Renault continues its offensive in the compact segment with the presentation of the Austral, a new SUV manufactured in Spain that takes over from the Kadjar. These are your weapons.
It’s here. After the trickle of information in recent weeks, Renault puts an end to the wait and unveils its new weapon for the compact C-segment. After the Arkana and the Mégane E-Tech Electric, Renault continues its offensive in one of the most important categories in terms of sales and presents us with the Austral, a new SUV that replaces the Kadjar and with a Spanish flavor, since it will be manufactured at the plant in the diamond mark in Palencia.
It is not going to be easy for the new Renault Austral in this C segment with rivals such as Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, Peugeot 3008, Ford Kuga, Volkswagen Tiguan, or Nissan Qashqai, among others. And precisely with the latter, the Qashqai, it shares the latest CMF-CD platform of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. The Austral measures 4.51 meters long, 1.62 meters high, and 1.83 meters wide, with a wheelbase of 2.67 meters. That is, very close to the Arkana (4.57 m), and 8 centimeters larger than the Nissan Qashqai (4.43 m).
Renault Austral an Suv With a Lot of Personalities
The new Renault Austral shares many styling cues with the Mégane E-Tech Electric, based on Renault’s new “sensual tech” language. Dynamic and very attractive, in its exterior design we find details typical of current SUVs such as large wheels (up to 20 inches), marked wheel arches. Front and rear protectors, a marked ground clearance (170 mm), and a high body waist.
At the front of the new Austral, we find a wide radiator grille, with an Ice Black finish, crossed at the top by a horizontal chrome line that extends to the headlights. In the center, is the new Renault logo. At the bottom, on the higher versions, a sporty color-matched louvre and aerodynamic side air vents complete the front view.
In profile, Renault has given the Austral a marked crease, leaning forward, which makes the silhouette of the SUV even more dynamic. Meanwhile, in the rear, it displays the name of the vehicle in chrome letters.
The front and rear lighting are 100% led. At the front, it integrates the C-shaped light signature characteristic of Renault models. The compact headlamps integrate up to 7 high-tech beam modules capable of adapting the distribution of light. This multifunctional lighting is available in three versions: LED Pure Vision, LED Adaptive Vision, and LED Matrix Vision with dynamic indicators. The rear lights are also C-shaped and join the Renault logo to create a light signature that runs along both sides of the boot, thus underlining the car’s proportions. Likewise, the new Austral automatically detects who is carrying the access and ignition card and, when approaching the vehicle, activates a light sequence.
Renault Austral Interior
Once inside, the most striking element is without a doubt the OpenR screen, released in the Mégane E-Tech Electric. It combines the 12.3-inch digital screen on the instrument panel and the 12-inch multimedia screen on the center console in the higher versions, forming an inverted “L”. The driver can view four different views on the instrument panel, depending on their priority: Classic (counters), Navigation (mapping), Zen (minimalist), and Realistic (realistic modeling of the road and traffic around the vehicle). The OpenR multimedia system includes all Google services and applications.
Also striking is the slightly squared steering wheel, which, according to Renault, allows for easy accommodation and a better view of the instrument panel. And a center console, tall and wide, free of any control since the buttons have been moved around the steering wheel and the OpenR screen, as well as the automatic gear lever.
The space freed up in the central console has made it possible to integrate an ergonomic and sliding palm rest with ingenious vertical support for the Smartphone. In addition, it has an induction charger, a space similar to a case, covered with a non-slip coating and sporting a diamond-shaped pattern. The smart induction charger automatically stops recharging to prevent overcharging when the smartphone’s maximum battery level is reached.
There is no lack of large storage spaces, cup holders, and two USB Type-C sockets, as well as a 12V socket. Two additional USB Type-C sockets are available at the rear of the comfort console for rear passengers to recharge their portable devices.
Lots of Space and Comfort
Thanks to the new CMF-CD platform, it has been possible to maximize the habitability of the new Austral. At the front, each occupant has an ergonomic and comfortable position (width at the elbows of 150 cm and width at the hips of 137 cm). Increased habitability and comfort due to the elevated driving position and the absence of controls normally integrated into the center console.
