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As part of the ‘Renaulution’, Renault had planned to launch the Megane E-Tech, Arkana and Austral into the SUV C-segment. Taking a step upwards, the the new Espace was launched earlier this year and now there’s an entirely brand new model being added! Meet Rafale, the French brand’s daring take on the D-segment.

Side view of the Renault Rafale in Alpine Blue
Rafale’s name takes inspiration from Renault’s aviation history

Rafale becomes the brand’s new flagship and is a result of Renault’s new “arsenal of technology”, not just for interior equipment but also for hybrid power and chassis improvements. This is a car that was “born and bred for driving pleasure.”

Focus on the Renault and Rafale badge on the rear of the Renault Rafale SUV in Alpine Blue
Rafale is the first new Renault design overseen by Gilles Vidal

Rafale means to “evoke wind” in French and is a nod to Renault aeronautical links. The Caudron-Renault Rafale achieved a record breaking 445kmh in 1934 and is pictured in the background of the launch photos. Only one example of that plane was ever made so it’s quite special to see it outside!

Rear three quarters view of the Renault Rafale SUV in Alpine Blue
Renault’s new flagship SUV!

The Rafale is the first production vehicle designed entirely under Gilles Vidal, new head of Design at Renault. It signals the beginning of new “avantgarde” design language for the French brand. Power comes courtesy of a 200hp E-Tech hybrid system while the performance version adds a 4×4 system and 100hp more to make a total of 300hp! Oh, and there’s some Alpine badges too.

Rear three quarters view of the Renault Rafale in Alpine Blue
Alpine Blue is the hero colour

Renault say that driving pleasure was a key focus of the Rafale’s development but not at the expense of the passengers who can enjoy the “space and amenties” on offer. The end goal is to share the Renault driving experience with family and friends of all ages!

Deliveries of the all-new Renault Rafale E-Tech hybrid 200hp will begin around Q3 of 2024.

Thanks for reading! For more Renault news and reviews, visit Tarmac Life.

Words by Matthew D’Souza, pictures courtesy of Renault Media Global.

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