Good-looking, spacious and easy to drive, it’s small wonder that Renault’s Kadjar crossover proved an instant hit with families.

More than 450,000 have taken to the roads worldwide since it first appeared in 2015 and its 2019 makeover has raised its game again.

Based on the same platform as the Nissan Qashqai – Renault and Nissan are joint manufacturing partners – the classy Kadjar delivers more space at a slightly lower price, with more distinctive styling.

Priced from just under £21,000, the Kadjar slots into the middle of Renault’s sports utility vehicle range above the Captur and below the larger new Koleos. This year’s updates have boosted its appeal with some gentle exterior styling changes, simplified climate controls and a more sophisticated infotainment system.

All four trim levels are packed with standard equipment including a seven-inch colour touchscreen, automatic climate control and rear parking sensors.

But probably the most important change has been to the engine line-up, with all versions now fitted with exhaust particulate filters to reduce emissions.

The car driven here was powered by the less powerful of a pair of new 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engines. Mated to a sweet six-speed manual transmission, the economical 140 horsepower unit is an absolute gem, delivering plenty of acceleration and quiet, relaxed long-distance cruising.

While some rival SUVs might be sharper and more involving on twisting country roads, for sheer stress-free, comfortable travel, the Kadjar takes some beating.

The engine, first fitted on the Scénic and later used on the Captur and Mégane, also comes with the choice of a seven-speed automatic transmission. Two diesel engines are also available, with the most powerful of the pair, a 150 horsepower 1.7-litre, the only Kadjar offering 4x4 capability.

Though based on the Qashqai, the Kadjar is actually larger inside, with a high-quality cabin offering space for five adults and a large clever loadspace, with movable floor boards giving plenty of flexibility in carrying awkwardly-shaped objects.

At the same time, the front passenger seat folds flat to load objects over 2.5 metres long. The bins in the front doors are now big enough to hold a 1.5-litre bottle of water and rear-seat passengers have two USB sockets to charge phones, tablets or games consoles.

Puddle lamps light up the ground next to the front doors for easier access at night.

The range starts with the Play trim, with standard equipment including 17-inch alloy wheels, a seven-inch infotainment screen with smartphone link, USB sockets and Bluetooth; climate control, cruise control and a collection of driver assistance and safety systems.

Iconic specification adds automatic lights, front parking sensors, 19-inch alloy wheels, two USB sockets for the rear-seat passengers, and an upgrade to Renault’s R-LINK 2 multimedia system, which has TomTom Live traffic information services with Western European mapping.

The Kadjar S Edition, driven here, adds full LED exterior lighting, a fixed panoramic sunroof and a sporty interior upholstered in dark blue with blue top-stitching.

At the top of the range is the GT Line, with yet more technology, including hands-free parking, even more external chrome detailing, and a black leather-trimmed interior, along with heated front seats and a seven-speaker Bose stereo system.

Desirable and practical with low running costs, Renault made it even more attractive by announcing yesterday an increase in the warranty on all its new cars from three to five years.

Auto facts

Model: Renault Kadjar S Edition TCe 140

Price: £24,400 as tested

Insurance group: 19E

Fuel consumption (combined): 44.1mpg

Top speed: 126mph

Length: 448.9cm/176.3in

Width: 183.6cm/73in

Luggage capacity: 472 litres/16.7 cu ft

Fuel tank capacity: 12.1 gallons/55 litres

CO2 emissions: 136g/km

Warranty: Five years/ 100,000 miles