Firstly, if you’re wondering what Nouvelle Vague means in English, it’s new wave. An ambitious model offering, the Renault Austral marks the next milestone in the car maker’s plan to be a benchmark for technology, clean energy, and services.
The Austral is athletic, sophisticated and elegant, with well-crafted geometric lines. Set to be available in seven colours across a range of trim levels, including the first ever Esprit Alpine edition, it rides on 17-inch to 20-inch rims, most of which are diamond-cut.
Its high-tech cockpit is built around the large OpenR screen that combines the 12.3-inch dashboard instrument display with the 12.0-inch vertical multimedia screen. The new 9.3-inch head-up display adds to the total number of screens on board.
The self-regulating brightness and optimised reflective qualities have made it possible to rid the OpenR screen of its traditional sun visor. This gives a greater sense of space and make the dash feel appear as if it were floating.
The Austral also features a cruising console. Sleek and modern in style, it creates a subtle divide between the driver and front passenger. It also houses a streamlined hand rest that makes using the multimedia screen more comfortable.
The console includes a phone slot with inductive charging capabilities and practical everyday storage. Depending on the trim and chosen extras, the interior incorporates real timber, leather, Alcantara, padded textiles and other form-fitted materials.
These are paired with lacquered highlights in Deep Glossy Black and Satin Chrome. The overall package is enhanced by the addition of the customisable lighting system known as Living Lights.
A family focused vehicle, rear passengers in the Austral benefit from knee-room that is on par with the best in the category at 27.4cm. Numerous practical storage compartments are located throughout the interior for everyone to use too.
The generous boot comes fitted with a hands-free power tailgate, and thanks to the sliding bench seat, boot space can be pushed from 575-litires to 1,525-litres when the rear bench seat is folded away.
For the first time ever on a Renault vehicle, the Austral also comes in an exclusive Esprit Alpine version for a sportier look. It draws inspiration from the sporting DNA of Renault Group’s flagship brand, Alpine.
This version sees the Austral with an even more assertive design underpinned by a new, specially designed, Satin Shale Grey body colour. The sporty feel is enhanced by the addition of a grille bar and Satin Grey sport blade.
It also grabs 20-inch diamond-cut black Daytona aluminium rims with ‘Alpine’ branding, Satin Black roof rails, and décor highlights in Diamond Black, Extra Glossy Black and Ice Black across the car’s exterior.
Inside, the Esprit Alpine also boasts a number of distinctive elements, including blue stitching and piping, unique, Alcantara upholstery with carbon-fibre ‘twill’ fabric, and a Nappa leather steering wheel with Alcantara inserts and stitching in blue, white and red.
There’s also aluminium pedals and door sills bearing the ‘Alpine’ logo.
A range of powertrains will be available, all of them hybrid. The combination includes pairings with a standard mild hybrid setup, as well as an advanced version, along with a full hybrid, self charging option. Each is plugged into a 1.2-litre or 1.3-litre engine.
That motor is an economical 3-cylinder or 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol offering that depending on the hybrid choice, can offer up to 146kW of power. Each of the three choices also features regenerative braking.
For the E-TECH Hybrid, the driver can select one of four different modes using a toggle located behind the steering wheel. On that variant, and the Mild Hybrid Advanced version, the brand-new digital dashboard features animations that are specific to hybrid models.
Available in either two-wheel or four-wheel steering, the new Austral features three driving modes, including Eco, Comfort and Sport. A fourth mode (Perso) gives the driver free rein over every setting.
The optional Extended Grip Pack includes two additional modes: ‘Snow’ and ‘All Roads’. Drivers can switch between modes at any time, either manually or via the voice command Google Assistant.
The 2023 Renault Austral also features 32 advanced driver assistance technologies, including active driver assist, adaptive cruise control with ‘Stop/Go’, lane centering, GPS data and mapping, and a 360-degree around view 3D camera.
There’s also automated park assist, blind spot warning and lane departure prevention, rear automatic emergency braking, rear cross traffic alert, matrix LED smart lighting and occupant safe exit.
Seen as Renault’s ‘Nouvelle Vague’ or new wave tech SUV, the Austral embodies a generation of connected, smart, adaptive and flexible vehicles. Its artificial intelligence uses cloud-based map data help give greater peace of mind when driving.
Linked up with the My Renault platform, it provides practical solutions for remote check-ups and guidance too. Unveiled in a digital world premiere on 8 March, the Renault Austral will go on sale from the last quarter 2022. Local specs and prices are to be confirmed.