Renault shows more of Austral SUV
French car maker Renault will be commencing pre-production testing of its new Austral sport-utility vehicle. Images of the camouflaged model were released this week.
Aesthetic flavours from siblings such as the Captur are evident in the shape of the vehicle. Also notable is the new 2D Renault logo. The Austral is designed as a replacement for the Kadjar, a nameplate that made a brief appearance on the SA market, before it was axed due to slow sales.
The Austral uses the CMF-CD3 platform, an architecture the Renault-Nissan alliance uses for its medium-sized, C-segment and larger D-segment families of products. This includes the Mégane, Koleos, Nissan Qashqai, as well as the Scénic and Talisman, not sold here.
With the Austral, Renault is about to undertake a round of tests it describes as “confirmation runs”, in which a fleet of about 100 vehicles have set off to travel 2-million kilometres.
The vehicle will cross France, Spain, Germany and Romania, to confirm the results of previous checks. Nine hundred drivers will cover 600,000km of open roads in real-life conditions, while the remaining 1,400,000km will take place on the track.
The tests will enable the teams to approve the adjustments made to the platform and driver assistance systems, as well as the soundproofing and comfort of the suspension system. There are also checks that are being carried out on the power trains.
The model will have a petrol hybrid-only line-up, made up of new engine options including: a latest-generation E-Tech hybrid, a 1.3-litre turbocharged unit with a 12V mild hybrid solution and, for the first time in the Renault range, a 1.2-litre turbocharged unit with 48V mild hybrid technology.
This range of engines promises to offer “record-breaking performance” with reduced CO2 emissions.
There is no word yet on whether the Austral will be released locally. This year, Renault said local customers can expect the new Clio and Captur — models whose launches had been delayed due to pandemic-related setbacks.