Renault’s new star is on the way

Renault is attacking the leadership of the C segment, and its latest SUV, the Austral, launched in Portugal, proves it. With a powerful design and no Diesel on the horizon, the focus is on hybrid engines and high technology, especially safety.

As the second car in the so-called “Renaultion” (the first was the Megane E-Tech Electric), it could be the French marque’s attempt to reach the fame and sales levels it enjoyed in the not-too-distant past. Seen in Australia. This means a warranty of seven years or 150,000 kilometers for new cars sold to private individuals.

The Austral is a mature product – more than two million kilometers have been driven by 100 cars in tests on the track and on the open road, 170 prototypes are still in use – quality materials and assembly, a livable interior full of storage spaces. and details that make life easier for families, such as the rear seat with a length of 16 centimeters (standard from the Techno version) or the small mirror integrated in the sunglass holder next to the interior mirror that allows you to see the children in the cabin. back seat. Suppressed by some aerodynamic noise, it allows you to take excellent shots safely and easily.

The equipment supply is also better than the Equilibre from the entry-level version, available from 34,200 euros, which already includes LED headlights, the openRlink system (without navigation, with a 9-inch central screen and a 12-inch instrument panel). inches, Android Auto and Apple Car Play, and dual-zone automatic air conditioning.

At the top is the E-Tech Full Hybrid Esprit Alpine (higher equipment level, replacing the Initialie), which starts at €46,850 and has, for example, intelligent adaptive cruise control with an assist system to keep the car centered. lane departure, silent parking or rear obstacle warning with active emergency braking when reversing. This version also has several Alpine details, such as a leather steering wheel, headliners with an Alpine pattern, aluminum pedals or 20-inch wheels.


The big news in terms of engines is the so-called E-Tech Hybrid, which uses a three-cylinder, 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 96kW and 205Nm of torque mated to an electric motor (50kW and 205Nm). For 200 hp, 410 Nm of torque and consumption, which we proved to be low during a journey of about 280 kilometers between Oeiras and Albufeira, between alternative highway, national and mountain roads, the final consumption was 6.6 liters each. 100 km.

Avoiding the test in the city circuit, we keep the value given by the brand, which indicates 4.6 l / 100 km in the mixed cycle.

A multi-link rear axle and four-wheel steering system, 4Control Advance, give Austral serious handling in an SUV of this size (4.51 meters long, 1.62 meters high, 1.83 meters wide and 2.67 meters wheelbase). and ensures that it has undoubted flexibility. ).

Thanks to the steering gear on the rear axle, the maximum steering angle of the rear wheels, which turn in the opposite direction to the front wheels, is 5°, and according to Renault, the turning diameter between the curbs is only 10.1 meters.

When cornering (at 50 km/h and depending on the selected MULTI-SENSE settings), the rear wheels can also turn in the same direction as the front wheels.

Other versions are the Mild Hybrid, which uses a 1.3-liter turbocharged and direct-injection 4-cylinder gasoline engine, already used by Renault in other models, which the brand emphasizes is “developed in collaboration with Daimler.” It’s assisted by a starter/generator and a 12V lithium-ion battery, delivering 140 and 160 horsepower and served by a CVT (continuously variable) gearbox.


We tested a less powerful version of the Austral for a few days, and if we were satisfied with its behavior (equipped with a flexible torsion axle) and comfort, we expected better consumption, especially in the average city where we work. 9l/100km. Already on the road, we get 7.5 l/km in Comfort mode (still Eco, Sport and Personalized).

We also don’t like the suddenness of the Start & Stop function, which causes the car to jerk forward. It is better to pay some attention to the distance to the car in front.

The interior is at a good level, with well-made and quality materials, ergonomics and openRlink system, two monitors in the inverted L, good visibility and the main, central console, very responsive and intuitive, perhaps Google’s navigation and navigation in everything we use on our smartphones with the Android system using their services. That is, adaptation occurs almost immediately.

OpenR Link is cloud-connected and can evolve over time as automatic updates are delivered via Firmware Over-The-Air (FOTA) technology. No user action is required to get the latest maps and points of interest for Google apps, and all you have to do is accept an on-screen message for central system updates.

Safety has also not been overlooked, and the Austral is equipped with 32 (!) Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS), divided into driving, parking and safety categories.

We highlight Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), which combines the speed sign recognition of the front camera with information from the navigation system to choose the safest speed limit, or Active Driver Assist, which uses geolocation data and a special map that combines roundabouts and tight curves. , the ability to automatically slow down the car when approaching a roundabout and then accelerate it again to the maximum speed in circulation.

But when the sensors detect an active obstacle (pedestrian, cyclist, pole…) between 3 and 10 km/h and warn the traffic behind, Austral also automatically brakes in the opposite direction. It detects vehicles moving faster than 4 km/h when reversing in a parking lot where the driver has limited visibility (perpendicular or diagonal parking).

In addition, Renault’s new SUV has 100% LED front and rear lights as standard in the Pure LED Vision, Adaptive LED Vision and Matrix LED Vision systems with dynamic turn signals.

The Austral will be available in seven body colors: Glacier White (white), Pearl White (pearl white), Flame Red (red), Iron Blue (blue), Diamond Black (black) and Shale gray” (grey). The Esprit Alp version also has an exclusive “Satin Shale Grey” color.

High-end models have a two-tone finish (also available as an option on the Techno trim level) that uses Diamond Black for the roof, as well as a shark fin antenna, exterior mirrors, and air vents. intakes on the front bumper and door sills.

Rims can range from 17 to 20 inches, and most are diamond.

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