Renault Austral enters crossover market with rear-wheel steering

Renault Austral enters crossover market with rear-wheel steering

The global crossover market has reached and crossed its saturation point. If a manufacturer now has to enter this space, they have to bring something special. Replacing the aging Kadjar, Renault Austral brings just that, in the form of rear-wheel steering.

The Austral is longer than the Kadjar it replaces, at 4.51 metres long. This has liberated more space inside the crossover for more cargo. You can get a maximum rear cargo space of 575 litres, depending on the version.

The looks of the Austral are that of a generic crossover with some special touches from Renault. The boomerang-shaped headlamp units gel well with the grill, giving it a signature Renault face. To make matters a bit spicier, the Austral gets an Espirit Alpine version as its range-topper. This model rides on 20-inch black aluminum wheels, blacked-out body elements, and an exclusive Satin Shale Gray colour for the body. The Espirit Alpine trim also gets a blend of Alcantara and leather for the interior, along with blue stitching, aluminum pedals, and Alpine logos.

The Renault Austral does not run short of tech. Screen-wise, the Austral gets a 12-inch vertical touchscreen, 12.3-inch digital drivers display, as well as a 9.3-inch head-up display. Amping up this list are matrix headlamps, 360-degree parking camera, and Level 2 autonomous driving tech.

Power for the Renault Austral comes from a turbocharged 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine with a 48V mild-hybrid tech.  This base engine makes 130 hp and gets mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox. Being a tiny engine, it drinks fuel to the tune as low as 5.3 litres/100 km. Sitting on top of this is a larger 4-cylinder engine co-developed with Mercedes-Benz. This mill has 1.3-litres of displacement and the same mild-hybrid tech. It can be had with either a 6-speed manual or an X-Tronic automatic transmission. The power output is 140 hp with the manual transmission and 160 hp with the automatic.

Topping off the range is an E-Tech hybrid model with a full hybrid system based on the 1.2-litre engine. This combination can be had with either an output of 160 hp or 200 hp. The fuel efficiency figures are even better, sipping just 4.6 litres/100 km.

The lower trims of the Renault Austral get a torsion beam rear suspension. But the higher trims get a multi-link setup. This is not only to improve the comfort but also to facilitate the addition of rear-wheel steering. Renault calls it 4Control Advanced. This may be the one special item the Austral needs to carve its own space in the crowded segment. Do you think so?

What do you think?


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