Renault is returning to the large car market with a big SUV it is calling the Rafale.
When it arrives in 2024 it will sit ahead of the soon-to-arrive Austral as its new flagship.
Measuring 4.71 metres long, it is of similar size to a Land Rover Discovery but styled with fastback-like lines.
The Rafale was unveiled at the Paris Air Show and the name traces Renault’s association with aviation, especially the Caudron Rafale record-breaking aircraft of 1934.
The new Rafale is 1.86 metres wide and 1.61 metres high, and as a large SUV comes with a 647-litre boot.
Like the new Austral, the Rafale will launch with a 197bhp E-Tech full hybrid petrol powertrain linked to a clutchless multimode automatic transmission.
Renault says that as a self-charging hybrid it is capable of averaging 60.1mpg with emission of 105g/km, giving it a full tank range of 683 miles.
It uses a 1.2-litre 3-cylinder turbo petrol engine linked to an electric motor, which combined deliver 197bhp – similar to that of the Austral’s E-Tech powertrain.
A more powerful plug-in hybrid Rafale with 296bhp on tap and all-wheel-drive with two electric motors will be arriving later.
The car is decked out with a new grille that includes a pattern made up of small Renault diamond features and comes with a new Solarbay sunroof which uses darkening glass. The panoramic roof measures 1,470 by 1,117mm and uses a high-tech system to darken the glass in seconds.
As well as being operated manually, the roof can also be controlled by voice using the car’s Google Assistant feature.
Other features include Renault’s OpenR cockpit which has a 12.3-inch diagonal display on the dashboard, a 12-inch central touchscreen and a 9.3-inch head-up display which projects the car’s speed, active driver assistance systems, speeding warning and driving directions onto the windscreen.
An Alpine trim will also be available on the Rafale marking Renault’s link with its sports car and racing brand.
Prices and performance data are still to be confirmed, but it is expected that the Rafale will start from around the £40,000 mark when it arrives in the UK late in 2024.
Prices correct as of 19/06/2023 and are subject to change.
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