- Alaskan pickup gets European debut with four custom versions
- Formula Edition vans celebrate Renault's Formula One team
- Renault Pro+ now offering extra traction, new Kangoo automatic
Renault’s LCV arm Pro+ has finally shown its Alaskan one-tonne pickup in Europe – with the display at the 2016 IAA Commercial Vehicle Show including not just the standard Alaskan but four highly customised versions.
Elsewhere on the Renault Pro+ stand there’s an extended range of solutions for driving in low grip situation, a new automatic gearbox option for the Kangoo small van, and special edition vans celebrating Renault’s Formula One team.
Renault Alaskan: more than just a pretty face
Renault’s stylists have done a fine job of re-nosing the latest Nissan Navara to create the Alaskan, and it clearly exudes the French brand’s identity.
Like the Navara, it comes with a 2.3-litre diesel engine – badged dCi here – with a choice of single-turbo 160hp or twin-turbo 190hp outputs. It has selectable four-wheel drive, Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control, keyless go and a 360-degree camera system, which is handy for multistorey car parks as well as ascending the Himalayas.
It looks set to become a characterful entrant in the buoyant pickup truck market, and its association with the Navara promises a great blend of capability and practicality, including one of the largest load beds in the class.
For further details on the Renault Alaskan you can click here to read our initial in-depth report.
Need more grip?
Alongside the four Alaskan conversions – breakdown assistance vehicle, off-road ambulance, cherry-picker and (if our non-existent French is right) a fire support truck – Renault is using the IAA 2016 as a platform to show-off its tailor-made, one-stop problem solving capability, particular in environments that demand increased levels of grip.
Alongside the Extended Grip traction control system available on versions of the Kangoo from October 2016, Renault will be offering an X-Track package on the Kangoo, Trafic and Master that adds a limited slip differential to maximise two-wheel drive grip and includes a 30mm increase in suspension height, as well as underbody protection and a set of mud and snow tyres. X-Track comes by way of third-party Poclain Vehicules, but can be ordered via Renault Pro+.
If you’ve got more challenging situations in mind, since April 2016 Renault has also been offering a four-wheel drive package on the Master van – but this is only available as an add-on to rear-wheel drive vehicles with the locking rear differential already fitted. Again you also get underbody protection, raised ride height and off-road capable tyres, but this time with the addition of a gear reduction unit to shorten the ratios to further increase traction in sticky situations; Renault’s partner for this upgrade is Oberaigner Automotive.
Kangoo twin-clutch automatic
The Renault Kangoo’s got a brand new gearbox. Only available on the TCe 115 petrol and called EDC, this is a twin-clutch automatic – similar in principle to Volkswagen’s DSG autos. The advantage is supposed to be improved fuel economy and emissions, but the technology has been around in Renault’s cars for quite some time now, and it’s never been especially impressive.
That’s slightly bad news for Mercedes, as it’s also offering the new transmission in its version of the Kangoo, the Citan.
The closest thing your van can get to an F1 car?
Finally, Renault is also launching limited Formula Edition versions of its entire van range. Apparently inspired by the Renaultsport Formula One team, these feature satin black exterior detailing highlighted with “yellow-gold” trimming, with a similar theme going on inside.
Renault says it gives the Kangoo, Trafic and Master “an undeniably sporty look”. We say they look like a wasp that’s fallen in a jar of marmite. Don’t expect to go setting any lap records, but if you want your business to stand out from the crowd they could be worth a look. We’re checking on UK availability.
In the meantime, take a look at our round-up of the best sporty vans on sale by clicking here.