Renault’s Qashqai rival spied

24 Jan, 2013 11:59am Jack Rix

Renault is planning to add medium and large SUVs to its line-up, with a Qashqai–based model arriving next year

Renault is planning to expand its SUV family beyond the Captur with the addition of new medium and large crossovers, and these spy shots are the proof. Although the body from a current Scenic has been placed on top, underneath is the chassis and running gear for a new Qashqai-sized crossover.

There are a number of giveaways that this is a crossover and not a Scenic derivative. The first is the raised ride height, bigger wheels and extended wheel arches allowing for a wider track and more ground clearance. Renault engineers have also added additional weight above the roofline and to the A-pillars – a trick used to simulate the higher centre of gravity in an SUV.

As we learned from Renault’s global marketing boss Stephen Norman at the Geneva Motor Show last year, the plan is to introduce a mid-size crossover to sit above the Captur in 2014. Making use of the Renault-Nissan alliance, it will be based on the same chassis as the next-generation Nissan Qashqai, which is also due in 2014, and borrow styling cues from the Captur.

Interestingly, Renault already sells a Qashqai-sized C-segment crossover outside of Europe, and it's been a big success in emerging markets. A Renault-badged version of the Dacia Duster actually outsells its Dacia counterpart by two to one.

But the SUV explosion won’t stop there. Renault is already working on a replacement for the Espace, due to go on sale in 2015, but slow sales in the full-size MPV segment has forced it to rethink its strategy. That’s why an even larger seven-seat SUV will take its place in the line-up in two years' time.