New Renault Austral: Kadjar replacement will get hybrid power

Renault’s new family SUV has entered final development before going on sale later in 2022, when it’ll be available exclusively with hybrid power

Renault has provided us with our best look yet at the forthcoming replacement for the Kadjar family SUV ahead of its unveiling later in 2022. Along with images of the new Austral in heavy camouflage, the French brand has also confirmed it'll be available exclusively with petrol hybrid power.

The latest generation of Renault’s E-TECH plug-in powertrains will be offered in the Austral, as well as a 1.3-litre/12-volt and a 1.2-litre/48-volt mild hybrids. A pure-electric version of the Austral is unlikely, as that role is being fulfilled by the new Megane E-TECH, which also arrives in 2022.

Renault has stated the Austral's engine range will have CO2 emissions as low as 105g/km, as well as a maximum power output of 197bhp, but hasn’t provided any more specific figures or fuel-economy estimates for the various options as yet.

The Austral is now in the final stages of development to fine-tune its reliability and engine line-up, with a fleet of 100 prototypes set to cover two million kilometres in testing before the model is launched later this year. This will allow the team of 900 test drivers to approve adjustments to the car’s platform and driver-assistance systems, as well as sound-proofing and ride comfort.

The new hybrid family hauler uses the same mechanical platform as the latest Nissan Qashqai, will be 4.5 metres long and offer a five-seat layout only. The newly released images of the camouflage Austral don’t reveal much about the Ford Kuga rival’s styling, but it appears to have taken some cues from the Megane E-TECH, which we’ve already driven. We’ll have to wait until the Austral's public debut to get a better look.

Inside, a comprehensive update to the Kadjar interior is expected, with extensive use of digital touchscreens running Renault's latest OpenR Link infotainment system likely. The Austral may in fact mirror the Megane E-TECH's cabin, which features a 12.3-inch driver's display and a 12-inch central dashboard screen.

Renault announced the Austral name in early December 2021, describing how it "conjures up the vibrancy and heat of the southern hemisphere and extends an invitation to explore," making it "an ideal fit for an SUV". The car is expected to go on sale in the latter part of 2022, at which point it’ll face competition from the likes of the Ford Kuga, Hyundai Tucson, Nissan Qashqai and Volkswagen Tiguan.

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