Long-term update (2): Renault Kadjar 81 kW 1,5 dCi EDC Dynamique
Compared with the other disruptions to your comfort zone that come with a change of home address, my new 40 km commute has actually proved the least jarring. Most notably, compared with my previous 9 km drive to the office, the longer route has not only afforded my long-term Kadjar an opportunity to impress in terms of comfort, but has also offered the car’s 1,5 dCi drivetrain room to breathe. Combined with a recent trip to the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb in Knysna, the overall fuel consumption has decreased accordingly.
My new area code also affords me access to dealership workshops that weren’t previously an option. As such, I was excited at the prospect of not having to visit the much-maligned Paarden Eiland multi-franchise when it came time for the Renault’s scheduled 15 000 km service. Instead, I was treated to high levels of efficiency at DTM Renault in Strand. Friendly service aside, this is the first time I have been offered a courtesy lift both home and then back to the dealership on completion of the work.
Having previously mentioned quirks associated with the Kadjar’s keyless-entry system, particularly around its efficiency, a small adjustment to my approach to allow the system a bit more operating time has largely resolved any issues.
While the raised-bodied Kadjar certainly doesn’t shy away from gravel roads, the combination of a relatively firm ride and optional 19-inch alloy wheels (with corresponding low-profile rubber) fitted to this vehicle means that, unless the surface is smooth, firmer ruts, undulations and corrugations are transmitted into the cabin, in turn testing the integrity of some of the interior trims.
After 10 months
Mileage now: 17 729 km
Fuel consumption: 6,85 L/100 km
We like: impressive overall comfort; convidence on the open road
We don’t like: sparse dealership network
Long-term update (1): Renault Kadjar 81 kW 1,5 dCi EDC Dynamique
Nearing the halfway mark of its scheduled 12-month-long tenure, and having recently resumed daily commuter duties after a period of festive-season family excursions, the Kadjar continues to impress, most notably in terms of its overall comfort and versatility.
While I’ve quickly learnt there’s no such thing as a swift exit out of the driveway with a couple of kids under the age of two in tow, any such delays have been human related rather than a result of not being able to squeeze supplies for every eventuality (including, it would seem, Armageddon) into the Kadjar’s large luggage bay.
With two Isofix child-seat-base units easily fitted to the outer rear pews of the Renault, my only want for maximum comfort of my small family would be dedicated climate-control vents positioned closer to their seats.
On the rare occasion when my youngest child’s chair needs to be secured (via a seatbelt) on the front-passenger seat, I appreciate the fact that the deactivation of that airbag is as easy as flipping a switch in the driver’s-side door seal.
While I’ve previously noted the relatively small supplementary controls found on the otherwise neat key fob, their clarity and ease of use would likely not be an issue were the keyless-entry function on my Kadjar not so temperamental. It usually decides not to function exactly when I have one arm full of daughter and in the other a beloved stuffed toy.
While I’ve managed to adapt my driving style to accommodate the foils of the EDC transmission, its tardiness remains a weak link. Despite this, I’m pleased to constantly lower the overall consumption as the test continues.
After 5 months
Mileage now: 6 838 km
Fuel consumption: 7,15 L/100 km
We like: overall comfort, commodious luggage area
We don’t like: erratic keyless entry system
Long-term introduction: Renault Kadjar 81 kW 1,5 dCi EDC Dynamique
Renault South Africa’s decision to launch its complete Kadjar range finished exclusively in striking Flame Red paint jobs (all with matching specifications levels too) temporarily flooded local media platforms with a plethora of identical-looking derivatives. However, now the vehicle’s launch cycle is over and the red tide has receded from the press fleets, my new long-termer remains as a standout in the Cape’s burgeoning SUV crowds.
Not that this top-of-the-range Dynamique spec needs it, with adds such niceties as chrome roof rails and LED headlamps to an already svelte looking package, the inclusion of optional 19-inch alloy wheels and a panoramic sunroof adds further presence to “my” 1,5 dCi-powered unit.
As noted after the local launch drive of the second wave of Kadjar derivatives (a dCi engine option, as well as Renault’s EDC dual-clutch transmission was recently added), these larger alloy wheels, fitted with suitably low-profile rubber, seem to have less of an impact on overall ride quality when fitted to heavier diesel-powered models than when compared with the petrol units in the range.
Also noted at launch, and to date confirmed over the first month of ownership, is an initial hesitancy in the low-speed workings of Renault’s EDC dual-clutch transmission. In adapting my driving style to best work around these quirks, I’ve found it helps to be more purposeful with throttle inputs both off-of-the-line and at crawling speeds, before settling back into a more relaxed style once up to speed.
While the Kadjar feels well put together and solid, the same cannot be said for the card-shaped fob linked with both the keyless entry and ignition systems. No doubt designed to slide into your pocket or purse, my item has already developed some creaks from within.
To date, the Qashqai-based Kadjar has proved more than capable of transporting my recently expanded family (including two Isofix-mounted child seats), as well as any day trip luggage. While the plush leather finish on the rear seat bench has thankfully proved easy to clean, the heated sections of the matching front seats have been equally as appreciated.
On the panoramic sunroof, I‘ve taken to keeping the electronically operated cover closed on particularly sunny days, thereby shielding the faces of rear seat passenger in particular. By contrast, having this blind open at night or, indeed, while driving through rain offers a feast for ever-curious young eyes.
Incorporated within a comprehensive infotainment system, it’s been fun trying to achieve the best possible driving style score using Renault’s eco-coaching module. While the majority of my mileage so far has been accrued over the weekly commute (realising an average consumption of 7,24 L/km), I have nevertheless managed a best-score-to-date of 71/100. However, with the accumulation of mileage over longer distances, I’m looking forward to improving my overall consumption to closer to Renault’s claimed 4,7 L/100 km.
After 1 month
Mileage now: 836 km
Fuel consumption: 7,24 L/100 km
We like: fresh styling; comprehensive standard specification
We don’t like: EDC transmission quirks