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