Renault to launch Toyota Hilux rival

French maker taps Nissan on the shoulder to take-on Hilux

Nissan Navara D23

RENAULT will unveil a one-tonne pick-up later this year in concept form, to take on the hot-selling Toyota Hilux, Volkswagen Amarok and Ford Ranger in the highly lucrative segment.

The Hilux was the fourth best-selling vehicle in Australia in 2014, and Renault is keen to cash in on the demand for pick-ups with one of its own.  

To be based on the upcoming Nissan Navara, the new unnamed pick-up will most likely mirror its rivals in offering a range of two-door single-cab and four-door dual-cab body styles.

Everything forward of the A-pillars will feature unique Renault styling and panels, meaning that from the doors back, the French and Japanese-badged twins will be virtually identical. The Renault’s cabin may be given a makeover to keep it looking more on-brand than the Nissan’s.

The rest of the Renault will most likely be shared, including the separate chassis construction, double wishbone front end and leaf springs rear suspnsion.

The Renault will be powered by a four-cylinder engine range likely to include the new Navara’s 2.3-litre turbocharged petrol unit, as well as a 3.2-litre turbodiesel. An entry-level model is expected to use the 2.5-litre that’s found in the Nissan X-Trail.

Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar says that the new pick-up will bolster the brand’s growing sales. “A pick-up truck is something that represents a huge opportunity for Renault,” he told Wheels.

“It’s got a lot behind it, especially with the credibility of the [Renault-Nissan] Alliance’s experience in this segment,” he said. “The pick-up has the potential to become a core model and represent a good percentage of our sales. It’s a natural fit.”

The comments came on the same day that Renault announced its Kadjar SUV, based on the Nissan Qasqhai.

The unnamed ute will be revealed in 2016 and arrive in Australia showrooms by early 2017.


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Byron Mathioudakis

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