The rear passengers also enjoy a lot of space, comfort, and ergonomics, with habitability, according to Renault, among the best in the category. They speak of a ceiling height of more than 90 cm. Access has also been optimized with front and rear door widths among the best in their class (67.6 cm front and 57.7 cm rear). In addition, a panoramic glass roof available as an option from the Techno version increases the feeling of spaciousness.
According to versions, the new Renault Austral proposes a folding rear bench seat in two parts, 2/3-1/3. Each part can slide 16 cm independently. The backrests of the rear bench seat are lowered thanks to levers located on each side of the trunk. With the fixed rear bench seat, in the Mild Hybrid versions, the boot offers a volume of 500 liters (430 in the E-TECH Hybrid version). With the sliding seat, it reaches up to 575 liters (555 in the E-TECH Hybrid version). When folding down the bench seat, the available volume reaches 1,525 liters. Incidentally, the new Austral is equipped with a motorized tailgate available as an option on the Techno version and as standard on the Iconic version.
New E-tech Hybrid Engine With 160 and 200 Hp
The new Renault Austral will only be available with gasoline engines, all of them with some hybridization system, either light or non-plug-in conventional. The latter is precisely a novelty at Renault. This hybrid E-TECH technology connects a heat engine, two electric motors (an “electric” traction motor and an HSG-type high-voltage generator, High-Voltage Starter Generator), which guarantees the start of the heat engine, gear changes speed and battery recharging, a central battery, and an automatic intelligent gearbox.
The Austral E-TECH Hybrid has a new 1.2-liter, 3-cylinder, turbocharged gasoline engine with 96 kW and a torque of 205 Nm. It is associated with a more powerful electric motor with higher torque (50 kW and 205 Nm), a lithium-ion battery with greater capacity (1.7 kWh / 400 V), and a gearbox that goes from 6 to 7 gears. It will have two possible power levels, 160 or 200 CV and, according to Renault, in the city it is possible to circulate in fully electric mode up to 80% of the time, saving up to 40% of consumption concerning a thermal engine in the urban cycle in the same conditions.
With the new E-TECH Hybrid engine, the new Austral registers optimal consumption and CO2 emissions (from 4.6 l/100 km and 105 g/km of CO2). In addition, these versions will sport an E-TECH Hybrid badge on the trunk and the vehicle name appears with a gold “E”.
Another novelty in the mechanical range of the Austral is the new 130 hp MildHybrid Advanced engine. It combines the new 3-cylinder 1.2-liter turbocharged petrol engine with a 48V lithium-ion battery and a starter-alternator. The latter assists the heat engine in the phases of greatest energy consumption, when starting or accelerating, to generate more power when driving again while controlling consumption.
The first level of hybridization is offered with the MildHybrid engine already known in the French manufacturer’s range. It is based on a 1.3-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine with a direct-injection turbocharged, assisted by an alternator-starter and a 12 V lithium-ion battery. It is available with an X-TRONIC automatic gearbox with two power levels, 140 hp, and 160 hp, and 6-speed manual transmission in the 140 hp version.
These three electrified motorizations include regenerative braking. On the E-TECH Hybrid engine, this braking is activated on-demand with four levels of regeneration that can be selected using the controls located behind the steering wheel.
The new Renault Austral has up to 32 driving aids, and the MULTI-SENSE and 4CONTROL Advanced technologies. With the first, the driver can choose between four driving modes, three programmed: Eco, Comfort, and Sport; and a fourth, Perso, which allows you to freely choose the customization of the settings. For its part, the third generation of Renault’s four-wheel-drive system, 4CONTROL Advanced, connects a multi-link rear axle with all four wheels to achieve a unique balance between road handling, comfort, and stability in all circumstances.
Esprit Alpine, New High-end Version
The unprecedented Esprit Alpine version comes to the Austral range with all the sporty DNA of the Renault Alpine brand. This exclusive variant sports a new satin gray body color, developed especially for this version, black roof, 20-inch Daytona aluminum wheels, two “Esprit Alpine” side badges, and the vehicle name in black letters.
Inside, this new Austral Esprit Alpine offers Alcantara upholstery, the Alpine logo on the headrests, Nappa leather steering wheel with tricolor stitching, seat belts enhanced with blue piping, aluminum pedals, and door sills marked “Alpine”.
Orders for the new Renault Austral will open in mid-2022, although the first units will not arrive until the fall.