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2022 Renault Austral

It is a high-tech C-segment hybrid SUV with a lot of potential outside the U.S.

Renault unveils its new hybrid SUV, the Austral, which is based on the new third-generation CMF-CD platform. It portrays Renault’s “Nouvelle Vague” which means “New Wave” in the global C-segment SUV markets. If you are familiar with the Megane E-TECH Electric and the Arkana, you will find the Austral to follow similar paths, which includes Renault’s new design language and feature-proof cabin. We think that this compact hybrid/electric SUV is targeting the new Kia Sportage in a lot of ways, bringing in updated tech and multiple powertrain options to soothe your needs. Let’s dive in for a closer look into Renault’s newest addition to its Global (excluding the U.S.) lineup.

What’s New?

The Austral is an all-new SUV from Renault, which is based on a new third-generation CMF-CD platform. A high-end Alpine-inspired trim, the Austral Esprit Alpine, will also be offered with all the bells and whistles of a flagship car. It will also come with 4CONTROL four-wheel steering for handling superiority. The whole Austral line-up will be offered in various electrification techs, including three new powertrains: a 400-volt E-TECH full-electric powered SUV, a 1.2-liter turbo-petrol inline-three engine with a 48-volt electric motor, and a 1.3-liter turbo-petrol inline-four engine with a 12-volt electric motor. Exterior LED lights are standard, along with new seven body-color options. Renault has implemented a posh-looking cabin with its large OpenR screen and has aided the Austral with a whopping 32 driver assistance features.

How Is the Exterior of the Renault Austral?

2022 Renault Austral Exterior
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Well, by the press photos, we are actually loving the athletic approach of the new Austral SUV. It follows the brand’s “sensual tech” philosophy, and that is implemented well. The headlight design is familiar, but it has diamond-shaped patterns, unlike other Renaults. The grille is wider, bigger, and has a unique diamond-style mesh design along with a huge Renault logo in the middle. The creases and the fake brake-cooling vents do give character to the new Austral. The press photos seem to focus on the Satin Shale Grey, which has a lot of blacked-out exterior trim, such as the lower part of the front grille, roof, and around the C-pillar. We found the rear to be more exciting with the completely new LED taillights that are streamlined to look modern. Renault calls it micro-optic technology, which has been used on the taillights.

2022 Renault Austral Exterior
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The lower bumper design seems to be quite rugged, and while the dimensions are not disclosed, the Austral sits quite high off the ground. This new SUV from Renault is said to come in seven body colors, and the Esprit Alpine will feature the Satin Shale Grey, making it look more athletic, even with the 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.

2022 Renault Austral exterior dimensions
Length: 4,51 m
Width: 1,83 m
Height: 1,62 m
Wheelbase: 2,67 m
Front overhang: 925 mm
Rear overhang: 917 mm
Ground clearance: 170 mm

How Is the Interior of the Renault Austral?

2022 Renault Austral Interior
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The Austral features a cabin that is not only high-tech, but also luxurious in a lot of ways. The first thing to notice is the huge dashboard screen, which Renault is bragging about. The company calls it the OpenR, and it comprises a large 12.3-inch driver information display, a 12.0-inch portrait-style touchscreen display, and a massive 9.3-inch heads-up display. The OpenR screen is placed ergonomically, and Renault’s clever engineering makes it look like it is floating. Both the driver information display, along with the infotainment display, has auto-brightness tech to regulate the overall brightness of the displays according to the driving environment.

Renault has specialized in its abilities to make a cabin stand out when it comes to design and the selection of high-end materials. Depending on what trim or packages you choose, you will get a lot of luxury elements including leather, Alcantara, and wood. As standard, the use of soft-touch materials has been confirmed to give you a more upmarket feel, even if you don’t consider the higher trims. You can even spec it out with the fresh new ambient lighting tech, which Renault calls “LIVING LIGHTS”, allowing you to customize according to your mood.

2022 Renault Austral Interior
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By the look of it, the cabin of the new Austral seems to be quite spacious. Renault did not disclose the interior dimensions but the knee room, which measures 27.6 cm or 10.4-inch.

We cannot confirm how much space the new Austral offers, but according to Renault, the SUV has been designed while keeping in mind seating a family of five. However, the brand promises that the knee room is on par with the leading competitors at 27.4 centimeters or 10.4 inches. The new Austral is not lacking from the practical side of things, either. The Mild Hybrid and the Mild Hybrid Advanced models offer a generously big 500 liters or 17.6 cubic feet of cargo space.

