French carmaker Renault has teased us with camouflaged pictures the new Austral SUV as the hybrid SUV takes to the streets for final evaluation
The 2023 Renault Austral small SUV has been teased wearing fetching digital camouflage in an official set of images from the carmaker, the hybrid crossover will take the outgoing Kadjar’s place in Europe riding on a development of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance CMF-CD platform.
In Europe, the Austral will launch in April or May of this year with the option of a series-parallel hybrid powertrain to directly rival the Toyota C-HR, Volkswagen T-Roc, Subaru XV hybrid and forthcoming Nissan Qashqai.
A reveal of the Austral sans-camo is expected next month.
Renault is relying on the midsize Megane E-Tech SUV for pure electric family motoring in Europe, while the smaller Austral will be a more traditional petrol-electric hybrid vehicle in the lineup.
The question of whether the Austral will make its way to Australia has not yet been answered, though with new distributor Ateco reevaluating Renault’s Aussie model line up and given the immense popularity of hybrid powertrains on our shores, the Austral could be a good local fit to run alongside the Arkana coupe-SUV and Koleos midsizer.
However, measuring around 4510mm long, the Austral would sit in the same small SUV class as the 4568mm Arkana, a car that has already taken the spot of the Kadjar in Reanult’s Australian range albeit with more coupe flair than the wagon-bodied Austral.
Initially, Renault says the Austral will be powered by a choice of three hybridised engines. The marque has not claimed exact power outputs for the Austral, but did suggest a maximum of 149kW of power (200 hp).
The E-Tech series-parallel hybrid first debuted in the Arkana coupe SUV in Europe where it makes 108kW of power. This drivetrain will feature in the Austral with claimed CO2 outputs of 108g/km and a Toyota Corolla-rivalling 4.8L/100km fuel consumption figure.
The Arkana hybrid is not yet sold in Australia despite the growing popularity of the fuel-saving tech. Instead, the Arkana is fitted locally with a 1.3-litre turbo petrol four-cylinder engine.
Renault’s series-parallel powertrain comprises a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and 230V 1.2kWh lithium-ion battery to give an EV-only range of around 3km and allow extended stop-start operation in town. In that way, the function is similar to a Toyota hybrid motor.
The other engines that will feature at launch include a 103kW/260Nm 1.3-litre turbo petrol four-cylinder with 12V electrics, and a new 1.2-litre turbo petrol three-cylinder with a 48V MHEV system.
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