As typically a commendation of its compromise between amenable comfort and hatchback-imitating handling. Based on this criteria, the Kadjar is a worthy addition to those in the class we think decent. Its ease of use is never in question and nor is its competence – both being qualities we identified as key to the Qashqai’s unquestionable ability to suddenly seem like the ideal solution to everyday driving.
The differences between the two are minor, then, but not entirely subtle. Just as the Renault isn’t quite as hushed on the inside as the Nissan, neither does it ride with quite the same aplomb. The secret to the Qashqai’s tranquil feel was a secondary ride just plush enough to smooth out the smaller intrusions endlessly encountered on British roads; the Kadjar’s set-up, while neatly compliant, is not finished to quite the same standard.
Being short of the class leader here isn’t a tragedy, though. On the smaller 17in wheels, it resists well the suspicion that it might be unduly firm and, for the most part, conceals any brittleness beneath a direct and modestly agile driving style. The electric steering’s variable assistance was apparently modified during reliability testing to offer a bit more resistance, and while it occasionally feels a little wooden, it’s easy to appreciate the heftier setting – especially as the Kadjar’s chassis majors on stability and not nuance.
That was certainly an attribute of the Qashqai, and that car’s ability to keep the more adverse effects of an inherently higher roll axis concealed beneath sterling body control is carried over virtually wholesale. Like its sibling, the Kadjar fully expects your driving style to change not one notch from its Volkswagen Golf or Ford Focus setting, and while those cars are fully capable of rewarding the keener motorist with greater depth and distinctiveness, a happy layman will hardly find the Renault deficient in any serious regard.