► It’s the Qashqai from France!
► New Renault crossover to slot above Captur
► Shares Nissan QQ/X-Trail hardware
You already know the name, now here’s the car. This is the Renault Kadjar, the French marque’s version of the Nissan Qashqai and a vital entry for the company in the lucrative C-SUV segment.
The Kadjar looks very curvy for a 4×4…
Although if you squint, the Qashqai heritage in the Kadjar’s body is very obvious there are a plenty of wavy design cues from the smaller Captur crossover in there to help set the Kadjar apart.
Contrasting with the swoopy bits are the usual soft-roader styling cues of roof bars and black plastic sills to make it look both taller and higher from the ground. The wheels are suitably oversized too; buyers will be able to spec rims up to 19 inches in diameter.
Can it go off-road?
Like the Qashqai, it’s no Land Rover. But ground clearance is a genuinely substantial 190mm and approach and departure angles are friendly, so no speed bump will be off-limits.
Both front and 4wd versions will be available, the latter with three modes – Auto, Lock and 2WD – so you can switch between fuel-saving two-wheel drive and muddy car park-conquering 4wd Lock mode, or leave it to make up its own mind.
How much does the Renault Kadjar have in common with the Nissan Qashqai?
Quite a bit. It’s built on the same platform, which Renault-Nissan calls CMF, for Common Module Family.
As well as the essential structure, lots of other bits are shared, like the navigation system architecture and also, although this is yet to be confirmed, a similar engine family. The Qashqai offers a choice of 1.2- and 1.6-litre petrols and 1.5- and 1.6-litre diesels.
Other bits and bobs, such as the automatic parking system, emergency brake assist, lane departure warning, road-sign recognition and reversing camera systems are common to the two cars.
There’s also the same double-height boot floor, split into sections which can be used as dividers to separate items, prop up delicate loads or simply keep your shopping unspilled.
In among the various soft-touch, foam-backed trim in the Kadjar’s interior there’s Renault’s R-Link 2 multimedia system, the same as that in the new Espace, with sat-nav, phone controls and apps aplenty.
How important is this car for Renault?
Given that in 2014 nearly one in five cars sold around the world were crossovers, very. It’s very much a car with a global outlook; it’ll be built in Spain for European market sales, but also manufactured in China – the first time a Renault’s been built there.
Renault aims for Kadjar to be a key car to unlock growth in what is now one of the world’s most important automotive markets. The Chinese-market Kadjar will be built in a brand-new factory currently under construction by Renault-Nissan in partnership with Chinese firm Dongfeng.
There’s on-paper promise here to banish memories of the underwhelming 2008 Koleos forever. There’ll be more info in the wake of the car’s public debut at the Geneva motor show.
UK sales of the new Renault Kadjar will begin in autumn 2015.