Every now and then, car manufacturers surprise us with unusual engineering samples undergoing testing in India. Whether intended for the Indian market or merely testing certain components, these test mules often generate significant curiosity.

Recently, Renault-Nissan has caught our attention with the Renault Austral, spied testing in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, by automotive enthusiast Samwin Paul.

The Renault Austral Spotted

This is not the first time Renault-Nissan has tested unexpected models in India. Previous sightings include the Renault Koleos, Renault Arkana, Nissan Ariya, and Nissan X-Trail.

In the electric vehicle sector, we have seen the Nissan Leaf and a one-off Renault Kiger EV. Most of these test mules, including the Renault Austral, were spotted without any camouflage, drawing attention due to their unique designs and sizes.

Renault Austral Overview

The Renault Austral is a large crossover SUV built on the Renault-Nissan CMF-CD platform. It measures 4,510 mm in length, 1,825 mm in width, 1,644 mm in height, and has a wheelbase of 2,667 mm, putting it in the same category as the Tata Harrier and MG Hector.

The Austral is the spiritual successor of the Kadjar, which was popular in Europe and the UK.

Technical Specifications

The Renault Austral spied in India was the Austral E-Tech, featuring a 1.3L turbo petrol engine paired with a 400V hybrid system and a 2 kWh battery.

This combination delivers a total system output of 200 bhp, which could be a game-changer for Renault-Nissan in the premium segment. The company might be evaluating this powertrain’s performance and market potential with the test mule.

Potential Market Impact

Renault-Nissan has announced an aggressive product offensive backed by significant investment. Besides upcoming models like the Duster and Terrano, the alliance is looking to introduce premium vehicles, with the Austral positioned to compete with the Tata Harrier, Mahindra XUV700, and MG Hector.

Design and Features

  • Exterior Design: The Renault Austral boasts a striking design with an imposing Renault logo at the front, sleek LED headlights, C-shaped LED DRLs, a chrome-studded grille, arrow-shaped elements in the lower grille, stylish 20-inch alloy wheels, prominent creases, wide rear haunches, connected 3D LED tail lights, and a robust overall presence.


  • Interior Features: Inside, the Austral features a European-inspired design with high-quality materials, a 12-inch vertically oriented touchscreen infotainment system, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 9.3-inch heads-up display, Harman audio system, LED Matrix headlights, seating for five, up to 575L boot space, and an Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) suite including a 360-degree camera.


Key Takeaways

  • Renault Austral Spotted: The Renault Austral has been seen testing in Chennai, hinting at possible future introductions in the Indian market.
  • Premium Segment Potential: With its advanced hybrid powertrain and premium features, the Austral could rival popular models like the Tata Harrier, Mahindra XUV700, and MG Hector.
  • Aggressive Product Strategy: Renault-Nissan’s strategic investments and product launches indicate a strong focus on expanding their premium vehicle lineup in India.


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