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Renault Symbioz unveiled: new Qashqai-rivalling hybrid SUV coming soon

Renault has confirmed a few details on its latest SUV-shaped family car - including an unusual name

Mark Nichol

Words by: Mark Nichol

Published on 8 February 2024 | 0 min read

Renault’s newest family SUV will be called Symbioz and will turn up this spring, the company has announced today. “But,” you ask, “doesn’t Renault already do a Qashqai-sized family SUV?” Indeed it does. That's the Austral.
However, Renault is calling the Symbioz a “compact family car”, which will sit below the Austral in pricing and size terms, but above the Captur small crossover. It will launch with the E-Tech petrol-electric hybrid '145' engine only, the same one currently found in the Clio and Captur. We're also promised “generous amounts of space and loading capacity” from a body that’s a shade shorter than a Qashqai. In confirming the name – which we’ll come to, don’t worry – Renault has provided us with a few teaser pictures that suggest it has vaguely ‘coupe-like’ styling. Renault is also talking about “driving pleasure,” in the press release that accompanies the pictures you see here. Therefore, it seems like it’s being pitched as a more rakish alternative to the Austral, for those willing to sacrifice a bit of space for a bit of style. That’s basically the job that the Renault Arkana is supposed to do, though, which suggests the Arkana is now on its last legs.
The teaser pictures suggest a car with styling heavily influenced by the forthcoming Renault Scenic, including its arrow-like daytime running lights, thin headlamps and strong shoulder line below the rear windows. The interior will be based largely on the architecture of the latest Clio – no bad thing – and it’s likely that the panoramic glass roof will feature Renault’s ‘Solarbay’ tech. That’s basically a roof panel that can lighten or darken, like a pair of transition glasses but on a massive scale.
There’s a good chance a plug-in hybrid could come later down the line for the Symbioz, probably depending on how well initial sales go. Pricing should be around the £30,000 mark, possibly a couple of grand less in order to make it competitive in an extremely crowded market. Buyers in this segment can choose from a veritable cavalcade of SUV-style family hatchbacks, including (but definitely not limited to), the Peugeot 3008, Hyundai Kona and Skoda Karoq – as well as smaller models like the Ford Puma and Citroen C3 Aircross. So, the name. It’s derived from the word “symbiosis”, which means harmony between two things, or a mutually beneficial relationship. According to the person responsible for making up the car names at Renault, “the name Symbioz perfectly illustrates life with our vehicle, a place where passengers are as one with their vehicle and the environment.” Fair enough. Hopefully Renault has checked that it’s not already being used for an experimental restaurant concept in Shoreditch. Check out the latest Renault lease deals here.