Renault Australia has confirmed it will introduce the Renault Kadjar mid-sized SUV to the local market next year, and has its eyes set on another all-new model.
Built in Spain, the Kadjar shares underpinnings with Nissan Qashqai but Renault insists it’s more than just a rebadge, bringing its own distinctive styling and bespoke interior fit and finish.
It’s also powered by different engines to the 2.0-litre petrol found in the local Qashqai range, including a 1.8-litre turbo-diesel and a punchy 1.3-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol developed in conjunction with Mercedes-Benz.
Managing director Andrew Moore told WhichCar the Aussie bound Kadjars are likely to arrive with just the 1.3-litre petrol, which he believes will be a good selling point along with its European styling.
“I want to push more turbo because Renault is really good with that with the torquey engines more fun to drive. Based on all the numbers (the 1.3-litre turbo petrol) is a terrific powerplant for here in that car.”
Moore said the 1.8-diesel won’t be considered for the Australian Kadjar range, with his preference being a simple line-up with a single, front-wheel-drive-only powertrain across different spec grades.
Due to arrive here in the second half of 2019, the Kadjar is an important model for Renault Australia, which has been unable to plug the size gap between the Capture crossover and the Nissan X-Trail based Koleos.
Moore admits the void is costing the company valuable sales here.
Read next: 2018 Renault Captur Intens quick review
“A customer will come in that might want a to buy a Koleos, but if they feel the Koleos is too big they don’t consider a Captur, it’s too small, and vice versa, so we don’t get any rub off between our SUVs.
“We’re constantly pushing Koleos and if it’s not the car that meets the customer’s requirements it’s difficult for us to retain that customer. So that creates a significant opportunity for Kadjar in the line-up.”
Even so, Moore believes the Koleos will remain Renault Australia’s top-selling Renault, with 2200 sales so far this year representing almost a third of Renault’s 7000 total sales.
Renault Australia will finalise Kadjar pricing closer to launch, but Moore said it will compete with arch rivals including its Qashqai cousin and the Honda HR-V, Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson, with active safety such as autonomous emergency braking likely to be standard.
Moore also revealed he’s keen to bring the new Arkana coupe-crossover, which was revealed last month primarily for the Russian market, but also looks destined for right-hand-drive countries including Japan.
“We’re proposing some significant volume for Arkana, it would be one of our four top-selling models.
“I feel really positive about that car. It looks great, we want to make it good value, and it’s a segment breaker.
“If you look at competitors it’s hard to compare because all the big crossover type cars like the (BMW) X4 and X6 are so much more expensive.”