The Austral is equipped with torsion-beam rear suspension as standard, but top-rung cars with four-wheel steering get a multi-link set-up at the rear. These cars also get a 13:1 steering ratio (down from 14.7:1 as standard) for more precise handling and a turning circle of just 10.1 metres.
The structural reinvention for Renault’s mid-size SUV comes alongside a wide-reaching design overhaul aimed at bringing it into line with the new Renault Mégane E-Tech Electric and boosting aerodynamic efficiency.
C-shaped headlights, a new Renault logo, 4×4-inspired chunky skidplates and alloy wheels measuring up to 20in in diameter are among the defining cues.
The Austral will be the first Renault model to come in an optional Esprit Alpine (spirit of Alpine) trim modelled on the look of Alpine’s sports cars. It’s painted in a unique shade of satin grey with contrasting black trim details, sits on bespoke 20in Alpine-badged alloys and comes with Alcantara-upholstered seats with blue stitching.
Renault has also visibly pushed upmarket inside, where the Austral dramatically departs from its forebear with a focus on material quality and enhanced technology.
The OpenR infotainment touchscreen fitted to higher-spec models is described as “one of the largest screens in the automotive market”, comprising a 12.3in display screen and 12.0in infotainment screen in one digital panel. It’s covered in Gorilla Glass to avoid scratches.