SUV that’s still hot... even when it’s cold!

Macclesfield Express - - SEARCH -

MAYBE it’s my ad­vanc­ing years, but I have of late de­vel­oped a se­ri­ous aver­sion to be­ing cold.

This is why, when some fool tells me that things were bet­ter in the old days, I al­ways re­ply by re­mind­ing them that you can now pur­chase au­to­mo­biles with heated seats.

And so, when I am asked to test a new car, those that come with heated seats fit­ted are at an im­me­di­ate ad­van­tage over all the oth­ers.

My test car for this week – the Re­nault Kad­jar – came with heated seats. Un­for­tu­nately, Re­nault’s de­sign­ers elected to place the but­ton which ac­ti­vates the heated seats un­der­neath the arm rest at the driver’s el­bow. Where I couldn’t im­me­di­ately see them.

In the re­cent cold snap, then, I spent a cou­ple of days shiv­er­ing and curs­ing through the first few min­utes of ev­ery jour­ney. I even­tu­ally cot­toned on and all was well (and warm).

The point is, though, now that I’m ac­tu­ally get­ting to it, is that I liked the Kad­jar even when I was cold. From me, that amounts to a bona-fide dec­la­ra­tion of love. Signed and sealed.

I am not alone in feel­ing this way – the na­tion’s big­gest car-leas­ing web­site, Con­trac­tHire­and Leas­, named the Kad­jar best in the Small SUV class in its 2015 Car of the Year Awards.

And a pair of pas­sen­gers I trans­ported into Manch­ester city cen­tre in the Kad­jar one day dur­ing the test con­curred, too. They liked it very much, and when asked how they felt as we zoomed along the East Lancs Road they replied, in uni­son: “Safe!”

That might be down to the Kad­jar’s mus­cu­lar good looks. It’s like the Captur (Re­nault’s compact cross­over) has been in the gym to bulk up to full SUV sta­tus.

My test car for the week was the Sig­na­ture Nav dCi 130 ver­sion of the Kad­jar – and de­spite not be­ing a true 4x4 (even though it cer­tainly looks like one), it han­dled our brief flir­ta­tion with win­ter and its snow ad­mirably.

The 1.6i diesel en­gine is re­spon­sive and re­turns an ex­cep­tion­ally healthy 62.8MPG com­bined.

Stan­dard fea­tures of this model in­clude a wide range of safety fea­tures – in­clud­ing ABS with elec­tronic brake dis­tri­bu­tion and emer­gency brake as­sist.

There’s a de­cent level of in­te­rior fea­tures, too, in the ba­sic pack – in­clud­ing air con and tinted win­dows.

With­out any ex­tras you’re look­ing at an en­tirely rea­son­able £24,795 on the road.

My test model – the Sig­na­ture Nav – added dual-zone cli­mate con­trol, a hands-free key­card, park­ing sen­sors, and 7in touch screen sat nav and au­dio sys­tem (with blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity and a belt­ing Bose speaker sys­tem).

Other op­tional ex­tras fit­ted on top of that in­cluded the techno pack (for hands-free park­ing, if your nerves per­mit, and the ad­di­tion of a rear park­ing cam­era, blindspot warn­ing and AEBS – hence its sure-foot­ed­ness when con­di­tions were at their worst) at a cost of £800, and the leather pack (which brings the won­der­ful, elec­tron­i­callyad­justable leather heated seats to the front of the ve­hi­cle), which is worth ev­ery penny of the £1,250 it costs.

The on the road price for the car we tested came to £27,470 with the op­tional Flame Red metal­lic paint (£625), which I think is de­cent value for a very ca­pa­ble fam­ily ve­hi­cle that of­fers both that 4x4-style sense of safety in the cabin, and a touch of ex­trav­a­gant lux­ury.

You might not feel the heated leather seats are as im­por­tant to you as they are to me, and are hence be able to save your­self a few quid.

But as I say, even when you’re cold, there’s an aw­ful lot to like about the Kad­jar. Justin Con­nolly

●● Re­nault’s new small SUV the Kad­jar boasts mus­cu­lar good looks

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