Renault will soon be bidding adieu to the Kadjar by replacing its popular compact crossover with the new Austral. Carrying the new diamond logo already applied onto the zero-emissions Megane E-Tech, the revamped C-segment offering will share the underpinnings with the latest Nissan Qashqai. A mild hybrid system is all but confirmed, and we are also expecting a plug-in hybrid derivative badged as the Austral E-Tech.
The French brand is being coy on technical specifications for the time being, only saying the new model will have roughly the same length as its predecessor by measuring 4.51 meters. That will make it slightly longer than the equivalent Qashqai, and chances are the difference will be in the wheelbase to give the Renault version a roomier cabin with better rear legroom.
It’s worth mentioning Nissan has yet to launch the hybrid version of its Qashqai, which is due in 2022 with the E-Power suffix. The Japanese crossover will have an interesting electrified setup since the combustion engine won’t actually drive the wheels. Instead, the gasoline-fueled mill will be used at all times to recharge the battery, which in turn will use its energy to juice up the electric motor that will provide the propulsion.
As for the electrified Austral, it’s expected to use a conventional plug-in hybrid setup already implemented in the Captur E-Tech where a naturally aspirated gasoline engine works with an electric motor and a battery. The 1.6-liter, four-cylinder unit and the e-motor provide a combined output of around 160 horsepower, but that number might be bumped for the Austral since it will be heavier.
The engineers have fitted the PHEV-spec Captur with a 9.8-kWh battery pack good for 30 miles of electric range, but once again, the increased curb weight of the Austral might require a bigger battery to achieve that range. The new compact crossover will be the latest model in a long string of electrified Renault products as the Clio supermini and the compact Megane family have been hybridized already, along with the Arkana coupe-SUV.
Additional details should be disclosed early next year taking into consideration the model will go on sale this upcoming spring, suggesting a world premiere could take place at the beginning of 2022. Next fall, an all-electric SUV will be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show set for mid-October.