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The vagaries of global supply chains and manufacturing capability have played havoc with the availability of numerous in-demand new-car models in recent years, and French giant Renault is not alone in revising arrival timing for upcoming models heading for Australian showrooms.
Previously focused on the second half of this year for much of its new-model activity, the schedule has shifted forward by several months into the beginning of 2024.
Here’s a model-by-model breakdown of which Renaults are coming and when.
Released globally in late 2020 the third-generation Kangoo will be approaching mid-life by the time it hits the local market.
Originally expected in the third quarter of this year, it is now on track for a Q1 2024 on-sale and although pricing and final specs are yet to be confirmed, prospective owners are able to register their interest via Renault’s local website.
The pure-electric Kangoo E-Tech, in L1 Compact and longer L2 Maxi Pro form, is powered by a single synchronous electric motor sending 90kW/245Nm to the front wheels via a single-speed reduction gear auto transmission. Checkout our preview here.
Timing for a press launch for the car has moved from the fourth quarter of this year to Q1 2024, but the order books are open with local pricing confirmed at $64,990, before on-road costs, and some customer car arrivals are expected in December.
A ‘current-excited’ motor uses the feeding in of electric power to induce the rotor, rather than magnets, avoiding the use of rare earth elements (the mining of which is increasingly controversial environmentally) in its construction.
Sitting on the Renault Alliance ‘CMF-EV’ platform, shared with Dacia, Mitsubishi and Nissan (Ariya), the Megane E-Tech also features a thin and relatively light 60kWh battery that delivers a 450km (WLTP) range.
On a 130kW DC fast charger Renault claims it will go from 10-80 percent charge in 30 minutes.
At a fraction over 4.2m long, just under 1.8m wide and 1.5m high the Megane is right-sized for city and urban use, yet the tightly packaged battery and a 2.7m wheelbase free up an impressive amount of interior space.
At a local preview of the car CarsGuide determined rear head and legroom is above average for the class, as is 440 litres of boot space with the second row seat upright. Yet the car is impressively aero efficient, boasting a drag coefficient (Cd) of just 0.29.
Dynamically, the steering ratio is low, with far fewer turns lock-to-lock than existing competitors. We’ll have to wait for a first drive to see if Renault’s claims of agile handling and direct feedback stack up.
Various powertrain settings are available, with Eco, Comfort and Sport modes tuning the steering, motor calibration, and accelerator response on the fly. Regenerative braking operates across four levels.
Two icons from Renault’s back catalogue have been reloaded for the EV era. The Renault 5 ‘prototype’ wowed the world on arrival in early 2021.
Immediately recognisable thanks to key features lifted and reinterpreted from the original 1970s R5 design, Renault says the electric city car’s “chosen finishes and materials are inspired by the worlds of electronics, furniture and sports”.
According to Renault Design Director, Gilles Vidal, “(The) styling elements taken from the original design in a modern way hide very modern functions: the bonnet air intake hides the charging hatch, the rear lights include aero flaps, and the fog lamps in the bumper are daytime running lights.”
The nouvelle 5 is bound for full production with the showroom-ready version to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in February, 2024.
Renault Australia General Manager, Glen Sealey, sees the car as “a terrific take on a retro vehicle” and says, “There is significant interest from us.”
He has previously told CarsGuide, “I think it would work well here. If they make it RHD we’ve got our hands up. The question then is, will (Group Renault) make an additional investment in complying with Australian Design Rules?”
The Renault 4Ever ‘show car’ echoes the form and utility of the innovative lightweight Renault 4 hatchback produced for global consumption from the early 1960s to the early ‘90s.
As Renault CEO, Luca de Meo says, "Renault 4 is a myth. And myths never die! R4 is a car that everyone can love, and today we want to rediscover this universal dimension through a modern and electric reinterpretation."
Renault has confirmed, “The 4Ever show car paves the way for the future all-electric B Segment SUV.”
Like the Renault 5, it will be underpinned by Renault Group’s ‘CMF-BEV’ platform for B segment electric vehicles, the R4 and R5 effectively stepping into the shoes of the current Clio and Captur.
As for a potential place in the Australian market, Glen Sealey says, “Anything electric (Renault Group) builds in right-hand drive we will have our hand up for.”
And for the longer term…
Renault used its recent Group Conference - Capital Market Day in Paris to launch a sleek pure-electric concept version of its iconic Twingo city car with production scheduled for 2026.
Positioned as a “fit-for-purpose urban vehicle with no compromise” it is claimed to deliver “best-in-class efficiency” of 10kWh/100km, low raw materials consumption in line with its compact dimensions and a relatively affordable entry price below EUR20,000 (A$33,350) before subsidies.
Underpinned by Renault’s ‘CMF’ platform the new Twingo is planned to go from ‘concept freeze’ to production in just two years, matching the speed to market of Chinese EV powerhouses like BYD, Chery and SAIC (MG).
According to Renault CEO, Luca de Meo, the new Twingo will be produced at Renault’s Lyon factory, recently upgraded and reconfigured to serve as a specialist EV facility, and will use batteries from LG.
Its addition to the brand’s local model line-up is far from certain, however, with European markets the primary focus for the new electric city hatch for the foreseeable future.