Renault Austral revealed as Kadjar replacement

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A complete revolution for Renault’s C-segment SUV offering sees the new Austral take things more upmarket.

Renault’s ongoing new product push has been bolstered by the arrival of an all-new model with a new name. This is the Renault Austral, and it’s positioned as a brand new entry in the ever-competitive C-segment SUV market. As such, this new crossover replaces the Kadjar in the brand’s line-up, and serves as a higher specification offering than its predecessor thanks to key advances in technology and electrification.

The Renault Austral is destined to rival models like the Peugeot 3008, the Toyota RAV4 and perhaps even encroach on some premium brand entries like BMW’s X3 and the all-new Mazda CX-60 which was also revealed today. Sales of the Austral will begin in late 2022 but Renault has yet to confirm if the new car will be heading to Australia.

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The Austral will be built at Renault’s production facility in Valencia, Spain. It uses the latest iteration of the Group’s CMF-C/D platform, evolved from the one used by the Kadjar. The updated platform has allowed Renault to incorporate profound changes into the new model, in terms of design, interior layout, driver assistance and hybrid drivetrain technology.

Sizing up at 4.51 metres long, 1.83 metres wide and with a height of 1.62 metres, the Austral is similar in size to the car it replaces. It looks almost completely different to the Kadjar, however, and has been designed using Renault’s latest design cues, as seen on the all-electric Megane E-Tech Electric.

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The Austral is the first combustion-engined model to make use of Renault’s new ‘sensual tech’ design ethos, so we can see how some of the electric Megane’s styling details translate on to a car with an engine under the bonnet.

The interior is all new as well, moving on significantly from the Kadjar’s cabin design and tech. It’s based around the ‘Open-R’ cockpit with Android Automotive-powered infotainment displayed on a 12-inch digital instrument cluster and a 12-inch portrait-orientated central touchscreen.

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There’s a new trim level called Esprit Alpine, too, which Renault looks to be lining up as its sportier trim for standard cars. Leveraging the Alpine sports car brand, this new specification brings a racier bodykit to the Austral with exclusive paint colour options and 20-inch wheels. The Esprit Alpine version also injects a bit of luxury with partial Alcantara upholstery and a Nappa leather steering wheel.

Renault will offer the Austral with an engine line-up that is entirely electrified, but without any plug-in options – a conventional hybrid and 12-volt mild hybrid engines make up the range. The E-Tech hybrid version of the Austral will be available in two power outputs, with a 147kW and a 118kW option confirmed. It makes use of a 1.2-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine combined with a 50kW electric motor linked to a small 1.7kWh battery.

Renault Austral interior

Drive is sent to a seven-speed automatic transmission, while the battery is recharged through braking regeneration. Renault claims that around 80 per cent of what it terms ‘city driving’ is done fully electrically.

Alongside the two series-hybrid versions of the Austral are two 12-volt mild hybrid options. These both use a 1.3-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, with power outputs of 103kW and 118kW offered – the latter featuring an automatic gearbox as standard. The 12-volt hybrid tech enables a rapid stop-start system with early engine cut-off, when the car is at slow speeds and coming to a halt.

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Further details such as an Australian arrival are yet to be confirmed.

James Brodie

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