Update: ‘On the future Renault Austral derivatives’ section updated with renders.
The Renault Austral was revealed in France on March 8, 2022. Renault says that C-segment cars account for more than 40% of sales in the country, and the Austral will help Renault regain a top position in the segment.
On the future Renault Austral derivatives
Before Renault’s announcement, French magazine L’Automobile had suggested that the Renault Austral (known previously as the 2022 Renault Kadjar) will have two derivatives, a seven-seat version and a coupe version. Although at the unveiling of the Austral SUV on March 8, 2022, Renault did not make any official announcement regarding the 7-seater and coupe versions.
Renault Group CEO Luca de Meo recently confirmed that the Austral wouldn’t be a single SUV but a family of three models. At the company’s 2021 Financial Results conference held on February 18, 2022, he said:
There will be not one but three cars on the same platform (of the Austral).Luca de Meo, CEO, Renault Group (2021 Financial Results conference on 18 February 2022)
Arkana’s sibling or replacement?
It is unclear how Renault would position the Austral coupe version in the line-up with relation to the Arkana. Still, it’s possible that the sloped-roof SUV would slot in a sub-segment, similar to how Mercedes-Benz positions its GLC and GLE coupes, giving buyers sporty SUV options.
The 7-seat version would arrive first, and then the 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. While the latter will be turned into a pure-electric SUV, the three-row iteration of the Austral could be the spiritual successor of the Espace.
Grand Austral plans
A recent report from Largus.fr, dated January 20, 2022, suggests that the 7-seater model could be named the Grand Austral, continuing Renault’s terminology used with the Grand Scenic and the Grand Espace. The report states that the 7-seater will be 4.7 meters long, which would make it lock horns with the Skoda Kodiaq, Peugeot 5008, Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, and the Seat Tarraco.
Interestingly, just a week later, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance announced a new three-row SUV in the C or D segment is in the pipeline. In all likeliness, this would be the rumored Grand Austral.
This platform (CMF-C/D) is commonly used by the three companies. For Nissan – Qashqai, Rogue, and X-Trail, as well as all-new Mitsubishi Outlander, which have been already launched; further, the Renault Austral that was unveiled some weeks ago; and there will be later a seven-seater SUV on the same platform.Takao Kato, President & CEO, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (Alliance digital conference on 27 January 2022)
Spy shots of the upcoming Renault Austral 7-seater/long-body that emerged on Cochespias give away interesting design details on the derivative. The SUV appears unmistakably large, with a muscular shoulder line that merges neatly with the rear section. There’s a larger glass area for the third row which should amplify comfort for the rear passengers. Other interesting details include black alloys, a shark-fin antenna, and a subtle roof-integrated spoiler. The lengthened rear section and overhang identify the 7-seater.
Renault Austral Design
The Renault Austral features the brand’s ‘sensual tech’ design language. The headlamp cluster is inspired by the Renault Megane E-Tech, and it features matrix LED headlamps that reduce glare on oncoming traffic. Renault’s signature C-shaped LED DRL and a large grille area with matt black surround. The new front bumper sports vertical air inlets. There are tiny rectangular inserts in the grille and on the lower air intake that make the Austral look sporty.
The bonnet is scooped in two places and features two bold character lines. There are two prominent lines above the front and the rear fenders, making the Austral’s body appear quite intricately designed. Various wheel sizes are on offer, ranging between 17- and 20- inch diamond cut alloys. There’s a new Esprit Alpine trim featuring 20-inch diamond-cut black Daytona rims with Alpine branding, Satin Black roof rails, and an exclusive Shale Gray body color.
At the rear, the Renault Austral features new taillamps and a new tailgate. The C-shaped LED taillamps are broad and extend till the central logo. There’s a shark fin antenna, a roof-integrated spoiler drapes downwards, and a blacked-out rear bumper with a gray skid plate. Expect the upcoming coupe to have a sharply raked roofline, while the 7-seater Grand Austral may be an evidently stretched-out version of the Austral.
Interior & Features
The Austral’s interior is more digital than the Kadjar, drawing inspiration from the Renault Trezor, Renault Symbioz, and Renault Morphoz concepts.
The L-shaped’ Open R’ screens take center stage in the Austral’s cabin. There’s a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 12-inch vertical multimedia screen. Additionally, there’s a 9.3-inch heads-up display as well. Renault says the total screen area is equivalent to three Apple iPads. The screens use anti-reflective glass and have self-adjusting brightness levels. The Austral’s steering also looks neat—it has a flat bottom and a top, capacitive touch buttons, and a rotary dial to select drive modes. Expect the same design to be carried forward into the seven-seat and coupe versions with minor visual and upholstery changes.
