Sporty but spacious: Renault's Altica
3 February 2006

Renault is to show this, the Altica concept, at Geneva. A sporty estate designed to offer a dynamic drive and practicality, the Altica features the 175bhp, 280lb ft dCi diesel – due in the Laguna GT 175, due out this month.

Accessed via scissor doors, the Altica’s interior has some common Renault concept car touches, such as a transparent roof and panoramic windscreen, plus mosaic rear three quarter lights that give a stained-glass effect to the rear of the cabin.

The individual seats are fixed, and so it is the ‘drive station’ and pedal assembly that move – not forgetting the arm rest which moves into place automatically as the driver sits down. The central dial has a comfort and a sport setting. In the former, the car’s speed dominates the display, with legal speed limits turning red if breached. In ‘sport’, the perimeter displays revs and the boost pressure of the turbo.

To justify those claims of practicality, the rear seat backs can be folded flat into the floor, which gives the Altica a 1,300-litre boot.

Providing motive power for all this is the new 175bhp diesel. Renault claims this sends the Altica to 62mph in 7.5 seconds. The Renault-Nissan engine is coupled to a six-speed gearbox and emits just 140 g/km, whilst producing that mountain of torque (280lb ft) at just 2,000rpm.

Renault claim low fuel consumption for the engine and say that this is helped by the Altica’s ‘Synthetic Jet’ system, which alternately blows and sucks air through a 2mm slit at the roof’s edge. This reduces drag and controls airflow. Renault has patented it and claims it reduces the car’s Cd at 80mph by 15 per cent.

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