Renault Grand Austral spy shot, rear three quarter
► New Renault seven-seat SUV spotted► Based on same platform as Austral SUV
► Will feature both hybrid and PHEV power
Renault is getting stuck into its latest assault on the SUV market. In mid-2022, the company launched the mid-sized Austral SUV – but it plans to unveil two more cars between now and 2024, both based on the same CMF-C/D architecture and powered by the Austral’s hybrid engines.
Renault is still being secretive about its plans. However, Nadjib Zaouche, boss of Renault’s Palencia factory, has hinted one will be a larger D-segment offering and one will be a C-segment ‘derivative’ of the Austral – and both will roll down the lines at his plant. The car shown in the spy shot above is the former model which we expect will be called the Renault Grand Austral.
The Grand Austral will arrive in 2023 as the spiritual successor to the Grand Scenic MPV (pictured above), which was pulled from the UK market in mid-2022. It’ll share most of its styling with the normal Austral, but it’ll have a larger rear end to make space for a third row of seats.
Over the past five years, the humble seven-seat MPV has been steadily ousted by the seven-seat SUV – so it’s a good business decision for Renault to jump on the bandwagon and scoop up some of the market share. There’s a lot of competition, though, with the new Grand Austral squaring up to likes of the Peugeot 5008, Skoda Kodiaq, Land Rover Discovery and Kia Sorento.
What’ll power the new Renault Grand Austral?
European Austral buyers can choose from both mild hybrid and full hybrid powertrains, but we won’t get the former option in the UK. The most basic Grand Austral will feature the same 1.2-litre three-cylinder E-Tech system as the normal Austral. The basic engine is pictured below.
In the smaller SUV, it churns out 197bhp and returns up to 51.1mpg. Power will remain the same across the two models, but we expect the unit’s fuel economy figure will drop into the mid-40mpg range once it’s pulling the larger, heavier Grand Austral.
There’s a PHEV option on the way, too. In December 2022, we visited Renault’s R&D centre in Valladolid in which some of the brand’s technicians were assembling a new 400-volt battery pack prototype for the upcoming Austral PHEV – and it would be utter madness for Renault to not drop the same powertrain in the seven-seat version of the car.
Renault’s new PHEV system will be based around the same 1.2 three-cylinder petrol engine as E-Tech system in the standard Austral, but it’ll have a more powerful electric motor which can propel the car for more than couple of miles. To be competitive in the class, Renault will need to target an electric range of around 35 miles and an official fuel economy figure of more than 100mpg.
What will the cabin be like?
Almost identical to the standard Austral’s, but you’ll get some extra space in the back thanks to a longer rear overhang and a less rakish roofline. The taller roof is there to create enough headroom for passengers sitting in the rearmost seats. Renault hasn’t given us a steer on how much bigger the Grand Austral’s boot will be, but it’ll certainly improve on the standard car’s 555-litre figure.
We haven’t yet seen any images of the Grand Austral’s interior, but it won’t stray far from the standard model (pictured below). It’ll feature the same 12.3-inch infotainment system and head-up display as its smaller sibling. Visibility might even be a little better because the rear side windows are larger.