Renault’s Kadjar replacement hits the ground and makes instant impact

In its prime, the Renault Kadjar was one of the best-selling French vehicles on these shores. Now in a new electrified era, Renault are hoping to continue that legacy with the brand-new Austral E-Tech, a highly efficient mid-size hybrid SUV.

Replacing the Kadjar, the Austral is poised to become a key feature in what the French manufacturer is describing as the ‘Renaulution’. Bringing forward fresh new looks and bold styling, this efficient hybrid will sit alongside its highly eco-friendly siblings; the Renault Zoe E-Tech and Renault Megane E-Tech.

In its ambition to stand out from the crowd, the Austral is up against some tough competition. It’s going head-to-head with the ever-popular Nissan Qashqai, and the Kia Sportage, as well as family favourites like the Ford Kuga and Hyundai Tucson.

With Renault promising an exciting new electric and hybrid future, we were eager to see how this Austral stacked up.

What did we drive?

Model: Austral Techno Esprit Alpine E-Tech

Transmission: Auto

Power: Hybrid (200hp)

Colour: Artic white with diamond black roof                             

OTR: £34,695

Price of the model driven: £38,145

*Prices correct at the time of writing

Renault Austral E-Tech driving on country lane


Prices for the Renault Austral start from £34,695 for the entry-level techno trim and this rises to at least £39,495 for the range-topping iconic esprit Alpine version.

Compared to some of its rivals, there are more affordable variants in the Nissan Qashqai range, but by the same token, the latter can also exceed the Austral’s price tag for top-level specification.

The Austral is priced narrowly ahead of the hybrid Kia Sportage, where prices start at £35,270 and rise to over £42,000.

It appears to be well positioned against some of its biggest rivals. If you would like to spread that cost for a more affordable driving experience, a Renault Austral lease deal allows you to pay fixed monthly payments on flexible terms designed around you.


The Austral E-Tech is a fully self-charging hybrid. It's made up of a 1.2L turbocharged petrol engine that is supplemented by two electric motors and a lithium-ion battery to provide 200 horsepower.

There’s no need to worry about plugging in or charging overnight. It recharges under decelerating and braking and with intuitive driving modes, ensuring the Austral will always be in the most efficient mode possible.

Renault claims that it is capable of travelling up to 683 miles thanks to the combination of the electric range and the petrol engine.

They add that up to 80% of your inner-city trips can be driven in pure electric mode, creating the potential to save up to 40% on your fuel consumption. This is a hybrid that will make your money work harder.

If you’ve been on the fence about an electric car lease or fear you might struggle to regularly charge an EV, the Renault Austral is an efficient alternative for anybody looking for a greener drive.

Renault Austral E-Tech driving on country road


The Austral delivers an impressive and composed drive. The hybrid power gives it a noticeable and needed boost off the line, ensuring the car never feels sluggish or heavy.

The ride is smooth and comfortable, but a little closer to the firm side than some of its rivals.

There are four driving modes to choose from; comfort, eco, sport and perso, and the four levels of regenerative braking mean there are plenty of options to find your desired drive.

We noticed the brakes were heavier than most of its rivals, even in lower regen settings, but it was something you could adapt to.

It’s also a supremely quiet drive, even when the petrol engine kicks in. Renault have done a fantastic job limiting the incoming noise from the engine until you get up to those higher motorway speeds.

The 4control (all-wheel-drive system) doesn’t come as standard until the range-topping spec, but this will allow for greater stability and control on the move, as well as increased manoeuvrability in tight spaces. It creates the ability to have a 10.1m turning circle, which is much tighter than any car of this size should be capable of.

Renault Austral E-Tech Alpine badging

Design & Interior

The new Renault Austral doesn’t look out of place in this new era of French design. It’s bold and daring but feels familiar if you’ve ever driven a Renault or two in your time.

Looking at the vehicle from the outside, it must be said, the Austral has some serious stance about it.

It’s a commanding car and the sleek new Renault branding, alongside the clean-cut LED headlights, gives it some razor-sharp looks. 

