Renault Shakes Up the SUV Market Again with the Larger Rafale: Meet the Futuristic Coupe-SUV That’s Redefining Luxury and Design

  • Renault’s game-changing Rafale takes the coupe-SUV trend to new heights, introducing a larger and more futuristic model that combines luxury, innovation, and sporty design.
  • With its sleek silhouette, advanced features like rear-wheel steering and a hybrid powertrain, and an opulent interior, the Renault Rafale aims to revolutionize the D-segment SUV market.

Coupe-SUVs were always considered a luxury item, but Renault made the body type mashup mainstream with the introduction of the tiny Arkana a little more than three years ago. In mid-2023, the business with the diamond emblem will release a larger model named after a 1934 racing plane. Meet the Rafale, the brand’s first D-segment swoopy sport utility vehicle to completely embrace the new design language.

Rafale SUV has the same new front grille design and matrix LED light signature as the recently updated 2024 Clio. It, too, is available in a flagship Esprit Alpine specification, which is also available for the Espace, from which it has inherited the 2.74-meter (107.8-inch) wheelbase. It lacks the practicality of a conventionally shaped SUV due to its sloping roofline, but it still has a considerable load capacity of 530 litres (18.7 cubic feet) with the rear seats in place.

It lacks the third row of the Espace because Renault aims to offer the Rafale with only five seats, with minimal back headroom reduction despite the coupe-like roofline. The new addition to Renault’s expanding portfolio is 4.71 metres (185.4 inches) in length and 1.86 metres (73.2 inches) in width, with a large 1,470 x 1,117 mm (57.8 x 43.9 in) panoramic glass canopy that may be entirely opaque or fully transparent. It includes two extra options because the front area can be opaque while the back section is transparent, or vice versa.

Given the wider axles (+4 cm) and thick 245-mm tyres, it should appear more intimidating in person than the Espace. The advancement of Renault’s rear-wheel steering to boost grip and turning speed on uneven ground is another innovative feature. Satin Pearl White and Alpine Blue paint colours are distinctive to the Rafale, with the latter being a more intense blue tone than the A110.

The 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is accompanied by a 12-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen on the inside, echoing several of Renault’s current vehicles, including the Megane E-Tech Electric, where it was first fitted. The infotainment system, which runs on Android Automotive 12, allows wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Customers will be able to order the coupe-SUV with a 9.3-inch head-up display that will reflect pertinent information onto the windscreen.

Powertrain in Renault Rafale SUV

A hybrid system combining a turbocharged three-cylinder engine and two electric motors provides power. The 1.2-liter gasoline engine provides 130 horsepower (96 kW) and 205 Newton-meters (151 lb-ft) of torque, while the main e-motor produces 70 horsepower (50 kW) and 205 Newton-meters (151 lb-ft). The secondary e-motor is a starting generator with 34 horsepower (25 kW) and 50 Nm (37 lb-ft) of torque. Renault claims a total output of 200 horsepower to match the Espace.

The Rafale will later receive a newly developed plug-in hybrid configuration with 300 hp and all-wheel drive by adding an electric motor in the back. It will also have revised rear-wheel steering and model-specific chassis tuning.

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