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The petrol-powered Renault Kadjar 1.2 offers greater refinement, and feels like a more cohesive unit altogether.

28 Aug 2017

I must be honest. When I drove the diesel-powered Renault Kadjar more than a year ago, I came away somewhat conflicted and underwhelmed. On one hand, the car looked good, was relatively well-equipped, and was spacious and practical. However, the sluggish and uninspired drivetrain left much to be desired.

And yet, the Kadjar has become Renault's best-selling model in the past year or so. It's clear that buyers looked past the humdrum diesel engine and saw an affordable, stylish and practical compact Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV). So while I may have been underwhelmed, buyers clearly were not. 

There's no doubt that the Kadjar is a stylish looking car

Better refinement

Now, Renault is offering the Kadjar with a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine. Let's get straight to the point - this engine is much better. It produces 130bhp and 205Nm of torque (20bhp more but 45Nm of torque less than the 1.5-litre diesel powerplant).

It's not fast, but you never really expect it to be. However, where it represents a significant improvement over the diesel is in the refinement of power delivery. It feels perkier and more usable. Where the diesel engine felt sluggish, this 1.2-litre unit is more willing to rev. It's also quieter compared to the diesel.

The 1.2-litre turbocharged powerplant has 130bhp and 205Nm of torque on tap

The engine is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch gear box - not the fastest, but useable nonetheless. And the extra gear definitely helps when cruising on the highway, allowing the engine to work at lower revs.

The petrol variant is also 48kg lighter, and you do feel it. On the go, it feels lighter on its feet, and is a whole second quicker to 100km/h than the diesel (on paper).

Sexy looks

This particular one is the base-spec model, but you can opt for the BOSE Edition version, which is all sold out at the moment. Beyond that, the rest of the car is pretty much unchanged compared to the diesel-powered variant that we drove.

The relatively spacious cabin will fit three adults with ease

That means that the interior is spacious and comfortable enough for five adults. The 472-litre boot also translates to the fact that all your shopping and hauling needs will be covered. And of course, all that is wrapped in a curvaceous and stylish skin that has become a notable characteristic for the new range of Renault models.

Sweeter choice

Has this Kadjar 1.2 changed my mind about the car? To a large extent, yes. With this petrol engine, the Kadjar feels like a much more cohesive car, and offers a sweeter drive. The more refined drivetrain, coupled with a stylish exterior and spacious interior, makes it a sensible and practical SUV that will leave you with few complains.

The petrol-powered Kadjar is definitely a sweeter choice

Both petrol and diesel variants are selling at the same price ($122,999 as of 14th August 2017), so there's really not that much to separate the two. The diesel will no doubt be slightly cheaper to run over the long term, but my complains about the uninspired drivetrain won't go away. Now, there's a sweeter choice in the form of the petrol engine. I'd have this one, thank you very much.
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Car Information

This model is no longer being sold by local distributors


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Engine Type


4-cylinder in-line 16-valve Turbocharged

Engine Cap





97kW (130 bhp) / 5550 rpm



205 Nm / 2000 rpm



7-speed (A) EDC

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)



Top Speed



Fuel consumption


17.2 km/L

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