Tuesday, 07 February 2017 15:16

Renault's new turbo-powered crossover goes to Sun City

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The all new Renault Kadjar The all new Renault Kadjar Pictures by Quick Pic

It's that time of the year again, when the 2017 WesBank South African Car of the Year Finalists are put through their paces for the 2017 WesBank South African Car of the Year (COTY). A COTY Jury assesses the finalists independently over two days of stringent evaluations at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit, with routes and modules designed to test the vehicles in a similar way in which the average consumer would use them.

 Cheek2Chic has been fortunate enough to drive no less than four of the finalist vehicle ranges for the competition: the Audi A4, the Honda Civic, the Jaguar F Pace and last but not least Renault's new crossover model, the Kadjar, which combines all of Renault's DNA in an SUV crossover.

When this magnificent vehicle was delivered to my doorstep for a test drive, emblazoned with the words "WesBank Car of the Year Finalist" I decided there is only one place you can take a car that looks like this - Sun City!

The scene of so many exciting events over the years Sun City holds wonderful memories for me, from the Nedbank Golf to the Miss South Africa pageants and just driving the road through Hartebeespoort and the North West Province brought them all flooding back.

The police pulled me over just before Lanseria International, curious about the branding, and seemd to think that there was a "breakfast run" of COTY Finalists behind me. They must have spent the rest of the morning craning their necks for the other finalists, which include the AUDI A4 SEDAN, the HONDA CIVIC, the HYUNDAI TUCSON, the JAGUAR F-PACE (which I drove last year), the MAZDA CX-3, OPEL ASTRA, TOYOTA FORTUNER, VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT and VOLKSWAGEN TIGUAN.

Along the route I got to explore the Renault Kadjar's features. The wheels are so high off the ground that the inundations which pepper the last 90km stretch barely bothered me at all and the spacious generous feeling of the cabin was invigorating. 

I could easily have gone bundu bashing through the Pilanesberg, although I did not want to damage the paintwork!

My 7 speed automatic model had an F1-inspired petrol turbo engine with high-tech extras such as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems like optional Self-Parking with Blind Spot Detection and 360° Park Distance Control with rear camera.

My old friend Laurens van den Acker, Renault’s design chief,  and his team produced the Kadjar in an international creative collaboration, seeking input from a network of design centres worldwide.

Consequently, the Renault Kadjar is the result of the integration of three vehicle categories: capable SUV, dynamic hatch and versatile sportswagon. It was just built for a trip just like this.

The car seems almost enormous with a length, width, wheelbase and ground clearance dimensions that exceed those of its competitors. This combination makes the Renault Kadjar a serious and aggressive contender in the SUV stakes.

 The sound system was, as in all of Renault's offerings, unbeatable (although not as loud as I usually like it!).

 Sadly the gate woukld not allow me to drive the car ostentatiously through the resort, as I was only a day visitor, so it languished in the bottom car park while I enjoyed a day of treats, from a neck massage at the Gary Player Country Club spa to gin and dry lemon as the golfers whizzed past in their golf carts to a final indulgence of high tea at The Palace.

Watch out to see if my Renault, priced from just R359 900, will be crowned the 2017 WesBank South African Car of the Year at a gala banquet on 15 March 2017.





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