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HOT on the heels of just about every other mainstream manufacturer, Renault is having an assertive new stab at the crossover market. And, as with nearly all other manufacturers, it’s come up with a quirky and original name for it, too.

This is the Kadjar. Pretty, isn’t it? Although it’s not overtly similar, this newcomer shares much of its underpinnings with the automotive monarch of silly names, the Nissan Quashqai.

1081315_CHR3691To me, the Renault is the more stylish of the two cousins and inside, like the Quashquai, it’s got plenty of space and plenty of standard kit.

If anything, especially in the top-spec version I’ve been sent to test, it feels very upmarket – almost pushing into the comfort zone of more premium models.

1081371_CHR3705Quality materials, 7-inch TFT instrument panel with digital speedometer, all-round electric windows, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, a USB socket and a DAB radio are all bundled in alongside automatic cornering lights, automatic wipers, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and a hands-free keycard.

1081608_CHR3739The list goes on. If you can afford to go for the Signature Nav version, you’ll get 19-inch diamond-cut alloys, full LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, front and rear skid plates, side and boot kick plates, leather upholstery with a Nappa leather steering wheel, a height-adjustable passenger seat and the BOSE Energy Efficient eight-speaker sound system, including a boot-mounted sub-woofer and amplifier.

1081371_CHR3705That might seem a lot to take in but the point I’m trying to get across is how “premium” the Kadjar feels. Renault has clearly tried to move its newcomer up a league or two and it’s paid off. The spec, pound for pound, is brilliant.

To be honest, lower down the range, the Quashquai and the Kadjar seem closer in competition – and I’d even go as far as saying some of its rivals might present a better package, but here is a car at its best with plenty of boxes ticked. Make sure you can afford a good one, and you won’t be disappointed.

1081375_CHR3706Under the bonnet, you have a choice of three engines; a 1.2-litre, 130bhp petrol, a 1.5-litre 110bhp diesel and a 1.6-litre 130bhp diesel.

An automatic gearbox is available with the 110bhp engine and four-wheel drive is offered with the 130 in the three upper trim levels.

1081407_CHR3675It’s a short list, I grant you, but they’re all proven engines and all offer good fuel economy and low emissions.

On the road, a Quashqai driver should feel right at home, but that’s not to say the Kadjar is devoid of its own character.

1081439_CHR3683The steering and clutch are a little heavy, but it does ride well and the handling is perfectly good for this type of car.

Cabin space in the front is good, but practicality from the rear seats and boot is excellent. A flat floor with plenty of luggage space and storage gadgets makes this a really sensibly-designed family car.

1081580_CHR3732You’d probably never spot it, but the Kadjar is slightly longer than the Quashquai and that makes it more practical. It’s also a bit better to drive and genuinely does feel the more upmarket product, despite still being competitively priced.

1081596_CHR3736It would have been easy for Renault to make a re-nosed carbon copy of the Quashquai and they’d have probably got away with a pretty decent car, but they’ve worked harder than that.

Instead, they’ve cleverly created a bigger brother for their Captur range and I’d be amazed if it doesn’t sell well.

Pick one with a decent spec and the right engine and you’ll be thrilled with it.

And, the best bit is, all your mates will be able to pronounce its name, right from the word go.

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About Gareth Butterfield

Motoring and travel journalist Gareth Butterfield has a passion for writing reviews. Whether it be a biscuit or a Bugatti, 34-year-old Gareth will happily test it out and write about it. His job as a reporter for a large regional newspaper group has brought him plenty of opportunities to hone his skills and to produce articles for many titles and websites, mainly covering the Midlands. Over the years, Gareth has driven some of the most advanced and impressive cars in the world. As well as a few of the really rubbish ones.