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Renault Koleos, Captur, Arkana 2021 will hold the fort in Australia until new EV tech arrives

John Law

In Australia, Renault’s strongest selling vehicle in 2020 was the Koleos medium SUV which totalled 2,408 sales, though changes are afoot at Renault.

Currently, Renault only sells one passenger car in Australia – the 221kW Megane R.S. hot hatch – while three SUVs will make up the portfolio in 2021; the medium Koleos, all-new Arkana and Captur.

When Renault CEO Luca De Meo outlined the Renault Group’s five-year plandubbed Renaulution – there was a clear focus on electrification.

Renault Megane R.S. 2021
The Megane R.S. is the only passenger car sold by Renault in Australia.

Alongside electrification and hybridisation, Renault is keen to branch out. De Meo spoke of using brand recognition to develop new revenue streams from big data and energy services post-2025.

For now, though, we are interested in the new products coming from the French marque. We expect more EVs, but hybrids and combustion engines will continue to be important in the Australian market.

The forthcoming Nissan Qashqai small SUV will employ a range-extender style drivetrain when it launches, and given the close ties within the alliance, this could appear on future Renault products.

Renault Arkana 2021 Rear
Cars like the Arkana will be the key to Renault’s future in Australia.

In Europe, the Arkana ‘coupe’ SUV is currently offered with a series-parallel hybrid engine combining a 1.6-litre petrol engine with a small battery pack and dual electric motors for 102kW of power. The Arkana won’t come to Australia with this hybrid powertrain, however. 

With hybrid vehicles showing strong potential in our market Chasing Cars reached out to Renault Australia for their take on future powertrains and products.

When quizzed on future hybrids, Renault Australia corporate communications manager Emily Fadeyev said: “We are working with Paris to understand the opportunities that are coming; what the seven new models that (Luca De Meo) talked are about and how they can be best applied to the Australian market.”

Renault Captur 2021 Pair
The Captur will be crucial in Europe where Renault offers a PHEV powertrain.

Despite EV sales increasing by 25 per cent in 2020, Renault’s only passenger EV, the 300km range Zoe electric, was discontinued in Australia with just 77 sales posted over the calendar year.

When asked why this was, Ms Fadeyev said this was down to Australia’s demand for larger vehicles.

“The Zoe has been the top-selling EV in Europe, but it’s a B-Segment car, which isn’t considered a family car in Australia… an SUV would be considered a family car“.

Renault Koleos 2021
It’s the Koleos medium SUV that Australians love the most at the moment, though.

Success for Renault in Australia will come from a medium SUV like the Koleos that packs some form of electrification aside a conventional petrol option, something to take on the uber-popular Toyota Rav4.

Currently, the Koleos medium SUV shares much of its DNA with the popular Nissan X-Trail including its platform and 2.5-litre engine with 126kW of power and 226Nm of torque. 

In North America, the X-Trail – or Rogue – has recently been updated and like the Qashqai, the new medium SUV is expected to utilise similar range-extender EV tech.

Nissan Rogue 2021
The Koleos shares underpinnings with the Nissan X-Trail, which is due to look like this shortly and offer electric propulsion.

Following the launches of the Arkana and Captur this year, it’s likely Renault will reveal plans for their future SUV line-up in Australia.