Update: ‘Specifications’ and ‘Stringent Tests for the Renault Austral’ sections updated.
Renault has revealed that it’s giving its upcoming compact SUV a new name. The model referred to as the next-gen Kadjar so far will arrive as the Renault Austral. Before Renault’s announcement, French magazine L’Automobile had suggested that the upcoming compact SUV (known then as the 2022 Renault Kadjar) will have two derivatives, a seven-seat version and a coupe version.
On the future Austral derivatives
The French report suggested that Renault plans to replace the Espace and Scenic MPVs with the three-row SUV. How it would position the coupe version in the line-up with the Arkana already present is still a question. The 7-seat version would arrive first, and then the Kadjar Coupe would follow. With customers increasingly preferring SUVs for their robust and aspirational design, and greater rough-road/off-road capability, MPVs are a dying breed. The Espace and Scenic have poor sales because of this reason, and according to a report from Reuters, they would be discontinued.
Back to our story, the Renault Austral is closing in on its unveiling, as Renault has started its marketing campaign with teasers. The Renault Austral’s fascia is reminiscent of the Euro-spec Skoda Kamiq, as it probably features similar split headlamps. However, there’s a good chance it appears so only because of the camouflage’s deliberate cut-outs. The cluster of the headlights appears to have some inspiration from the Renault Megane E-Tech. The new front bumper sports vertical air inlets.
The Renault Austral looks quite different from the Kadjar all around. We can see it featuring a higher hood that is flattish as on a proper SUV and an upright grille, wider, with vertical slats. The headlamps are slimmer and more angular, and they look like they’ve been split into two sections. Both hood and headlamps have hints of the Renault Megane E-Tech. The Kadjar successor will feature the new ‘Nouvel’R’ logo that debuted on the Megane EV.
On the sides, the mirrors are rounder and probably bigger than those of the Kadjar, which debuted as the French brand’s first compact (C-segment) crossover in February 2015. At the rear, the Renault Austral will feature new tail lamps and a new tailgate. The teaser (featured image) suggests that the tail lights will extend inwards all the way to the new diamond logo. The license plate will be on the tailgate instead of the bumper.
As for the interior, expect a touch of luxury with a minimalist design and significantly higher digitalization to appeal to young customers strongly. The Austral will be more digital than the Kadjar, drawing inspiration from the Renault Trezor, Renault Symbioz, and Renault Morphoz concepts.
Spy shots, which you can check on L’Automobile, confirm that the Renault Austral will embody the brand’s new interior design theme, just as speculated. Following the Renault Megane E-Tech, it will be the brand’s second production model to feature a (possibly 12.3-inch) landscape digital instrument cluster and a (likely 12-inch) portrait central console multimedia screen combined in upside-down L-shaped ‘OpenR’ single-screen.
The OpenR panel could house the central air vents, too, adding to the clean look of the dashboard. The base configuration(s) could have a slightly different setup, with a smaller (probably 9-inch), landscape multimedia screen. Another design cue borrowed from the Megane EV would be a compact squarish steering wheel.
Renault announced via a press release on January 5, 2021, that the Austral will have all electrified engine options. The Austral’s troika of petrol-hybrid powertrains include a latest-generation E-Tech hybrid, a 1.3 TCe unit with 12V mild hybrid solution, and a 1.2 unit with a 48V mild-hybrid technology. Renault claims that this range of engines will offer a “record-breaking performance” with reduced CO2 emissions (from 105 g CO2/km for E-Tech engine as per WLTP cycle – to be approved) and a maximum power output of upto 200 hp.
French magazine largus.fr had already detailed the engine lineup the last year. It said that Renault will offer the SUV with a 1.3-litre TCe engine featuring 12V mild-hybrid tech, which will work in conjunction with a CVT. There will be two output versions – 140 PS and 160 PS, and the configuration(s) with the high-output version will be available in AWD.
Largus hinted that the E-Tech system uses a 1.2-litre TCe engine and electric power to offer a combined output of 200 PS. Additionally, Renault is working on a plug-in hybrid powertrain using the 1.2-litre TCe engine and a rear electric motor for an AWD drivetrain layout and 280 PS of system output. The company could introduce the Renault Austral PHEV in 2024, as per largus.fr.
Stringent Tests for the Renault Austral
The Renault Austral is set to commence a rigorous testing phase known as the ‘Confirmation Runs’ wherein a fleet of around 100 prototypes will travel 2 million km (approx 1.24 million miles). The route will pass through France, Spain, Germany and Romania covering 600,000 km (approx 372,000 miles) by 900 drivers. The remaining 1,400,000 km (approx 870,000 miles) will be completed on the test track.
The aim of this test run is to approve the adjustments made to the new CMF-CD3 platform along with driver assistance systems. Also, the journey will test the sound-proofing and suspension system of the Renault hybrid SUV.
Renault Austral FAQs
What is the Renault Austral release date?
The Renault Austral will go on sale in spring 2022 in the European market.
What is the expected Renault Austral price range?
Renault should price the Austral from around EUR 32,000 (France)/GBP 27,000 (UK).
Featured Image Source: Renault