Renault’s Hybrid SUV to Enjoy Longer Production Run?

Renault has released the first powertrain details of a self-charging hybrid that might enjoy a longer production run than expected thanks to Europe’s ditching of its ICE ban.

The new Renault Austral E-Tech hybrid mid-sized SUV is due to be launched this summer. However, while most would have expected the model to be merely a transition model in anticipation of the European Union’s proposed ban of all sales of new ICE powered vehicles by 2035, the new agreement to allow e-fuels could see this car, and hybrids like it, enjoy a much longer series run.

All variants of the model will be powered by a new 197bhp gasoline hybrid powertrain with a 400V 1.7kWh lithium-ion battery. An electric-only mode claims a zero emissions city driving capability, while the battery recharges when decelerating and braking to offer a truly electric experience with no need to plug in. On the combined WLTP cycle, the Austral E-Tech full hybrid claims up to 60.1mpg, making it one of the most fuel-efficient hybrid cars in the Renault line-up, keeping emissions as low as 105g/km of CO2.

The automaker says the vehicle will play a key role in helping it achieve its ambitions of dominating the European C-segment market and enhancing its focus on electrified cars, as outlined in the company’s ‘Renaulution’ strategy. On-board technologies include 30 ADAS and sensor settings offering four different driving styles suitable for a range of journeys and terrains. These are complemented by Renault’s third-generation four-wheel steering system, giving Austral a city car-like 33ft turning circle, coupled with front, rear and side parking sensors and 360° around view 3D camera.

Digital connectivity is accessed through the twin 12-inch OpenR screens and 9.3-inch head-up display, powered by Google services, which includes Google Play, Google Maps and Google Assistant. A range of up to 35 apps with exclusive content are available. From selecting music to planning a route, finding a parking space or controlling home devices, all can be activated with voice control.

The Austral E-Tech full hybrid completes a trio of C-segment models in the electrified Renault E-Tech range, joining the Megane E-Tech 100% electric and the Arkana E-Tech, Renault’s SUV hybrid. Guillaume Sicard, country head UK and managing director Renault Brand UK, said: “With its blend of class-leading efficiency and advanced technology, we believe it to be one of the best hybrid cars available, and it comes at a time when demand for such a vehicle has never been higher.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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