Revealed in the past few months, the Renault Rafale is officially available for the European and Italian markets. As the second SUV coupe offering after the Arkana, it aims higher in terms of positioning, with a more refined design, sporty touches, better build quality, and driving pleasure thanks to a dedicated setup.

Our test focuses on the Renault Rafale E-Tech Full Hybrid with 200 HP, which is also more suitable for business use, even though there is an interesting E-Tech 4×4 with 300 HP coming in the fall.

Renault Rafale: our tops and flops

The Renault Rafale plays an excellent role as a flagship, perhaps one that Renault has never managed to produce before. The pleasure of the design, very sophisticated and in full Gilles Vidal style (although perhaps too similar to some of his other creations), is combined with a very high construction quality, which leads to excellent soundproofing, top-level technological features, and plenty of space for five people and their luggage. The hybrid engine is smooth and, above all, efficient, with a consumption of 4.7 liters per 100 km. The only downside is that the gear changes are not so smooth and there are some creaks that spoil the overall experience.

What we like

  • Build quality
  • Excellent soundproofing
  • Onboard technology

What we don’t like

  • The gear shifts sometimes get stuck
  • Some materials creak
  • There are a few too many controls on the right side of the steering wheel

Prices in Scandinavia

Scandinavian prices are not available yet.

Design Icy

It’s a coupe, true, but with a fastback body that’s more interesting, blending elegance and sportiness. The design theme follows that of the Scenic E-Tech, more angular compared to other recent Renault models, with numerous edges and curves creating light effects.

Renault Rafale E-Tech 200
Image: NordiskBil

Rafale is Renault’s D-SUV offering, evident from its dimensions: it is 4.71 meters long, 1.86 meters wide, and 1.61 meters high, with a wheelbase of 2.74 meters ensuring good internal space, aided by a sloping and rearward roofline typical of fastbacks.


The interior follows the layout we already know from the Austral and Espace, although better finished. It features a two-spoke steering wheel, an inverted L-shaped layout for the two displays, and sporty seats that, in the Esprit Alpine trim, have an illuminated Alpine logo. The seats are made from 60% recycled Alcantara.

Renault Rafale E-Tech 200
Image: NordiskBil

There is also plenty of space in the rear due to the smart choice of a fastback body, although four people fit better than five. When only two are in the back, they can enjoy the rear armrest with a technological vocation, featuring two USB ports, storage compartments for tablets and smartphones, and two foldable supports for screens.

Renault Rafale E-Tech 200
Image: NordiskBil

A novelty is the large 1.5-meter-long and 1.1-meter-wide opacifying panoramic roof Solarbay, with AmpliSky technology that uses electric fields to move the films with Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal (PDLC) technology. This system guarantees maximum sun protection by opacifying the nine segments covering the surface upon request.

Renault Rafale E-Tech 200
Image: NordiskBil

The glass roof can be operated with a voice command through the integrated Google Assistant in the well-known Open R Link system or with a button on the ceiling console. It offers up to four positions: fully transparent, fully opaque, transparent at the front and opaque at the rear, or vice versa.

Engine and performance

The propulsion system is the one already tested with Austral and Espace, but livelier here due to the sleek shape. We are talking about the E-Tech full hybrid engine with 200 HP, with a “parallel series” architecture combining a 1.2-liter 3-cylinder gasoline engine with 130 HP and 205 Nm of torque with two electric motors.

Renault Rafale E-Tech 200
Image: NordiskBil

The internal combustion engine combines Miller cycle combustion, low-pressure exhaust gas recirculation, variable geometry turbo, and long-stroke architecture like a Diesel, with an efficiency of 41%. The main electric motor has 70 HP and 205 Nm of torque and is paired with a 2 kWh 400 Volt battery providing traction. The second motor is a 25 kW starter generator that starts the internal combustion engine and shifts the gears of the clutchless transmission.

Renault Rafale E-Tech 200
Image: NordiskBil

The car always starts in electric mode, automatically activates recuperation during deceleration and braking, promising to circulate up to 80% of the time in electric mode in the city, and saves up to 40% of fuel compared to thermal engines of equal power, combining the smoothness and driving pleasure typical of an electric car, but without the need for recharging.

The automatic multimode transmission is based on Formula 1 experience, with two gears for the electric motor and four for the thermal one, resulting in 15 combinations of use.

Renault Rafale E-Tech 200
Image: NordiskBil

Comfort is ensured by always standard front and rear multilink suspensions, and a greater presence on the road compared to Austral, thanks to tracks that are 40 mm wider and a tread width that is 10 mm wider on the 20’’ tires.

Do not forget the four-wheel steering 4C Control Advanced, standard on Esprit Alpine, which makes maneuvers much easier with the rear wheels steering up to 5 degrees opposite to the front ones, achieving a turning diameter of 10.4 m, typical of city cars.

Fuel consumptions and ADAS

I mentioned the engine being suitable for fleets because it has a good mix of performance and consumption, with 0-100 km/h in 8.9 seconds and 80-120 km/h in 5.6 seconds, for fuel consumption of just 4.7 liters per 100 km in the WLTP cycle, equivalent to diesel consumption, and a range of over 1,100 km.

Renault Rafale E-Tech 200
Image: NordiskBil

As for ADAS, the package is very rich:

  • Speed regulator and limiter;
  • Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go;
  • Distance Warning (DW);
  • 3D camera with 360° view (360° Around View 3D Camera or AVM);
  • Hill Start Assist (HSA);
  • Emergency Braking System;
  • Blind spot sensor;
  • Traffic Sign Recognition with speed alert;
  • Front and rear detection with emergency trajectory correction;
  • Lane Keeping Assist;
  • Lane departure warning;
  • Driver attention monitoring system;
  • Trailer stability control;
  • Front, rear, and side parking sensors;
  • Reverse exit alert;
  • Hands-free Parking / 3D 360° camera;
  • Occupant safe exit alert.

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