Renault Austral Review & Prices

The Renault Austral is a mid-size SUV that features a smart cabin and hybrid-only power options, but it’s got its work cut out against some high-class competition

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RRP £34,695 - £39,195 Avg. Carwow saving £4,177 off RRP
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Reviewed by Jack Healy after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Funky design inside and out
  • Three ISOFIX points
  • Rear-wheel steering system is very useful

What's not so good

  • Not very comfortable over bumps
  • Hybrid system can feel clunky
  • Middling practicality in rear row and boot
At a glance
Body type
Available fuel types
Acceleration (0-60 mph)
8.4 s
Number of seats
Boot, seats up
487 litres - 5 Suitcases
Exterior dimensions (L x W x H)
4,510mm x 1,843mm x 1,621mm
CO₂ emissions
This refers to how much carbon dioxide a vehicle emits per kilometre – the lower the number, the less polluting the car.
105 - 110 g/km
Fuel economy
This measures how much fuel a car uses, according to official tests. It's measured in miles per gallon (MPG) and a higher number means the car is more fuel efficient.
60.1 mpg
Insurance group
A car's insurance group indicates how cheap or expensive it will be to insure – higher numbers will mean more expensive insurance.
23E, 22E, 21E
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Find out more about the Renault Austral

Is the Renault Austral a good car?

The Renault Austral is a new face in the popular mid-size SUV market and goes up against alternatives like the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson, as well as a host of other cars.

It’s a lot like the social media platform Threads – a newcomer that is joining a crowded sector of well-established outlets. It sits above the Arkana and Captur in the Renault SUV line-up, and replaces the old Renault Kadjar.

The looks of the Austral are rather smart, with a large grille and cool curved headlights, while there are lots of lines to emphasise the shape of the wheel arches and the lower part of the bodywork.

There's a sporty flavour to the rear too courtesy of wide taillights and a faux diffuser on the bumper.

The cabin design is a little fussy in places, but has a modern look and nice materials on the major touch points. You get two large screens for all the information you need, but the squared-off steering wheel has too many stalks behind it.

Space in the rear is okay, but if you’re behind a taller driver, adults may struggle to fit comfortably. As well as ISOFIX on the front seat, you get two on the outer rear seats, and they have handy covers.

With the help of a sliding rear bench, you can get up to 555 litres of boot space. But there’s quite a high lip, limited room under the floor and the seats don’t fold down flat. That’s middle of the pack for this segment, with the highly popular Kia Sportage and Volkswagen Tiguan ahead. With the seats all the way back, you have 430 litres.

The Renault Austral makes for a practical family car with some cool features, but the suspension's too firm

There’s only one engine available with the Austral – a hybrid consisting of a 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol paired to two electric motors and a seven-speed automatic. This self-charging hybrid has 200hp and 410Nm of torque, with 0-60mph taking 8.4 seconds, with a 1.7kWh battery used to drive the electric motors.

The rear-wheel steering on the top-spec car is seriously impressive, with a 10.1-metre turning circle - around the same as a Clio. You have 13 settings to alter how aggressive the rear wheel steering engages and it can feel odd when you use it for the first time.

However it makes the Austral very manoeuvrable in town, with progress simple thanks to the light steering. You get large wing mirrors to help negate the narrow rear window, and a 360-degree camera is on offer as well. It’s a shame it’s only fitted on the top-spec car.

Ride comfort can be a bit jittery on the 20-inch alloys and you feel it both in town and on a twistier road at higher speeds. The light steering so handy in town isn’t quite as assured here, but the rear-wheel steering does help with stability.

When you’re cruising at motorway speeds, the Austral is comfortable and feels very composed. The multiple driver assist systems include cruise control, while adaptive cruise control fitted on the top two trims makes long distances easier.

With many options in the same segment as this car, the Renault Austral does face a tough task of making serious waves. But the sporty looks and well-equipped cabin could offer you a strong alternative to the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage and Volkswagen Tiguan.

To get the best deals on the Renault Austral Carwow, where you can also find great prices on a used Renault Austral or other used Renaults. To change your car completely, you can sell your car through carwow as well, where our trusted dealers will bid on your car and get you the best price.

How much is the Renault Austral?

The Renault Austral has a RRP range of £34,695 to £39,195. However, with Carwow you can save on average £4,177. Prices start at £30,915 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £336. The price of a used Renault Austral on Carwow starts at £27,835.

