Cars - Renault

Road tests and reviews of the latest Renault models available in South Africa

Test driving the new Renault Kadjar EDC

2016 Renault Kadjar EDC

By Franky Johnson

The recently launched Renault Kadjar really stands out from the mid-sized crossover crowd, with a distinctive look, nicely laid out cabin, fuel efficient engines and comfortable ride, all of which have contributed to its remarkable success in the marketplace. So versatile is the new Renault Kadjar crossover that it combines the best of three worlds - SUV, hatch and sports wagon.

At launch all three models were equipped with manual transmissions, but now, some three months later, the Kadjar Dynamique 4x2 model range is being expanded to feature Renault-developed EDC dual clutch transmissions plus their proven 1.5 dCi 81kW Turbo diesel engine.

Renault claims by using their Formula one techno-transfer to production cars, the downsized 1.5 dCi Turbo power plant outperforms several rival models with higher capacity engines in the highly contested crossover segment.

Added to the Renault Kadjar Dynamique 4x2 line-up is the:1.5 (81kW) Turbo dCi 6-speed Manual, the 1.5 (81kW) Turbo dCi EDC 6-speed Auto and the 1.2 (96kW) Turbo petrol EDC 7-speed Auto.

The Renault-developed EDC gearbox is an excellent, fuel-efficient unit with seamless, smooth gear changes. There’s no clutch pedal, and as with most auto transmissions, gear selection is of the 'P-R-N-D' type plus an 'up/down' shift mode. The ideal gear is selected by an electronic control unit and gearshifts are both automatic and comfortable.

The Renault uses a twin-plate dry clutch system for its EDC transmission to pair with the 1.5 dCi turbo diesel engine powering the new Kadjar 6-speed auto, whereby the first of the two clutches looks after the odd-number gears - 1st, 3rd and 5th - while the second covers the even-number gears - 2nd, 4th and 6th - as well as reverse.

The gears are carried by four shafts: two concentric primary shafts (each of which is connected to a clutch) and two secondary shafts. Gears are matched by means of synchronizers, as is the case with a manual gearbox. These synchronizers, like the clutches, are operated by electric actuators which in turn are controlled by a control unit.

The 1.5 dCi turbo diesel is Renault’s top selling engine most sold worldwide, and powers the both the new Renault Kadjar Dynamique 4x2 6-speed manual and the Dynamique 4x2EDC 6-speed auto models. It is also used in the Renault Duster and the Renault Captur range.

The 1.5 dCi turbo diesel engine develops 81Kw of power at 4 000 rpm and 260 Nm of torque at 1 750 rpm on the manual, while the EDC auto derivative produces 250 Nm of torque, also at 1 750 rpm. It will cover the 0 to 100 km/h dash in 12 seconds and has a top speed of 179 km/h. Fuel consumption is given as just 4.6 litres per 100 km in combined cycle, and CO² emissions at a low 120 g/km. A second-generation Direct Common Rail + multi-injection fuel system ensures that only the minimum amount of fuel is injected into the cylinders for optimised fuel consumption.

Moving on to the new 1.2 Turbo petrol Kadjar Dynamique 4 x 2, previously available in manual only, can now be paired with Renault's EDC 7-speed Auto transmission with concentric multi-disc dual clutch system. It develops 96 Kw at 5 500 rpm and 205 Nm at 2 000 rpm, will sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 11 secs and on to a top speed of 189 km/h.

We drove both EDC models starting with the 1.2 Turbo petrol EDC 7-speed Auto. This is an excellent pairing. The EDC system works smoothly, changing gears without any hiccups especially in the middle area of the torque zone. Our set route was mostly on urban roads, with lots of stop/start driving, especially at all the traffic lights, some poorly surfaced back roads and in those conditions the EDC works exceptionally well with virtually imperceptible gear-changes.

Switching to the 1.5 Turbo dCi EDC 6-speed Auto, the EDC transmission mates very well with the diesel, with smooth gear-changes, while the strong torque gets it a little quicker off the line than the 1.2 petrol model, and builds up speed quite briskly as it gets into the power band. On the highway, at a cruising speed of 120 km/h, the engine stays at 2 600 rpm, and for overtaking, it gives instant response to kick-down. On both models driven, wind and road noise are well controlled and all is quiet in the cab.

On the inside the new Renault Kadjar offers generous space both front and back, and the well-appointed cabin makes driving a comfortable experience.

The Kadjar seats five occupants comfortably. High density foam seats and reinforced side bolsters offer strong support and the multi-function steering wheel is adjustable for both reach and rake.

The ultra-modern instrument panel has a 7" TFT colour screen digital dashboard with adaptable display. The dash provides standard information such as the rev counter and speed as well as information for the navigation on the Dynamique, audio and advanced driving assistance systems. Fuel levels and engine temperature are indicated by LED gauges.

Overall quality is good, with soft-touch materials used in most places – there is a bit of plastic low down, but overall everything seems of good quality, robust and well screwed together.

Safety is a high priority at Renault, and the Kadjar achieved a 5-Star Euro NCAP rating in September 2015. Safety fitments across the range includes six air bags, disc brakes at all four wheels, ABS and EBA and all the electronic driver aids such as Electronic Stability Program or Control, EBD, Traction Control, ASR and Hill Start Assist which is automatically activated on a complete stop as soon as an incline of at least 3% is detected.

Pricing

The recommended retail price of the new Renault Kadjar Dynamique 4x2 models starts at R394 900 for the 1.5 (81kW) Turbo dCi 6-speed manual, the 1.2 (96kW) Turbo petrol EDC 7-speed Auto is priced at R399 900 and the 1.5 (81kW) Turbo dCi EDC 6-speed Auto at R414 900. Prices for the entire Renault Kadjar line-up include a 5-year/150 000 km mechanical warranty, a 6-year anti-corrosion warranty, a 5-year/90 000 km service plan and service intervals are at 15 000 km. (Priced @ July 2016)

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