The Renault Kadjar will be replaced by a new model with a name directly inspired by the Great Southern Land: Austral.
According to Sylvia Dos Santos, the head of model naming within Renault’s global marketing department, “Austral conjures up the vibrancy and heat of the southern hemisphere and extends an invitation to explore, which makes it an ideal fit for an SUV”.
Perhaps more importantly, Austral has a “harmonious balance of sounds that are easy to pronounce by people all around the world”.
Spy shots out of Europe show the Austral will have styling directly inspired by the Megane E-Tech Electric, which will serve as the design template for most future Renaults.
The teaser released overnight indicates the Austral will have thin C-shaped LED tail-lights, including a top section that stretches across the entire width of the tailgate.
Measuring 4.51m long, the new Austral will be a bigger vehicle than the 4.45m Kadjar. The Austral will ride on the CMF-CD platform from the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, and its size straddles the gap between the related Nissan Qashqai and X-Trail.
The Austral will be about the same size as the 4.55m Arkana, although it should have a more practical interior and spacious boot thanks to its more upright styling.
Locally, the Kadjar was discontinued in February this year after just one full year on sale.
Although the Kadjar remains available and popular in Europe, it was replaced Down Under by the made-in-South Korea Arkana coupe crossover that’s also sold in Europe.
It’s unknown at this stage if the Austral will be sold in Australia. If, like the Kadjar, it’s only produced in Spain and China, sourcing it at competitive prices for the Australian market might be an issue.
Overseas reports have suggested the Kadjar replacement could also spawn a three-row variant to replace the Koleos in Europe.
Should the Austral miss the boat to Australia despite its deeply Australian name, it won’t be without precedent: the Renault Alaskan — a Nissan Navara with a Gallic front end — was never sold in Alaska.
History lovers, as well the older among us, will remember austral as one of the names mooted for Australia’s primary decimal currency unit to replace the pound.
After a public consultation process the Menzies government announced the currency would be known as the royal. The name was so detested by the populace, after three months the government did about face and changed the name to dollar before the Australian Mint had the change to press a single royal into being.