Renault launches new ‘Rafale’ flagship plug-in hybrid SUV

Alexi Falson

Renault has lifted the lid on a brand-new flagship SUV in its global ranks, launching the Rafale with a clever plug-in hybrid powertrain that will be joined by a more potent E-Tech variant in the future.

The Rafale measures in at 4710mm long by 1860mm wide and stands 1610mm tall, making it slightly longer than the current Koleos, with a wheelbase spanning 2740mm for the sleek crossover SUV.

More important, though, the Rafale gives us a taste of what we can expect to see from Renault’s future powertrains.

For the launch, Renault confirmed a 1.2-litre turbocharged three-cylinder paired with two electric motors and a compact 2kWh battery pack, with outputs from the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) unit totalling 147kW.

The three-cylinder kicks up 96kW and 205Nm, while the main electric motor produces another 50kW/205Nm and a secondary e-motor producing 25kW/50Nm works as a starter generator and provides power to the clutchless transmission.

Renault says this will be followed up by a more powerful Rafale PHEV variant producing at least 220kW of power, with the help of a more powerful electric motor at the rear axle.

In terms of the styling, the front end picks up a modern take on Renault’s current design language with a three-dimensional grille and a set of diamond-shaped signature lights, while the rear profile takes a more angular approach on the Arkana’s coupe-inspired tall boot line.

Inside, the cabin receives a dynamic glass roof measuring 1470mm by 1117mm, a set of sporty seats made from 61% recycled Alcantara, a redesigned steering wheel from the Megane E-Tech and a generous 647L of boot space in the rear.

The dash houses a 12-inch vertically-mounted display which is paired with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, while the centre console receives some flexible storage options for bulkier items.

For now, the Renault Rafale has not been confirmed for the Australian market, with the company outlining mid-2024 deliveries for the global market, predominantly Europe.

We’ll have to wait and see whether sending the Rafale over here to Australia makes sense for the company.

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