This was highlighted in our model, which donned the classic Artic white colour scheme with a contrasting diamond black roof to really help it stand out from the crowd.

On this trim level (and the range-topping edition), there’s a splattering of Alpine badges on the exterior and even more throughout the interior. It’s a nice touch that elevates this sleek hybrid crossover into something more premium and stylish.

It feels like Renault are making a big push, like so many manufacturers now, to break into that premium market and the Austral does a good job of this. Especially when compared to the Kadjar.

Renault Austral E-Tech boot space and rear seats

Space & practicality

The Renault Austral is a very similar size to the former Kadjar, officially coming in with at 4.51 metres long, 1.83 metres wide and 1.62 metres high.

It is a spacious car once you get yourself comfortable inside. The raised centre console gives the allusion of the driver being separated from the front passenger, enclosed behind the steering wheel in a more compact driving position.

In the boot, there’s 555 litres of boot space and the rear seats fold in a 60:40 configuration if you wanted to increase this for larger items. There’s potential for up to 1525 litres with all seats folded.

The rear seats don’t lay completely flat, but it does still become a usable space if you’re planning a big IKEA trip.

Head and legroom is competitive for this class, especially for taller passengers and an adjustable sliding rear bench allows for flexibility depending on your passengers and cargo needs.

Renault Austral touchscreens


The Renault Austral is a tech lover’s dream. It features Google built-in and comes with the ever-impressive Harman & Kardon sound system on the range-topping spec.

Also featuring on the generous standard equipment list is a 9.3" head-up display, which is clear and crisp, providing a wealth of driving information as you go.

There are two crisp 12" screens on display up front. A more traditional 12.3" driver’s display that offers lots of great hybrid efficiency data and information. Then you have a second portrait 12" infotainment screen.

Both screens are implemented into the cabin effortlessly, with a flowing design that looks exceptionally sleek.

The quality of the system doesn’t disappoint either. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s class-leading, but it was responsive, easy to get to grips with thanks to sensibly laid out menus.


The Austral scored five stars during its Euro NCAP safety tests, with an 88% score for adult occupants and 83% for child occupants.

Renault say there are as many as 30 different advanced driver-assistance systems available, including front, rear and side park assist, which comes as standard on all trim levels. There’s also a rear-view camera included at every level, helping you squeeze into the tightest of parking spaces.

Model lines & equipment

The range features three different trim levels; the techno, techno aspirit Alpine and the iconic espirit Alpine.

The changes between the two techno trims are largely stylistic, with the big technology upgrades coming in the range-topping iconic trim.

Below, we have outlined some of the key highlights from each trim level, so you can find the perfect Austral E-Tech for you.

techno – from £34,695

  • 19" komah black diamond-cut alloy wheels
  • 12" OpenR cluster with Arkamys audio system
  • adaptive matrix LED vision
  • Google built-in
  • 9.3" head-up display
  • front, rear & side park assist

techno aspirit Alpine - from £36,695

(In addition to/replacement of techno)

  • 20" daytona black diamond-cut alloy wheels
  • heated & electric front driver & passenger seats
  • electric power boot opening
  • esprit Alpine styling
  • heated steering wheel

iconic esprit Alpine – from £39,495

(In addition to/replacement of techno aspirit Alpine)

  • 360 degree around view camera
  • panoramic sunroof
  • 4Control advanced: 4-wheel steering
  • Harman Kardon audio system
Renault Austral E-Tech parked at Carparison


In a world that feels like it’s transitioning to EV quicker than you can say ‘regenerative braking’, the Austral E-Tech is a timely reminder of the appeal hybrids can have.

Without going fully electric you can still enjoy excellent efficiency and impressive performance without the worries of having to charge.

There’s something to be said for the added convenience that the Austral provides, without feeling like a step down in quality compared to its fully electric sibling, the Megane E-Tech.

Save up to to 40% on fuel costs with a Renault Austral

Ryan Darby

Ryan Darby

Ryan takes the lead on all things 'wordy'. With a sports media background, a true passion for cars, and a LOT of driving experience under his belt, he'll make sure you have all the information you need, when you need it.