Palencia, Spain - Other carmakers call it a ‘refresh’ or a ‘facelift’; Renault calls its revised-for-2019 Kadjar Phase 2. And rightly so; it’s been restyled and updated inside and out, and gets a new turbopetrol four that should give it useful extra legs at Gauteng altitude.
Visually, there’s a wider grille with new chrome inserts, and Renault’s signature C-shaped headlight clusters with built-in LED indicators and daytime running lights, and a deeper bumper incorporating slimmer LED fog-lights, matched by new LED tail, reversing and rear fog-lights, and she rolls on two new designs of 17 and 19 inch wheels.
The first thing you notice about the new flight deck is the flush-fitting 18cm multimedia touchscreen for the R-Link 2 system, and subtle satin chrome trim elements throughout - but there’s a lot more to it than that. The revised control panel for the automatic air conditioning displays the temperature and ventilation settings in the centre of three thumbwheels, while the centre console gets bigger cup holders, as well as aircon vents and two USB charging ports for the rear passengers.
New door panels have bins big enough to take a 1.5-litre cooldrink bottle and new, backlit window and mirror controls, while the seats now have double-density foam, firmer side bolsters and a sliding front armrest to suit all body shapes.
New to Kadjar is the 1.3-litre TCe turbopetrol four with particulate filter. Developed in collaboration with Daimler and already current in Scénic, Captur and Mégane, it’s available in either 103kW or 118kW tune, with a choice of manual or dual-clutch auto transmissions.
The previous model’s two-litre diesel engines have been upgraded with a selective catalytic reduction system, which puts emissions with no trade-off in performance; the base dCi 115 now delivers three and a half more kilowatts, up to 85kW, as well as 10Nm more torque, driving the front wheels via a manual ‘box, with a dual-clutch auto to follow.
The range-topping dCi 150 is up 15kW to 110kW, available in either front or all-wheel drive, but only with manual cog-swapping. The all-wheel drive system, borrowed from Nissan’s Qashqai, has three modes: 2WD, driving the front wheels only, AUTO, which automatically splits the power between front a rear axles as required, and LOCK, with a fixed 50:50 split for real bundu-bashing, up to 40km/h.
Also available for front-wheel drive models is Extended Grip traction control, also with three modes for mud, sand and snow.
Unusually, we already know when the new Kadjar will be released in South Africa, but not whether it will come here at all. To explain: Renault SA will bring in either the Kadjar Phase 2 or the new Koleos, but not both, and that decision has yet to be made. Whichever one gets the nod will be landing here during the first quarter of 2019; as soon as we know, so will you.