As for the infotainment system, the 12.0-inch touchscreen runs the OpenR system, which is set to receive OTA firmware updates based on the cloud-connected services. The infotainment system is heavily based on Android and Google services for extended intuitiveness. For the navigation system, you will have Google Maps at your disposal. Google Assistant will take care of your hands-free interactions, and you can download supported apps from the Play Store for streaming music too. Speaking of music, the base trim will have the Arkamys sound system, while the higher trims will have the privilege of enjoying every beat through the Premium Harman Kardon speakers.

How Is the Performance of the New Renault Austral?

2022 Renault Austral Drivetrain
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Based on the new third-gen CMF-CD chassis, the new Austral benefits from three power-efficient yet punchy powertrains. There is a full-hybrid E-TECH self-charging motor paired to a 1.2-liter turbocharged inline-three petrol engine, and the combined power output is 146 kW or 200 horsepower. You can choose between FWD and AWD systems. A 1.7 kWh battery pack powers the electric motor and there is a smart multi-mode clutch-less dog box to take care of the gear shifts. Renault claims that the E-TECH equipped Austral can deliver about 4.6 L/100 km and just 105 g of CO2/km, to make it one of the most efficient SUVs of modern times.

However, there are two other engine options to select from. First would be the Mild Hybrid Advanced engine, which Renault claims to be their diesel alternative. It is the same 1.2-liter turbocharged inline-three from the E-TECH variant, but instead of the 400-volt architecture, there is a smaller 48-volt electric motor. The combined power output is about 130 horsepower. The torque figures are not available for this engine. Renault has retained the good-old manual transmission. With these configurations, the Austral can deliver about 5.3 L/100 km and 123 g CO2/km.

2022 Renault Austral Exterior
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The final engine option is a slightly more powerful and bigger 1.3-liter turbocharged four-pot. Close collaboration with Daimler has led to devising a 12-volt starter motor to enhance fuel economy. Well, the combined output is either 140 horsepower or 160 horsepower, depending on your choice. The former engine configuration is mated to a manual transmission, while the X-TRONIC automatic gearbox makes its way to the latter engine configuration. The 1.3-liter turbo-petrol engine also has a rated 270 Nm or about 200 lb-ft of torque. The fuel economy will hover around 5.8-6.2 L/100 km, as per guestimates.

The third-gen CMF-CD platform allows the Austral to have either two-wheel or four-wheel steering, which Renault calls 4CONTROL. The multi-link rear axle turns the Austral into a small city car when it comes to quick turns. The turning circles measure up to 10.1 meters or 33.1 feet, which is unheard of in the C-segment SUV segment. We will update you about how it drives later when we get our hands behind the wheel.

Renault Austral specifications
Renault Austral E-TECH Hybrid 160 or 200 HP
Renault Austral Mild Hybrid Advanced 130 HP
Renault Austral Mild Hybrid 140 or 160 HP

How Safe Is the Renault Austral?

2022 Renault Austral Exterior
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We will update you as soon as we have the Euro NCAP safety ratings, but for now, let’s look at the driver assistance features and passive safety features available with the new Austral. Renault has added a total of 32 ADAS or Advanced Driver Assistance Systems which include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, 360-degree surround camera system, automated emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, automated parking assist, heads-up display, and many more. Apart from the default eight airbags, there is another airbag placed in the middle of the driver and the front passenger to avoid head collision in time of an accident.

Final Thoughts

2022 Renault Austral Exterior
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It is a shame that such a high-tech and stylish SUV is not launching in the U.S. With the new Austral, Renault is playing the step-up game quite well with both powerful and efficient powertrains. Not to forget the level of technology is filled inside the cabin. It is truly a fantastic SUV with all the bells and whistles of the modern era, and we love it. That said, we will update you with a full review of the new Renault Austral and let you know how it drives and how fast it is on the road, along with the cabin’s spaciousness and comfort.

FAQ

Is the Renault Austral coming to the US?

No, unfortunately, the French manufacturer does not sell any of its current offerings in the U.S.

When will the Renault Austral go on sale?

Renault has confirmed that its fresh new hybrid SUV will go on sale in the later part of 2022.

How many engine options are available with the Renault Austral?

There is a full-hybrid mill, which is a 400-volt electric system paired to a 1.2-liter turbocharged inline-three engine. The other two are mild-hybrid engines and one of them is the aforementioned 1.2-liter inline-three and the other one is a 1.3-liter four-pot.

Which platform underpins the Austral?

It is the newly developed third-gen CMF-CD.

Amreetam Basu
Amreetam Basu
Automobile Journalist
After working predominantly as a freelancer at CarHP/CarIndigo, Amreetam joined the TopSpeed team as a journalist in September 2021. In a world where SUVs are booming, he favors sedans and adores BMWs and Mercedes, with a special spot for Lexus and Genesis. He is currently pursuing Master of Arts in History and is 23 years old.  Read full bio
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