The Renault Austral made its public debut at the Paris Motor Show as the successor of the Kadjar, but the French company is also working on another variant of the SUV set to indirectly replace the Espace. A prototype of the “Grand Austral” was caught by our spy photographers in Germany, giving us a better view of its stretched body.
Minivans are not as popular as they used to be, with buyers showing their clear preference for SUVs. Thus, Renault is planning on expanding its SUV range to cover the needs of larger families. The pictured model will serve that role, with a seven-seater cabin and a larger boot than the regular five-seater Austral. Rival automaker Peugeot is following a similar strategy with the 3008 and 5008.
Read: 2022 Renault Austral SUV Makes Paris Debut As Kadjar Replacement
The prototype looks like it is sharing the front end with the Austral, including the LED headlights, bumper, bonnet, front fenders, and front doors. From the B-pillar backwards it sports a redesigned body, with a less inclined roofline, a longer wheelbase, and a stretched rear overhang. The tail is more vertical than in the sportier Austral, although the LED taillights appear to be very similar, as do the pronounced rear shoulders and the windowline.
We don’t have photos from inside the cabin, but we expect the SUV to share the dashboard with the five-seater version, including the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 12-inch infotainment touchscreen, and 9.3-inch head-up display. The difference will be the two extra seats at the back that will be able to fold creating a massive cargo space. Mind you, the boot in the five-seater Austral can hold up to 500 liters (17.7 cubic feet).
The stretched Austral will most likely be a FWD-only SUV offering, fitted with the electrified powertrains of the regular model. Those include a mild-hybrid 1.3-liter with a 12V system, a newer mild-hybrid 1.2-liter with a 48V system, and a proper self-charging hybrid with the E-Tech badge that will produce up to 197 hp (147 kW / 200 PS) in the flagship trim.
The SUV could adopt either the Grand Austral or the Austral Espace nameplates according to different sources. In any case, when it arrives in 2023 or 2024 it will be the second seven-seater offering in Renault’s range besides the upcoming long-wheelbase variant of the LCV-based Kangoo. Competitors in the D-SUV segment will include the likes of the Peugeot 5008, Skoda Kodiaq, VW Tiguan Allspace, Seat Tarraco, Nissan X-Trail, and Mitsubishi Outlander.
Picture credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien for CarScoops