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Renault introduces a third SUV

By raccars Published

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Can a third, larger SUV repeat the successes of the Renault Captur and Kadjar models?

The Renault Captur and Kadjar SUVs revitalised the French brand's sales. Competing in the crowded compact and medium sized SUV sectors respectively, they take advantage of Renault's alliance with Nissan and the Japanese firm's undisputed expertise in this area. At the 2015 Geneva Motor Show a third, larger SUV was announced, which will once again use a Nissan platform, the Common Module Family (CMF) platform.

Out with the Koleos, in with the Maxthon?

Effectively a replacement for the increasingly irrelevant Koleos which has been withdrawn from a number of international markets (although it still does well in China), it's unlikely that Renault will retain that name. Industry speculation suggests that 'Maxthon' is a strong naming probability as Renault has apparently registered the name with the Chinese intellectual property authority. Renault is putting the finishing touches in development now so more images and details are expected soon.

Thanks due to the Nissan X-Trail

Based upon the third generation Nissan X-Trail seven seater, Renault's third SUV will be a spacious five seat model. Apart from the chassis, some of the X-Trail's mechanicals will also be appropriated by Renault and apparently there is scope in the development to add another two seats later on if required.

Renault may also rely upon its alliance with Nissan to use some of the X-Trail's engines. Prototypes are currently being tested and have been spotted out and about during winter testing in Sweden, albeit heavily disguised. Industry watchers expect the Maxthon to reach the market next year, initially going on sale in China before arriving in Europe.

How it fits in at Renault

Spy shots have shown that the Maxthon will follow Renault's current design language as seen on the Kadjar and the new Megane. Next to the Kadjar there's a clear size difference between the two models. Renault's design team has been careful not to come up with simply a larger version of the Kadjar and has designed the Maxthon as a unique and more conservatively styled model which will slot in beneath the Espace in the brand's line-up.

The firm has also taken care to ensure clear differentiation between the Espace MPV and the more athletic Maxthon in order to avoid diluting sales, although the SUV will follow the Espace's ambitions to premium status.

The car will be built alongside the Kadjar at a new Chinese factory due to open later this year. But European models are more likely to be built at the existing Renault plant in South Korea. Hopefully Renault should be ready for a debut at April's Beijing Motor Show, with China an important market for Renault in this sector. A European version could make an appearance in October at the Paris Motor Show.

Prices and specs

Judging by the firm's latest product offerings, the third SUV is likely to offer Renault's R-Link 2 infotainment system with an 8.7 inch touchscreen interface and a three spoke multifunction steering wheel. Petrol and diesel engines are expected, plus a possible plug-in hybrid version.

Competition includes not only the Nissan X-Trail on which it is based but also the Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento and the forthcoming new seven seat SUV from Skoda, among an array of other new SUVs. The Captur and Kadjar models follow a similar pricing structure to their Nissan counterparts the Juke and Qashqai, so it's reasonable to assume that the X-Trail-based SUV could assume a similar pricing structure to that model too, opening at about £23,000.

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