To be revealed at the Frankfurt motor show, Renault’s says this Eqeus concept represents ‘how it sees the high-end SUV segment.’ However, this is no Land Rover Discovery rival, by the time it reaches production, the Egeus will have morphed into the French manufacturer’s forthcoming entry into the growing medium-sized 4x4 arena, scheduled to tackle the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Landrover Freelander in 2007.
The Egeus is the third instalment in Renault’s current design chapter, which design boss Patrick le Quement announced last spring with the promising Wind two-seater, and developed shortly afterwards with the gorgeous Fluence coupe. The same design language presents itself all over the Egeus, particularly in the split radiator air intakes, LED headlights, sculpted ‘trouser-crease’ shoulder and waistlines, and squared-off rear end.
The Egeus’s uniqueness comes courtesy of ‘suicide’ rear doors and a pillarless construction, which maximizes passenger access to the rear cabin, outward-pivoting front seats for better access to the front, and a split-level tailgate with a lift-up top and motorized lower section, though most of these features are too impractical and expensive to make it through to production.
The Egeus’s mechanicals should provide considerable on- and off-road ability. Renault’s 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel fills its engine compartment, tweaked to produce an impressive 247bhp and 406 lb ft of torque, which finds its way to the road via an electronically-controlled four-wheel-drive system, a seven-speed automatic paddleshift gearbox, and specially developed Michelin Eden Weiss tyres designed with a compact, closed tread pattern that minimises tyre deformation, and consequently keeps friction, fuel consumption and road noise down.
The basis of the production version of the Egeus is likely to be the Alliance C platform, which Renault shares with Nissan. This also underpins the current Megane - which will also provide the engine range - and Nissan’s forthcoming Qashqai 4x4, a vehicle with which the new Renault is likely to share a significant quantity of its components.