the front and back, and a boot that betters the Qashqai for outright capacity and gets the same clever boot floor that can be raised, lowered, or used as a divider to keep your stuff from rolling around.