By Otsile Kadiege
Renault has lifted the veils off the all-new Rafale. It’s a stunning coupe-like D-segment SUV which is the French automaker’s new flagship SUV model. The Rafale (a name derived from the aviation days of Renault) boasts the brand’s latest design philosophy, a plethora of new smart technologies, hybridised powertrains, numerous driver assistance systems, level-2 autonomous driving and a fairly roomy cabin with an impressive luggage capacity.
The Rafale sports a fastback-style body with modern design cues inspired by the Scenic Vision concept car in 2022 and first applied to a road-going car, the updated Clio, in 2023. Up front, the Rafale has a diamond black coloured pattern grille made up of a constellation of small diamonds that arrange space in three dimensions around the emblem in the middle. It’s flanked by slim, aggressive-looking standard LED headlights with Adaptive Vision technology – higher spec models are fitted with headlights featuring Matrix Vision technology. The lower section of the front bumper is flanked by boomerang-style LED daytime running lights.
In profile, the Rafale shows off its coupe-like silhouette and slopping roofline. Other noteworthy design highlights are sharp body creases, visible cut-outs, contrast body cladding and wheel size up to 20-inches. At the rear, the Rafale sports a roof spoiler, an integrated tailgate spoiler, pistol-shaped LED taillights, ‘Rafale’ lettering on the tailgate and contrasting gloss black lower bumper.
Its exterior dimensions are as follows: length of 4.71 m, width of 1.86 m, height of 1.61 m and a wheelbase of 2.74 m.
Inside, the Rafale has a modern and somewhat futuristic interior which was adopted from its stablemates like the new Megane E Tech and Austral. Highlights include a top- and flat-bottom multifunctional steering wheel, a steering column mounted gear lever, a large 9.3-inch head-up display, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 12-inch diagonal touchscreen, and Android-based operating system, a minimalist centre console with a prominent arm rest, newly designed sporty seats with an illuminated Alpine logo on the back rest, a darkening panoramic glass roof, ambient lighting and a luggage capacity of 647 litres to name a few.
Driver assistance systems
On the safety and driver assistance side of things, the Rafale comes with 32 advanced driver assistance systems (ADASs) divided into three categories: driving, safety and parking. These include Active Emergency Braking System (AEBS) and Rear AEB, including cross-traffic warning, Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Change Warning (LCW), Driver Attention Alert (DAA), Trailer Stability Assist (TSA).
Assistance systems include Cruise control, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Stop & Go, Distance Warning (DW), Around View Monitor (AVM, providing 3D, 360 degree vision), Hill Start Assist (HSA), front, rear and side parking assistance, Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Bird’s Eye View and Occupant Safe Exit Alert (OSE).
The Rafale will be available with two powertrains with hybrid technology. The least powerful of the two will be powered by a full hybrid 1.2-litre petrol engine making 96kW and 205Nm. It also has a 2 kWh/400V lithium-ion battery for full-electric driving. The secondary electric motor is a 25 kW and 50 Nm High-voltage Starter Generator (HSG) that starts the engine and powers gear changes in the clutchless dog box. The total system output is 200hp (149kW). Renault has a high-performance E-Tech 4×4 version with 300 hp (224kW) in the pipeline.
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