Renault Rafale

Renault’s All-New Rafale Is The Brand’s New Flagship Model

The “Renaulution” is finally here and moving along at speed, with Renault making bold moves to re-brand themselves for the future. Now aiming to target the incredibly popular D-segment of large family cars, the all-new Rafale is a sharp-looking coupe SUV. There’s a lot to consider, especially as the order books are now open for UK customers, starting at an attractive £38,195 OTR. Built on the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s latest-generation CMF-CD platform, the new Rafale adopts a fastback design, that thankfully, doesn’t seem to compromise rear-passenger space.

There ought to be a good amount of headroom under that long wheelbase, as well as generous amounts of boot space (up to 647 litres). Framed within Renault’s new visual design and style, one of the coolest additions is a ‘Solarbay’ panoramic glass roof. It’s actually the first car in the world to use this technology, which darkens individual segments of the glass roof on demand. Whether you’d like parts of the glass roof to darken or want as much light as possible, you can even control it with your voice, via Google Assistant. The cockpit is a highlight of the Rafale.

Renault Rafale

All-New Design Language For The Renaulution

When it arrives on UK shores later this year, there are three trims that you can pick and choose from… The techno, techno esprit Alpine, and iconic esprit Alpine trims, respectively. Depending on which trim you choose, there’s a healthy mix of sustainable Alcantara upholstery (up to 61% of it is recycled, too), with cool ambient lighting, and a barrage of tech. Renault’s OpenR digital cockpit sees a 12.3-inch display for your gauges and a 12-inch infotainment screen. It’s nice to see Android Automotive making a presence here as well, given how intuitive it is.

Renault is also keen to promote more AI capabilities in the new Rafale. So much so, you can get suggestions through the infotainment system based on routine patterns, such as whether you’d like to switch off the A/C unit when you have a window open. An extra-large 9.3-inch heads-up display is available too, if you really want to feel like you’re piloting its namesake, the Dassault Rafale fighter jet. As far as power and performance go, it definitely won’t compete against a fighter jet. Nonetheless, the Renault Rafale does offer you something even better in return.

Renault Rafale

Hybrid Power And Four-Wheel Steering

When it launches, there will only be one powertrain option – a 200hp E-Tech full-hybrid petrol engine, paired with an automatic gearbox. In its segment, it offers class-leading fuel efficiency, capable of up to 683 miles of range on a full tank. And impressively, it’ll do 60.1mpg! This new full-hybrid powertrain matches a 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with two electric motors. One of those motors, powered by a 1.7kWh battery pack, works to supplement the ICE engine with extra power. Meanwhile, the other electric motor is a starter generator.

This results in a superb 41% energy efficiency ratio. Renault has even adopted F1 tech for how it works the transmission, as well as the Rafale’s regenerative braking. Down the line, Renault aims to offer a speedier version of the Rafale, featuring a 300hp plug-in hybrid powertrain. As it adds an additional motor on the rear axle, this gets you all-wheel drive. Another interesting addition is 4-wheel steering, as well as additional chassis and suspension tuning. Overall, I’m keen to put the Renault Rafale through the gauntlet and see if it really holds up to its rivals.

Renault Rafale

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