Renault Rafale: Flagship coupe-SUV priced from £38,195

This powertrain, electronically governed, doesn’t need a clutch because the car always starts under electric power only, and the meshing of the two-speed dog box is managed by the electric motor. There’s a 2kWh battery under the driver’s seat that allows short-range electric driving. 

Renault Rafale - rear quarter

Its 197bhp power output matches that of the Austral, allowing for a 0-62mph sprint time of 8.9sec. Fuel economy is officially rated at 60.1mpg.

The Rafale is priced from £38,195 in entry-level Techno trim, while Techno Esprit Alpine – adding four-wheel steering, Alcantara interior upholstery and electrical amenities including a heated steering wheel – costs £42,195. The range-topping Iconic Esprit Alpine car is £44,695 with the 197bhp powertrain.

The 295bhp four-wheel-drive Rafale has the same front-mounted powertrain as the original, but accompanies that with an electrified rear axle that uses a separate electric motor in unit with a rear differential. This model is a plug-in hybrid with a much bigger battery, understood to give an EV-only range of 30-40 miles.

Pricing for this version has yet to be announced.

The Rafale shares its platform, including wheelbase, with the family-oriented Austral and Espace but advertises its greater focus as a driver’s car with 40mm-wider front and rear tracks plus unique spring, damper and anti-roll bar specifications. Four-wheel steering is also available as an optional extra. This gives the Rafale a 10.4m turning radius at low speeds and is said to boost stability through bends at up to 30mph.

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