New Renault Austral SUV will rival Hyundai Tucson and Nissan Qashqai, and will come with hybrid powertrains.
The new Renault Austral SUV has been teased for the final time before its reveal on 8 March. We’ve already seen a stylised image of what the interior will look like, and now Renault has given a hint to what we can expect from the exterior design.
As expected, the Austral will look similar to the Renault Megane E-Tech Electric SUV. This image suggests it’ll have a chunkier front end, with large air intakes and 4×4-inspired skid plates. The E-shaped headlight clusters have an intricate signature and look to be joined by a trim piece that’s either likely to be chrome or illuminated. We see hints of the Renault Koleos SUV in the front-end design.
Like the new Megane SUV, the Austral’s roofline seems to slope down, giving a sporty look that may come at the expense of rear visibility. Exaggerated wheel arches and deep body creases are also set to feature.
Renault’s new family SUV will rival a multitude of rivals including the Toyota Rav4, Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Kia Sportage and Nissan Qashqai. It will be fully unveiled on 8 March, and we expect Austral prices and specifications to be revealed a little later on.
From the teaser shots, the Austral should have a sleek, spacious and tech-filled cabin, with a much more modern feel than the Renault Kadjar it’s replacing.
While some of the details will be toned down for production, this teaser image shows the basic layout of the Austral’s interior. The steering wheel is neither square nor circular, but will have function buttons to control various systems and features. Behind it is a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. This is joined to a portrait 12-inch touchscreen in an L shape that seems to wrap around the driver. The portrait screen will make the cabin feel different from its rivals’, because most offer two landscape screens side-by-side.
The touchscreen, called OpenR by Renault, first appeared on the new Megane crossover, which will sit below the Austral. The screen includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus Google search and Google Maps.
Thanks to Renault’s alliance with Nissan, the Austral will sit on the same CMF-C platform as the Nissan Qashqai. The new car will be slightly larger than the outgoing Kadjar, putting it in line with similarly sized rivals like the Hyundai Tucson.
On the inside, a 200mm increase in the wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels) relative to the Kadjar will provide more room for passengers in the back. Renault seems to have focused on adding extra space and storage compartments, so the Austral should be a very practical family SUV.
Before the Austral launches later in 2022, Renault has updated the outgoing Kadjar as a ‘last hurrah’ for the popular family SUV.