Behind an exterior design that’s more modern than the Kadjar, but less innovative than the competition, the new Austral relies primarily on its high-tech interior, a thousand miles away from what it replaces. An update that is obvious as soon as the door is opened, in addition to the clearly improved quality, a new 24-inch digital interface – two 12-inch screens – and multimedia entrusted to Google.. A readable, finger- and eye-responsive touchscreen, its apps and menus are now tame for anyone with a smartphone. It’s enough to make other infotainment systems obsolete.
But this digital universe should not make us forget that Austral itself brings innovations that are just as important. Starting with what we haven’t seen: an unprecedented non-rechargeable hybrid engine. If it is an “E-Tech” which now carries the same commercial name as the Clio, Captur or Arkana mechanics, this new traction chain has nothing to do with it and will eventually replace the first one.
See also: 30 photos of Austral in its usual “Techno” finish
New fuel efficient hybrid engine
To further reduce CO2 emissions and reduce purchase taxes as much as possible, Renault initially replaced the naturally aspirated 1.6-cylinder 4-cylinder with a new technically more advanced 1.2-liter 3-cylinder turbo, mainly with a Miller combustion cycle and variable geometry turbo. Despite the high power since then, emissions are a choice between 104 and 109 g/km, which is significantly lower than the penalty limit, which remains at 123 g/km in 2023. In addition, the electric motors also increased their power: from 48 to 68 hp for the most important electric motor and from 20 to 34 hp for the alternator-starter.. A comfortable 200 horsepower and great efficiency at the end of this chain.
At our demanding test base in Montlhéry, the Austral E-Tech 200 pleased with a very nice 6.2 l/100 km indeed. Not bad for an SUV that weighs almost 1.7 tons. The French averages 5.7 l/100 km in the city, where the small battery provides plenty of energy and allows for numerous and fairly long electric driving stages.. Hardly more on the road as it turns to more classic highway “points”.
Also read: Is Renault’s new 130bhp micro-hybrid petrol engine really economical?
Real fuel consumption of Renault Austral E-Tech 200
- City consumption: 5.7 l/100 km
- Road consumption: 6.0 l/100 km
- Highway consumption: 7.6 l/100 km
- Average fuel consumption: 6.2 l/100 km
But the driving pleasure is still not at that level
On the other hand, on the driving side, this new 3-cylinder doesn’t make us forget the other 145 hp hybrids yet. First, despite the integration of the balance shaft, it vibrates more than the 4-cylinder. It is felt on board with sometimes unpleasant frequencies in slow motion. Fortunately, the engine is forgotten during acceleration. Unlike the slowness of the gearbox! Usually compensated by the presence of electric motors, they are very sensitive here. So asking the engine to rev from 80km/h to 110km/h is like pulling a ‘hole’ when accelerating. Less noticeable discomfort in the Clio/Captur/Arkana traction chain. That said, the arrival of power then makes up for the lag, and our stopwatch confirms a very nice 5 seconds when practicing at 80-120 km/h, which simulates overtaking.. Finally, in pure acceleration, the Austral E-Tech 200 sets no benchmarks.
The real performance of the Renault Austral E-Tech 200
- 0-100km/h: 9s
- 80 – 120 km/h: 5 s
Sober and offering good performance, Renault’s new hybrid engine fulfills the contract. But we still need to make progress on the approval side to properly replace other hybridizations that are less efficient, more enjoyable in daily driving, and still relevant for the models that previously had it.