The Renault Arkana SUV coupe is getting a larger sibling with a similar silhouette.
A prototype spied testing could be our first look – beyond a shadowy teaser released last year – of the company’s first model developed in conjunction with Geely.
This vehicle will be built in Korea, and use underpinnings from Geely following the Chinese automaker’s acquisition of a third of Renault Korea Motors which produces vehicles like the Koleos and Arkana for markets like Australia.
That could mean it’ll use the same CMA platform as models like the Volvo XC40. While Renault Korea Motors said it would be “based on a new platform”, it’s unclear if it simply means new for them.
This new model is being designed, developed and produced in Korea “based on the latest Geely-Volvo technologies for both local and export markets starting 2024”, according to the company.
There’s the classic sloping roofline and tailgate typical of today’s coupe SUVs. The front-end styling does appear to be slightly different to that of European Renault SUVs like the Austral and Espace, with unique LED daytime running lights.
“[The new model] will carry the brand’s ambitions through a breakthrough, modern and attractive style that will then be extended to the entire range,” Renault Korea Motors said last year.
Models on the CMA platform are available with a range of petrol, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric powertrains, though Renault Korea Motors has specifically said the new model will be a hybrid D-segment offering.
If this isn’t the new Geely-based model, it’s possible it’s another permutation of the new Renault Austral.
This Kadjar-replacing SUV has already spawned a stretched, three-row spinoff that has been christened the Espace.
One report suggests an Austral-based coupe could be called the Avantime, resurrecting the name of Patrick Le Quément’s high-roof, three-door hardtop wagon that defied convention.
The Avantime was unlike anything else on the market when it was launched in 2001, with no B-pillars but a sloping bonnet and boxy silhouette more like the then-people mover Espace, albeit with a sharply creased tailgate reminiscent of the contemporary Megane and Vel Satis.
Designed and developed by Matra for Renault, just 8557 examples of the Avantime were produced.
This new coupe-styled SUV is far more conventional than the avantgarde Avantime, which could arguably slot into Renault showrooms today without looking too out of place.
If Renault does launch an Austral-based coupe SUV that appears so similar to the Geely-based model, it wouldn’t be the first time the company has had similar-looking vehicles on different platforms for different markets.
Renault had two different versions of the previous-generation Captur, one for markets like Europe and Australia and the other for markets like Latin America and India, riding on two different platforms. It employed the same strategy with the Arkana.
Within the Austral and Espace line-ups, there are 118kW and 146kW turbocharged 1.2-litre three-cylinder hybrid powertrains, as well as 1.2- and 1.3-litre mild hybrids with outputs ranging from 96kW to 116kW.
Plug-in hybrid versions have yet to be revealed.
While SUV coupes have become more common among mass-market brands in China, they’re rarer elsewhere. The Arkana, the Citroen C4, and the GWM Haval H6 GT are the only such models in their segment locally, with this body style typically the purview of luxury brands.
If Renault dusts off the Avantime nameplate for its new model, it wouldn’t be alone in raiding the back catalogue for classic names.
Mitsubishi resurrected the Eclipse name, last used on a coupe and convertible, for a small crossover. Ford did the same with the Puma and is rumoured to be doing the same with the Capri name, while Opel will dust off the Manta nameplate.