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Renault Austral: to enter the SUV dance


I’Alliance Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi takes colors and, if one wanted to have the proof of it, the bottom of the new Renault Austral would bring it. It is indeed the first model of the diamond to use the versatile CMF-CD platform designed for the needs of the three partners. It’s up to everyone to design their own model or models, Renault starting a series that promises to be long with this Austral with the characteristics of a pure SUV.

There was urgency since the Kadjar that it replaces barely managed to make a quarter of the sales of the Peugeot 3008 in France. SUV-coupé which was liked from the start. The Austral will also have to seduce a lot to rise to the height of the reference and the first photos already suggest a clear resurgence in standing.

The car retains its headlights and hooked lights, dear to the Renault style, but seems, halfway between Captur and Megane E-Tech, to finally reach a higher status. The sides are sculpted and the silhouette, enhanced by large wheels (17 to 20 inches), is 4.51 m long and 1.62 m high.

The very long wheelbase delivers reduced overhangs, but also a technical layout that dictates…. the interior layout. Either the engine is mild hybridization (new 3 cyl. 1.2 turbo, 130 hp, 48 V micro-hybrid) and there is a 16 cm long sliding rear seat option, or it is a real hybrid (engine same as + 68 hp electric motor) and, in this case, the bench seat is fixed. Curiously, Renault also retains the 4-cylinder 1.3 turbo in 140 or 160 hp, but with a more modest 12 V micro-hybridization. On the other hand, the diesel is passed to the hatch, according to a very questionable doctrine.

Take the right direction

The advantage of the high-end non-rechargeable hybrid is that, in total, it provides 200 hp and retains a larger capacity 1.7 kWh battery (400 V instead of 240). It is associated with the famous automatic dog gearbox which has a seventh gear and allows to target 4.6 l/100 km and 105 g in CO emissions.2. A more powerful version of the new 3-cylinder will later offer 200 hp on its own, but it does not prejudge what will be the future Alpine whose reference appears on the Austral for a “Alpine Spirit” finish (our photos) gray metal black roof.

To serve this still light cavalry, the Austral is equipped with a top-of-the-range artifice, a rear axle turning at 5° which will certainly provide it with great ease on the road. This “4CONTROL” with its multi-link axle (torsion at the base) seen on the Laguna GT and of which it is the 3rd generation has left only excellent memories and risks overshadowing the competition.

As if it needed it, the Austral is equipped with more than 32 driver assistance systems. Renault also promises a real leap forward in the passenger compartment, the benefits of which have been raised, Peugeot having set the bar very high. The dashboard is organized, for example, around a 12-inch vertical multimedia screen, the instrument console without visor to enlarge the feeling of space reaching 12.3 inches.

A head-up display by reflection in the windshield is added, if needed. Google has developed with Renault the OpenR Link system which will allow you to never cut yourself off from your favorite applications and even enrich life on board the Austral. It will be marketed in the fourth quarter at an unspecified price, but which should, strategy requires, align with that of the 3008.