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The all-new Renault Rafale: Conquering new Horizons

NOW that the campaign to reconquer the C-segment – one of the main goals in the Renaulution strategic plan – is well underway with the Megane E-Tech electric, Arkana and Austral success stories, it’s time for Renault to make its next move on the D-segment. The first one was a reboot of the family-friendly All-new Espace; the second is a completely new and daring model: The All-new Rafale.

Now that Renault has revamped its arsenal of technology for hybrid powertrains, chassis, and electronic equipment, it could no longer deprive its customers of a vehicle born and bred for driving pleasure – or deprive the brand of a new flagship. The All-new Renault Rafale is both.

Rafale is a French word that evokes wind and is also an aeronautical reference. Aviation has played an important part in Renault’s history: the Caudron-Renault Rafale, which flew at a record-breaking 445 km/h in 1934, is only one example. The All-new Renault Rafale is the first production vehicle entirely designed according to the new visual language that Gilles Vidal has brought in as head of Design Renault. It is ushering in a new era in Renault’s design: it is visionary, daring, perfectly in tune with its time and tailor-made for a period when everything is moving ever faster and only avant-garde models will stay attractive throughout their life cycle.

The All-new Renault Rafale also features up-to-the-minute connectivity and a 200 hp E-Tech full hybrid powertrain that is as efficient as it is frugal and uses recycled materials.

It was born to take driving pleasure to ever-new heights and will be enhanced with technological breakthroughs that will rank it high up in the high-performance automotive universe with a new E-Tech 4×4 300 hp powertrain.

Renault has crafted its DNA around optimal driving pleasure – but not the self-centred kind: pleasure that the driver enjoys alongside passengers in a “car for life and living.” Driving pleasure is a priority, but never at the expense of passengers, who have plenty of space and amenities to enjoy as well. The All-new Renault Rafale is a gratifying SUV coupe, it looks as vibrant as it feels when you drive it, and it is an opportunity to share an intense driving experience with your friends or kids – however grown-up they may be.

The All-new Renault Rafale 200 hp E-Tech full hybrid will reach markets in spring 2024.

Fabrice Cambolive, the CEO, of the Renault brand, said: “The All-new Renault Rafale is central in the Renaulution, symbolises our move upmarket and shows that we belong in every customer segment. With its captivating coupe-SUV design crafted for intense experiences, it provides unprecedented driving pleasure with its hybrid powertrains and a standard-setting chassis brimming with passion and know-how from Renault engineers.”

Gilles Vidal, VP of Design, Renault brand, added: “The All-new Rafale is a powerful illustration of the Renault brand’s new design language. It is in keeping with its DNA through generous curves, treated with great precision, combined with lines of tension and technical details that bring character and sophistication to the whole. With its unprecedented style, quality craftsmanship and proportions, the All-new Renault Rafale asserts its power and personality on the road.”

A powerful status-symbol coupe-SUV

Its slightly raised fastback body shielded by Deep Glossy Black parts ranks the All-new Renault Rafale in the coupe-SUV category.

The vehicle’s silhouette is vibrant and sporty. Its long horizontal bonnet points to power. The bow beneath it is chiselled and features the new radiator grille and signature light pattern that Renault introduced on New Clio. The protruding bonnet and sculpted front bumper seem to impel the car forwards.

The protruding shoulders mass around the rear wheels, hinting at the power propelling the car. You can feel it is raring to go. The skid plate emerging from under the rear bumper also seems to thrust the car forwards. And the sloping roofline with one last jut points to speed.

“To work, design has to be just as powerful and effective if you are standing 50 metres, 10 metres or 50 centimetres away. From a distance, what strikes you is the All-new Renault Rafale’s forceful face and proportions. When you draw nearer, it’s the flowing line that wows you. And, close-up, it’s the attention to detail that catches your eye and sparks your interest,” said Alexis Martot, Head of Exterior Design, at Renault.

The All-new Renault Rafale is 4.71 metres long and 1.86 metres wide, squarely placing it in the D-segment. And it is 1.61 metres high, making it a quintessential sporty SUV.

As it has a long wheelbase (2.74 metres, the same as the All-new Espace), the All-new Renault Rafale’s roofline is flawlessly curved to provide plenty of headroom in the back seats and doesn’t impinge on the rear windshield.

The rear windshield tilts 17 degrees, which is exactly right for aerodynamic efficiency. And it renders rear wipers unnecessary, which keeps the car’s line pure.

Its wider wheel track (4 cm more than the All-new Espace) solidly grounds the vehicle and makes the most of the black parts of the wheels both from a vertical perspective (the wheels crop out slightly) and from a horizontal perspective (the 20-inch wheels fill the arches).

Agneta Dahlgren, CMF-CD Design Project Directo said: “The All-new Renault Rafale is sized to give it a status-symbol aura, its design is vibrant, and it has a powerful personality. So, it naturally stands out as the Renault brand’s new flagship.”

By The African Mirror