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Renault Austral verdict

2023 onwards (change model)
Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 54.0

Written by Luke Wilkinson Published: 7 June 2023 Updated: 13 June 2023

Should you buy one?

We don’t see why not. The Renault Austral a good family SUV with a great safety record and plenty of technology, even if it won’t set your pulse racing. Most importantly, it’s a huge step up over the old Kadjar and it promises to be affordable to run.

We like the Austral’s clever rear-wheel steering setup, too. It’s a handy tool to make the car’s dimensions shrink around town and improve its ride comfort on the motorway. Sadly, the suspension lets the side down, as it’s a touch too firm for UK roads.

Even so, the car’s technology, high-quality interior and practicality put up a good enough fight to make it a credible alternative to the established list of hybrid SUVs. We’re looking forward to driving the most basic car on UK roads to see whether the smaller alloy wheels improve the ride.

What we like

The Austral’s interior is a very nice place to be and we love its Google-powered infotainment system. It’s also surprisingly refined as its hybrid powertrain prioritises electric running. Initial impressions also suggest that fuel economy will be competitive in the real world. We achieved average figures of more than 50mpg during our time with the car.

What we don’t like

The top-spec Iconic Esprit Alpine model’s 20-inch alloys are too big and spoil the ride quality. The gearbox can also feel rather crude when accelerating hard and the engine isn’t particularly tuneful. It’s actually quite rough at idle. Renault also isn’t offering a budget-friendly version of the car to UK buyers. The cheapest model we get costs around £35,000.