Our most popular versions of the Renault Austral are:

Model version Carwow price from
E-Tech Full Hybrid Techno 5dr Auto £30,915 Compare offers

Looking at the alternatives in the mid-size SUV segment, the Renault Austral is more expensive than the likes of the Kia Sportage, Nissan Qashqai and Volkswagen Tiguan – though not by a huge amount when you consider the generous levels of standard equipment.

Performance and drive comfort

While the rear-wheel steering is a revelation in town, the Austral’s ride is a bit sharp at most speeds

In town

The Austral does feel well-suited to the urban environment - especially when it's fitted with the 4Control four-wheel steering setup. The system has 13 ssettings for how much rear-steer is added and in its most aggressive adjustment, it feels too quick for relaxed driving and you might steer more than you actually need.

The steering itself has a light feeling and with the 4Control system, you have a turning circle of just 10.1 metres – that’s city car levels of manoeuvrability. Without that setup the 11.4-metre turning circle is a touch larger than those from the Kia Sportage, Nissan Qashqai and Peugeot 3008.

As you get electric drive to reduce emissions and fuel usage, you can drive on electric power alone – although the car will decide when that happens. Like other so-called ‘self-charging’ hybrids, braking will charge the 1.7kWh battery, while you can adjust brake regeneration to be near to one-pedal driving or full coasting.

With the top setting, the Austral feels comfortable in electric mode and only introduces the petrol motor when it’s needed.

You may find the rear window to be a little narrow though, but thanks to large wing mirrors and a 360-degree surround view camera on the top-spec version, you’ll be able to manoeuvre fairly easily.

The biggest complaint is with the suspension. The Austral is very firm over bumps and poor surfaces, making it uncomfortable over all but the smoothest roads. It's a disappointment in what should be a comfortable family car.

On the motorway

An efficient hybrid engine and large fuel tank means the Austral has a long range - a refreshing change, when so many plug-in hybrid alternatives can barely manage 400 miles on a full tank. It's a good companion for a long journey, too.

The suspension is better suited to high speeds and means the Austral is much more comfortable on the motorway than it is round town. Standard-fit cruise control - and adaptive cruise control on most models - help take the sting out of really long trips, too.

There's plenty of power from the hybrid engine, though if you put your foot down you'll notice quite a delay as the whole system girds its loins. Keep to about 80% throttle and you'll progress much more smoothly. The thrum from the engine is ever-present, though.

Tyre noise on the larger 20-inch tyres is noticeable, but wind noise from the standard-fit roof rails is minimal.

On a twisty road

Having the 4Control rear-wheel steering setup means that you have decent stability when you go through sweeping corners. But when you switch it into Sport mode – one of the three modes you can choose – the only noticeable differences are that the engine holds its revs more keenly and it’s a touch more responsive. Steering weight barely changes.

Cars like this are never exciting, and although the design of the Austral is a bit sporty, the driving feel isn’t. The steering feels a bit remote, while the higher side of it can mean there’s a bit of lean through the corners.

The firmer suspension does mean that the rough surfaces on UK B-roads are felt in the cabin and bumps can feel pretty sharp. But for more relaxed drives, the Austral does a good job and the power unit will switch between electric and petrol drive with little disruption – although you can notice a grumble from the engine at times.

Space and practicality

The cabin has some decent space and storage, but the boot is a bit snug compared to alternatives

In a segment where practicality is key, the Austral does okay. Up front, you get a good amount of adjustment for the steering column and seats, with the electronic adjustment from mid-spec upwards making it even easier. The panoramic sunroof on the iconic Esprit Alpine top trim adds a feeling of spaciousness as well by letting more light in.

Around you, the storage options are good. The door bins either side are of a useful size, but made of scratchy plastics so things could rattle around. In the middle you have a deep bin to plug in your phone under the portrait-orientated touchscreen, while you get a secret compartment under a sliding lid that has the wireless charging pad, when fitted.

Under the armrest is a further storage bin, with access available from both front seats thanks to the split opening. For further practicality, there’s an ISOFIX point on the passenger seat, so you can have up to three child seats fitted.

