The all-new Austral SUV is the replacement for the Renault Kadjar, bringing bold new styling, a drastically enhanced kit list and all-electrified powertrains in a bid to "win back" buyers in the crucial crossover segment.
Positioned as a rival to the Ford Kuga and Toyota RAV4, it's the first Renault to use the new third-generation CMF-CD platform, co-developed with Alliance partners Mitsubishi and Nissan, which can accommodate a range of electrified drivetrains.
The Austral will be sold with a choice of two full-hybrid systems, pairing a 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with an electric motor for combined outputs of 157bhp and 196bhp.
Renault claims this set-up can muster as much as 61.4mpg on the WLTP combined test cycle while emitting just 105g/km of CO2.
There's also a mild-hybrid petrol option that Renault posits as a "genuine alternative to diesel", given that it's claimed to be capable of 53mpg. This pairs the same engine with a 48V battery and a belt-integrated starter-generator for an electric boost under load and thus reduced petrol consumption.
Opening the line-up is a pair of 12V mild-hybrid petrols, which use a 1.3-litre four-cylinder engine to produce 138bhp and 157bhp and crack 45.6mpg.
Renault says the new platform makes the Austral "a true joy to drive", hailing its rigidity and "optimised" suspension set-up as factors that give the potential for "true driving pleasure".
The Austral is equipped with torsion-beam rear suspension as standard, but top-rung cars with four-wheel steering get a multi-link set-up at the rear. These cars also get a 13:1 steering ratio (down from 14.7:1 as standard) for more precise handling and a turning circle of just 10.1 metres.