Google Automotive Services
Google Automotive Services (GAS) is available in the Austral, making infotainment system usage easy and quick, similar to a smartphone. Renault says that 90% of the features most people need daily are one or two taps away. An ‘OpenR Link’ interface offers Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Google Search, and Google Maps. GAS typically includes Google Playstore and Google Assistant, too, but there’s no mention of these services from Renault yet.
There are a few physical buttons in the cabin, including those for climate control mounted at the bottom of the central touchscreen. The center console appears generous and has a wireless smartphone charging deck and ample storage spaces. Moreover, Renault has used the Japanese ‘maki-e’ cabinet-making technique, treating real wood by highlighting the natural grain. Designers used a cloth to apply many layers of metallic pigments to make the wood look more premium.
That said, the upper areas of the door panels are padded using foam. Renault says its designers have paid great attention to detail — the handrest on the center console is finished in satin chrome, and it provides a mechanical clicking sound as the dial on a safe while sliding forwards or backward. Depending on the variant and the optional extras, Renault is offering natural timber, leather, Alcantara, padded textiles, and other soft-touch materials on the inside.
The Esprit Alpine trim boasts blue stitching and piping, Alcantara upholstery, steering wheel wrapped in Nappa leather, aluminum pedals, and door sills with the ‘Alpine’ logo. Moreover, the Austral also offers a premium Harman Kardon sound system. The electric tailgate can be opened simply by waving the foot underneath the bumper. Expect these features to be downloaded by the coupe and seven-seat derivatives.
32 ADAS features
The Austral comes with the most comprehensive list of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) on a Renault. There’s a Level 2 autonomous driving system with active driver assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, lane centering, auto park assist, blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and many more. The safety should improve further on the two incoming iterations of the Austral.
The Renault Austral shares its CMF-CD platform with the Mitsubishi Outlander and the Nissan Qashqai. That said, there’s a range of powertrain options for Austral customers. The SUV measures 4510 mm long (177.5 inches), 2083 mm wide (82 inches, with mirrors), 1644 mm tall (64.7 inches), and has a wheelbase of 2667 mm (105 inches). The Austral’s troika of petrol-hybrid powertrains includes one full-hybrid engine and two mild-hybrid options paired with turbocharged petrol engines.
For starters, there’s a brand new E-Tech full-hybrid engine. It comes with a 1.2-liter, 3-cylinder turbo-petrol engine that’s paired with an electric motor that derives power from a tiny 400V 1.7 kWh lithium-ion battery. The combined output is 146 kW (200 hp). Renault says the car will always start in electric mode and has a fuel efficiency of 4.6 L/100 km (21.7 kmpl). The full hybrid can deliver a pure electric range of 3.1 miles (5 km).
We do 105 grams (per km) with the 200 horsepower E-Tech engine on a C-SUV. With that car, it tells you the quality of the concept.Luca de Meo, CEO, Renault Group (2021 Financial Results conference on 18 February 2022)
There are two mild hybrid engine options, a 1.3-liter, 4-cylinder, TCe unit with 12V mild hybrid solution and a 1.2-liter, 3-cylinder unit with a 48V mild-hybrid technology. Renault claims that this range of engines offers a “record-breaking performance” with reduced CO2 emissions (from 105 g/km for E-Tech engine as per WLTP cycle – to be approved). The 1.2-liter engine makes 130 hp, while the 1.3-liter unit develops 140 hp on the manual variant and 160 hp with the X-Tronic automatic gearbox.
Renault Austral PHEV incoming
French magazine Largus hinted that Renault is working on a plug-in hybrid powertrain using the 1.2-liter 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, with the E-Tech Plug-in, in 2024, as per largus.fr.
The Austral is offered with the third generation of Renault’s four-wheel steering. At speeds below 50 kmph, the rear wheels turn opposite. They turn in the same direction as the front wheels at higher speeds. The system, named 4Control Advanced, brings improved agility to the Austral. Thanks to all-wheel steering, the Renault Austral’s turning radius is only 10.1 meters, as tight as a regular city car.
Renault reaffirms C-segment focus
Renault ended 2021 on a high note, with its C-segment SUVs contributing steadily to its sales. There were 60,000 orders of the Renault Arkana in Europe and 42,000 sales registered since the launch of the vehicle in June 2021. Furthermore, 2022 appears more promising with the arrival of the Austral.
Renault benefits from strong successes in 2021 to confirm its positive path to win back its position in the C-segment, through the upcoming launches of the All-New Megane E-Tech Electric and All-New Austral.Fabrice Cambolive, Senior VP of Renault Sales and Operations
The digital world premiere of the Renault Austral occurred on March 8, 2022. With everything that the Austral brings to the table, Renault will begin a new inning in the SUV space and C-segment of Europe in 2022. Sales start Q4, 2022 onwards.
Renault Austral FAQs
What is the Renault Austral release date?
The Renault Austral goes on sale in Q4, 2022. It is to be followed by Coupe and 7-seat variants.
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