Space in the back seats

With the moveable rear bench on top-spec cars, you can choose to prioritise room for passengers or storage. If you go for the latter, you get just enough legroom for an adult behind a driver of average height, while headroom is okay even when the panoramic roof is in place. Moving the bench back enhances the legroom and you’ll be comfortable on a long drive.

The middle seat is slightly raised but the seat base is squidgy for you to get comfortable. Three adults across the back will be squeezed a bit, but children will have enough space.

Storage in the back is a touch smaller than in the front, but you get decent door bins and nets on the seat backs, while USB-C ports offer charging for portable devices.

Boot space

If you get the Austral with the sliding rear bench, you get up 555 litres in the boot. Without it, the seats are fixed in their rearmost position and you have just 430 litres on offer – which is relatively pokey compared to the alternatives. You don’t get much underfloor space, while the lip to load things over is a bit deep.

The Kia Sportage offers 587 litres like-for-like with the hybrid Austral, while the ever-popular Nissan Qashqai’s offering is smaller at 504 litres with the e-Power model. The Hyundai Tucson in self-charging hybrid form has 616 litres, while the eHybrid version of the Volkswagen Tiguan has 476 litres.

While folding the rear seats down offers you up to 1,455 litres, the space itself isn’t the most practical. There’s a ridge between the boot floor and the folded seat backs, so sliding things through is very awkward indeed.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

The Austral has a smart cabin with large screens and decent materials, but it’s a bit dark without the sunroof in place

Similar to the Megane E-Tech all-electric hatchback, the cabin of the Austral is stylish, with different textures and large screens giving an interesting look overall.

Materials include leather for the square-like steering wheel, fabric upholstery for the seating – both Alpine-trimmed versions get a specific seat covering – and piano black trim in the centre console. That plastic does get smudged and scratched very easily though, and you’ll definitely find scratchy plastics around your legs.

All versions of the Austral get three displays. A 9.3-inch head-up display, a 12.3-inch customisable driver’s display and the central portrait 12.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, with Renault partnering with Google to help make an easy-to-use system.

With that Google software installed, the voice control system is simple to use – a lot like the setup on an Android phone – and the graphics are very crisp. The menus themselves can feel a bit complex and tricky to use on the move, as some options are buried under headings you wouldn’t expect.

You get wireless or wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connection, but the infotainment on offer is workable without having to do that.

The cabin has a lot of darker tones on all the surfaces, and without the panoramic sunroof it can feel quite dingy.

Renault has crammed the car full with useful equipment from the entry level, so has limited options to just a spare tyre on the entry car and two-tone paintwork on the mid- and top-spec models. Instead of ticking option boxes, you pick the spec at the right budget and equipment level for you.

MPG, emissions and tax

You only have one engine option with the Austral in the UK – a 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine paired to two electric motors and a seven-speed automatic gearbox.

With the electric motors kicking in to help with fuel economy and brake regeneration to charge the 1.7kWh battery pack, the petrol engine will cut out when it can, and the Austral’s official fuel economy figure is 60.1mpg.

On a mixed test route trying all three driving modes – Eco, Normal and Sport – we achieved 48.1mpg, but if you’re consistent with the driving mode and your driving, you can get close to Renault’s figure.

Emission figures are between 105-110g/km CO2 depending on trim level, so you’ll be paying £185 for the first year of VED at current levels. As none of the Austral options cost more than £40,000, you won’t need to pay additional fees.

Safety and security

Tested by Euro NCAP, the Renault Austral has a five-star safety rating, scoring especially well in occupant and safety assist categories – all above 80%. For the assists on this car, you have up to 30 systems to make your driving experience as safe as possible.

As standard, you get lane keep assist and departure warning, traffic sign recognition, blind spot warning, active emergency braking, driver attention alert and distance warning alert. You can get the Austral with adaptive cruise control and traffic jam assist to make longer drives easier.

You also get three ISOFIX points throughout the cabin, while there’s also airbags all around and an immobiliser.

Reliability and problems

Renault usually ranks in the middle of the market for reliability, and while the Austral remains fresh, there’s been no recalls or issues as of yet.

With each new Austral, Renault provides three years/60,000 miles of warranty, while you also get a battery warranty of eight years/100,000 miles. The battery will be replaced if the charge level of the unit drops below 67%.

Buy or lease the Renault Austral at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £34,695 - £39,195 Avg. Carwow saving £4,177 off RRP
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