Hot on the heels of yesterday's announcement about the Kadjar switching to the Austral moniker, our spies based in Spain have stumbled upon a prototype of Renault's next compact crossover. Rather annoyingly, the test vehicle still had the full camo attire, but even so, we are getting the impression the Nissan Qashqai's sister model will look nothing like its predecessor.
The test vehicle appeared to be hiding a sharper design in the same vein as the Megane E-Tech Electric. Because it looks less bloated than the model it's about to replace, some might be tempted to believe the Austral is smaller, but in reality, it has roughly about the same length as the Kadjar. Along with announcing the vehicle's name this week, the French brand revealed the C-segment crossover will stretch at 4.51 meters, thus actually making it a little bit longer than the model it supersedes.
The vertical slats of the upper and lower grilles suggest a more imposing front fascia, together with sleeker headlights and a lower front section making the Austral look less bulbous at the front. At the side, the new crossover appears to have a smaller greenhouse to lend the vehicle a more dynamic profile at the expense of outward visibility.
Renault must've hidden a good chunk of the taillights since they're unlikely to be this small. The clusters likely extend onto the tailgate as they do on the Megane electric crossover with its LED light bar divided in the middle by the diamond logo. That might be the case given the extra black camo strip applied onto this prototype. Overall, the exterior looks to have more edges compared to the Kadjar, making the Austral seem more athletic.
There are no interior shots in this set, but previous spy images (attached above) have revealed a completely redesigned dashboard to accommodate the vast screen real estate of the Megane E-Tech Electric. Thankfully, the driver will have quick access to certain functions thanks to a row of physical buttons mounted below the generously sized touchscreen. The prototype we saw had a six-speed manual, but there will also be an optional automatic.
Engine options are a bit of a mystery at this point, and we’re particularly interested to find out whether the diesel will live to see a new generation seeing as how Nissan has dropped the oil-burner for its latest Qashqai. The gasoline powertrains will be joined by a hybrid, although it's unclear whether it will have a charging port or not.
The official reveal is inching closer since Renault will have the Austral on sale across Europe from spring 2022.