IT CERTAINLY looks like an SUV, but don't be fooled into thinking it is one, because the new Renault Kadjar - the French manufacturer's biggest crossover model - comes in a bewildering array of engine size and gearboxes that you might be unsure whether your one will come with four-wheel-drive or not.

A recent test drive of the Dynamique S Nav dCi 110 version certainly showed little sign on the badging that it was a 4 x 4 and it was not. To get one of those you have to sift through the spec' sheets of the 18-strong range, which has three engines, two gearboxes, four trim levels and the choice of two- or four-wheel-drive, to find those with all-wheel-drive.

Renault says it has made it simple to find the 4 x 4 version by allying the gearbox to one engine only, the 130bhp dCi130 model and in the top three spec' levels. That's simply down to it being the most suitable, ie with high torque levels, to make the best of the 'intelligent all-wheel-drive system, which has a choice of three operating modes - 'Auto' for variable surface work; 'Lock' for trickier stuff; and '2WD' for everyday roadwork.

Firmly in the 'crossover' camp, it's a roomy contender for the market so well carved out by Nissan's Qashqai, with which it shares more than a nodding resemblance - at least under the skin - because of the Nissan/Renault alliance. More than 60% of its bits come out of the same parts bin as the UK-built Qashqai, though the Kadjar is made in Spain.

The difficulty of having what has ostensibly been designed as a 4 x 4, but in two-wheel-drive only, is that owners get a bit gung-ho as they are lulled into believing they actually have the extra security of having all wheels driven. That's quite a dangerous thing, especially in the aftermarket scenario when things might not be made as clear as they are in the dealers - and it's not confined to Renault, there are a whole raft of them out there.

So, having ascertained that my Kadjar was not of the 4 x 4 variety, it was, nevertheless quite a sturdy vehicle with tonnes of room inside, enough for four hearty fellows and associated fishing gear for an outing on the Tay. The coolbox was not needed for the catch!

The 1.5-litre diesel was quite a revelation, too, and surprisingly pert enough for what is quite a large vehicle. I wouldn't be so sure about the 1.2-litre petrol engine model having as much puff as the 1.6-litre diesel, even though they are both rated at 130hp. The bigger diesel's torque range will be much greater and better able to handle the Kadjar, its all-wheel-drive and handling the 1800kg braked trailer towing capacity.

The roomy, if somewhat shallow, rear boot space can squeeze in 472-litres of goods, but that's more than trebled with the rear seats folded down. There's a 60:40 seat fold to help with that too.

What is really noticeable is just how efficient these Renaults are. My reading was regularly well over 60mpg for some of the longer trips, though the official stats say that you should get into the mid-70mpgs with this engine. Even the 4 x 4 with the slightly larger engine is rated at almost 60mpg on the combined cycle.

Inside the cabin, while quite Spartan, the quality of the interior trim is fairly good and there's an extensive array of driving aids, including hands-free parking and a reversing camera.

The range starts in price at a tad under £18k, rising to £26,295 for the 4WD Signature Nav model - with all models getting air-conditioning, cruise control, digital radio and Bluetooth connectivity. The model on test, the Dynamique 1.5 S Nav dCi 110 hits the road at £22,395 - with the S Nav adding an easy to use touchscreen 'infotainment' system.

Those prices are quite a bit less than the Nissan Qashqai, which makes the Kadjar look decent value for money at this time. Just make sure if you want four-wheel-drive that you select the right model!