The new interpretation of medium-sized, but generously sized crossovers according to Renault is called Austral.
Heir, by positioning, of the Kadjar ancestor, the latest addition to the French house is destined to represent the beginning of a new, increasingly technological era.
For the Austral test, we got behind the wheel of the full hybrid version, the newcomer.
With its 451 cm in length, Austral effectively replaces the Kadjar, with which, however, it shares nothing, except for similar dimensions.
Based on the most recent evolution of the Cmf-Cd platform developed together with Nissan, Austral has front-wheel drive and is available in three different petrol-hybrid versions.
In our case, the 400-volt full hybrid is called E-Tech, mounts a 1.2 engine but combines it with a more powerful electric drive unit (68 HP), for a total of 199 HP overall.
See the photos
See the photos
Renault Austral E-Tech Hybrid
The driving comfort of the new Austral is guaranteed by the automatic transmission: 4+2 ratios, i.e. two for the electric mode and four for the hybrid one.
The gearbox is clutchless, i.e. without synchronisers, because the function of the latter is performed by a second smaller electric unit (25 HP) which, in addition to acting as a starter motor and helping to recharge the battery (from 2 kWh and mounted under the seats), synchronizes the gears for gear engagement.
Total running smoothness.
The other peculiarity of Austral, unique for the category, is the possibility of having the rear axle with steering.
At low speed the rear wheels steer in the opposite direction to the front ones, to give greater agility;
at high ones they all point in the same direction, making the car more stable and ready to change direction.
On board the Renault Austral the watchword is comfort.
The space available is decidedly large and the practical sliding sofa (by 16 cm) can increase it as desired for passengers or luggage.
The dashboard takes up the layout already used by Renault with the L-shaped glossy black panel that houses the climate control speakers, the 12" virtual dashboard and the vertical screen (from 9" to 12") for the multimedia system plugged into the console.
Also practical and comfortable is the large central armrest free from the gear selector which is instead placed on the steering column, the latter instead being a bit crowded if we consider the practically overlapping presence of the gearbox, windscreen wipers and satellite with the controls dedicated to the system audio.
It is easy to inadvertently operate one control instead of the other, especially during the first rides.
Finally, consumption deserves a mention: decidedly low, without detracting from the brilliant performance.