Greetings from Geneva! You’ve already seen many of the cars lined up for their world premiere at the Palexpo, so some might be surprised that the show only opens to the press today (11 am now). Such is the world today, but nothing beats live images, so we’ll try our best to provide that from the greatest car show on the calendar.
We’ll kick off proceedings at the Renault booth, which is decked out in similar fashion to the brand’s Paris 2014 stand – dune style with what looks like floating eggs in the sky. Scattered around the hills and valleys is the main event here – the Renault Kadjar. Renault boss Carlos Ghosn will unveil the C-segment SUV in an hour’s time, but we have for you one of the world’s first full live galleries of the Kadjar here.
The Kadjar is the French sister to Nissan’s latest Qashqai. Built on the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s CMF-CD platform, the curvy SUV measures 4,450 mm long, 1,840 mm wide and 1,600 mm tall. That means it’s significantly bigger than younger sibling Captur (B-segment Clio based), but is shorter than the Nissan X-Trail and Honda CR-V, to give you some perspective. No Koleos name too, so that leaves room for another bigger SUV if Renault is interested.
While the Kadjar, like most crossovers, is expected to spend most of its time in the city, it has decent approach and departure angles of 18 and 25 degrees respectively, with a ground clearance of 190 mm. Good for climbing kerbs then!
Design-wise, the Kadjar is very clearly a Renault, carrying the French firm’s latest family face as seen on the new Espace, which has morphed into a crossover/MPV hybrid. LED lighting is used at both ends, and branded as such on the edges of the lamp housings, too. The rear end closely resembles the Clio’s – a good thing. Open the hatch and there’s a underfloor storage and levers on the sides to fold the rear seats flat.
Both front-wheel-drive and 4WD versions are available. The all-wheel-drive model features three modes – Auto, Lock and 2WD – controlled by a rotary dial behind the gear lever. All the display cars here feature an electronic parking brake, which should be standard across the board judging from the centre console design.
The Kadjar joins a hot SUV market, and Mr Ghosn thinks that the demand for such vehicles will remain strong. “These models offer great versatility, and all our research tells us people really enjoy that. Whether the trend will last 10 or 15 years I can’t say, but for the foreseeable future — which means the next four or five years — we think demand will be strong, not just in Europe but around the world. Cars like these make up one sale in four across the world, and one in three in China,” he told Autocar UK last month.
Renault will be hoping that the Kadjar follows the path of the Captur, which leads the B-segment SUV class in Europe. Built in Spain, the car will go on sale in Europe this summer. More info soon.