Renault has announced their commitment to the Australian market – in the SUV game at least – confirming the all-new Captur for our shores in early 2021, with the sleek Arkana coupe-crossover to follow.
Likewise, Renault won’t be bringing any more electric Zoes into the country, instead focussing on segments showing more substantial growth – which means more vans and crossovers. The Megane RS will be the sole passenger vehicle.
But looking at Australia sales, it makes sense, Anouk Poelmann managing director of Renault Australia rightly asserted that “the Australian motoring landscape has changed dramatically in the past 12 months”.
Poelmann continued, commenting that the Arkana and Captur demonstrate that “Renault (Australia) is here for the long haul”.
The hope for Renault here in Aus is that the all-new Captur – which shares underpinnings with the new Juke – will be a hit. And the new Captur should be a whole lot better than the car it replaces, which has never been the sophisticated version sold in European markets.
Powering the little SUV is a familiar 1.3-litre three-cylinder petrol engine – the TCe100 – with outputs of 75kW and 160Nm. Power will be sent to the front wheels exclusively through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The new Captur is a familiar face, though this all-new vehicle is a real world car. Renault is touting wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 9.3-inch touchscreen and 10-inch digital cockpit for the range-topping variant.
Renault will reveal detailed specifications closer to the car’s launch here in the first half 2021 when we’ll having pricing information for the three variants; Life, Zen and Intens.
In a slightly strange move, Renault’s new and far more on-trend Arkana will replace the brand’s Kadjar in Australia following that car’s short tenure.
While the Arkana looks like the lovechild of a Megane RS and a Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe, its compact dimensions will put it up against Mazda’s CX-30 and Volkswagen T-Roc. There are rumblings of a hot Arkana RS, too.
Renault say the quirky crossover is a “segment breaker”, and is certainly unique. That might prove a good thing – it’s no secret that the Australia public has a penchant for the more out-there takes on the SUV theme.
Powering the Arkana will be the 150TCe engine, a 1.3-litre four-cylinder that kicks out 110kW and 250Nm. An all-wheel-drive variants mated to a CVT gearbox sounds like the powertrain of choice for Australia, but exact details are still to be confirmed.
It’s also built in Renault’s Moscow plant, alongside the Captur, with the new Arkana arriving in Australia in the second half of 2021.
After an illustrious history of selling small cars, station wagons and some of cracking hot hatches, Renault says they remain committed to Australia, if not in the same capacity as before.
Leveraging some extra help from the Nissan and Mitsubishi alliance should help the brand to cut some hidden overheads, the French brand will continue to push these new SUVs and popular vans for years to come.