The Renault Austral made its official online debut exactly three months ago but it now has its first public appearance at the 2022 Sofia Motor Show. The Kadjar successor arrives with a fresh new look, a huge tech boost, and an all-hybrid engine range. The French automaker promises an improved atmosphere in the cabin and a more premium overall feel, but you’ll have to wait at least a few more months to order one as sales don’t begin until the third quarter of the year.
The Austral is Renault’s new addition to the SUV market, which comes only with electrified engines. The base unit is a 1.2-liter three-cylinder mild-hybrid turbo engine, which serves as “a genuine alternative to diesel” with its 130 horsepower and high torque from low rpm. The manufacturer promises a combined fuel consumption of just about 5.3 liters per 100 kilometers with CO2 emissions of 123 grams per kilometer. Renault estimates the engine would’ve been about 20 percent less efficient without the mild-hybrid tech.
There’s also a larger 1.3-liter four-cylinder unit developed in cooperation with Mercedes-Benz but the highlight of the Austral’s engine range has to be the E-Tech Hybrid model. It has a 1.2-liter engine under the hood but electric support boosts the power to either 160 hp or 200 hp. The latter is the most powerful engine option for the Austral, which doesn’t have a diesel unit available. As a reminder, the Kadjar had 1.5- and 1.6-liter dCi ignition compression mills.
While some customers may be missing the diesel engine on the European market, there’s no denying the Austral has all the tech a modern SUV needs. Inside the cabin, there’s a pair of displays, a 12-inch vertical touchscreen for the infotainment system and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, as well as a 9.3-inch head-up display. Depending on the trim level, the French family hauler offers standard or optional LED headlights, a 360-degree camera, Level 2 autonomy tech, four-wheel steering, and others.
As mentioned above, Renault is not ready to kick off the production of the Austral and it doesn’t accept orders for the SUV in Europe just yet. The order books should open later this summer with the first customer deliveries planned for the final quarter of the year. Pricing remains a mystery for now.