Renault is planning to broaden its relatively meagre SUV stocks, and the next step in this project, a C-segment crossover sharing its make-up with the Nissan Qashqai, has once again been spied testing in Europe.
Of most interest this time is the fact we’ve been given a glimpse into the interior, which sports a vastly different layout to the Koleos that this car, along with a larger Nissan X-Trail-sized offering, will partially replace from later this year.
The new design is much cleaner and less cluttered than the current setup, and appears far more ergonomic to boot. A large central screen, presumably running a version of Renault’s R-Link multimedia system, sits above ventilation controls more or less lifted from the new Nissan Qashqai.
The steering wheel also has a new button layout, though certain audio controls appear to remain situated on a stalk behind the wheel rather than on it. Soft-touch leather with contrast stitching and glossy black plastic surrounds appear to feature heavily on the variant as tested.
Other new touches include the singular grab handle mounted on the passenger side of the transmission tunnel, the rectangular air vents, and a digital speedometer displayed on what appears to be a TFT screen with colour-coded modes.
One signature Renault peculiarity that remains is the unusual mechanism for operating the cruise control and speed limiter, which consists of the on/off buttons next to the (now electric) handbrake and the speed adjusting dial mounted on the steering wheel.
Our spy snappers also caught images of the heavily clad exterior, though these aren’t much different to what we have previously run. Gone is the current car’s angular design, which is replaced by an iteration of the company’s curvaceous styling language.
The car you see here will be based upon the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s CMF-C/-D architecture from its three-strong (A, B and C/D segment) Common Module Family, which by 2020 will host more than two-thirds of the group’s collective line-up.
Arriving hot on the heels of this model, which could debut as soon as the Geneva motor show this March, will be a larger replacement for the Renault Koleos, sharing much with the Nissan X-Trail.
Under this plan, the Koleos replacement — which may wear a new badge — will become larger than before and more definitively a D-segment offering.
Renault design chief Laurens van den Acker somewhat cryptically told us in Paris last October that: “I think the Koleos [badge] will phase out,” though the interpretation of that is somewhat open-ended.
The car you see in the spy shots here will naturally be a little smaller than the current Koleos, but larger than the Captur baby crossover that launches locally in February.
Strangely, Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar told us in October last year that the Qashqai-sized crossover you see here was no monty to come to Australia, given the brand’s focus on core models such as the Koleos.
That said, it’s hard to envisage the company not seeking a way to tap into a major growth segment, which grew almost 20 per cent in 2014. We’ll bring you more as soon as we know it.