With the mainstays of its range renewed or refreshed, Renault is now rumoured to be considering niche-targeted products to add some sizzle to its line-up.
According to Britain’s Autocar, the likely candidate will come in the form of a coupe-styled SUV, with a fastback five-door body-style giving precedence to form over function.
Renault has previously stated that its former niche attractions, the Twingo-based Wind roadster, Megane convertible and Laguna coupe (now replaced by the Talisman range) won’t reappear, potentially freeing up space on the production schedule.
It’s no secret that SUVs represent some of the biggest market growth sectors in new car markets around the globe, so it makes sense for Renault to pursue that option.
Although not confirmed, the niche 'sports car SUV' will likely follow a trail blazed by the likes of the BMW X4 and Mazda CX-4 - taking its underpinnings and mechanical package from one of Renault’s more prosaic SUV offerings and dressing it up with sleek new sheetmetal.
The term SUV-coupe is (once again) something of a misnomer, as Renault’s “coupe” is expected to retain a five-door form, albeit with a lower roofline and raked tailgate.
With the mooted new model barely in its gestational stages, the mechanical package is unknown, although Renault could potentially spring it off the compact Captur platform, or upsize with the larger Koleos floorpan.
The most likely option is somewhere in between. This would point to the Kadjar, which is dimensionally similar to the Nissan Qashqai with which it shares its underpinnings (but not offered for sale in Australia), as the more logical basis for the new model.
The Kadjar base would also allow Renault to tap into the ‘premium compact’ market, with a right-sized vehicle for urban buyers, for whom a large car is no longer a practical option.
With the Paris Motor Show coming up, Renault is again likely to feature an attention-grabbing concept as its central attraction. But don't go looking for this one; October’s Paris affair is too early to preview the new crossover.
Top of page: 2011 Renault Captur Concept
MORE: Renault News and Reviews