At Renault, it's just like in after-work traffic: you can still find a gap. In the case of the French brand in the SUV programme between the Captur and Austral. Say hello to the new Symbioz.

The unconventional name was already emblazoned on a study back in 2017, but the new compact SUV has little in common with it. Rather, it's about not letting the new Dacia Duster and the recently revised Nissan Qashqai take the butter off the Group's bread, even if Renault doesn't say this publicly, of course.

Gallery: Renault Symbioz (2024)

Exterior

But the similarities can be seen partly in the profile, but also in the dimensions. A closer comparison of the trio will follow soon, but here and now the focus is on the new Renault Symbioz (pronounced with a soft S at the end, please!).

The Symbioz is based on the extended CMF-B platform, which is also used by the Clio and Captur in the B-segment and the Arkana in the C-segment. Let's take a look at the exact dimensions:

Renault Symbioz (2024)  
Length 4,413 mm
width 1,797 mm
Height 1,575 mm
Wheelbase 2,638 mm
Front overhang 892 mm
Rear overhang 890 mm
Ground clearance 169 mm
Unladen weight around 1,500 kg
Boot capacity 492 - 1,582 litres

This puts the Renault roughly on a par with the Nissan Qashqai, but a good 13 centimetres shorter than the new VW Tiguan.

Renault Symbioz (2024)

Renault Symbioz (2024)

VW Tiguan (2024)

VW Tiguan (2024)

There is a choice of seven body colours for the Symbioz, including the new Mercury Blue colour. DeZir Red is offered free of charge in the configurator, which also includes five other colours: Pearl White, Rafale Grey, Black Pearl Black, Steel Grey and Iron Blue. The design of the Symbioz is rounded off by large 19-inch wheels in the Esprit Alpine and Iconic versions. All wheels (18 and 19-inch) are new and exclusively designed for this model.

Interior

A mixture of Captur and Austral. This is our first impression of the Symbioz cockpit. In fact, Renault itself says: "The Symbioz's instrument panel has a similar layout to its counterpart in the new Captur."

The rear bench seat can be moved lengthways by 16 centimetres, so that rear passengers benefit from up to 221 millimetres of knee room. When the rear bench seat is in the foremost position, the boot volume increases from 492 to 624 litres and up to 1,582 litres when the rear seats are fully folded down (60:40).

Renault Symbioz (2024)

The boot has no lip, so the flat floor is easily accessible and even bulky items can be loaded without any problems. What does the first seat test in the Symbioz reveal? Even without adjusting the rear seat, the legroom is good, as is the headroom despite the panoramic glass roof. There is also little to criticise in the cockpit. It's easy to find your way around, and it's a nice touch that Renault hasn't completely dispensed with real buttons. The displays are functional and informative.

Renault Symbioz (2024)
Renault Symbioz (2024)

The Symbioz also offers 24.7 litres of storage space in the interior, seven litres of which are in the glove compartment alone.

The Solarbay panoramic glass roof, which was first used in the Rafale and Scenic E-Tech Electric, is also available for the Symbioz. With the "AmpliSky" technology, the Solarbay glazing makes a roller blind superfluous. The active system darkens the sunroof segment by segment on request using PDLC (Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal) technology, in which the molecular structure reacts to an electric current.

Renault Symbioz (2024)

Connectivity

The Techno version of the Symbioz is already equipped with the OpenR Link multimedia system with integrated Google, which is based on Android Automotive 12. The onboard infotainment system allows wired and wireless smartphone integration via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

The central 10.4-inch vertical touchscreen (in all versions) is familiar from Renault. In addition, a 10.3-inch driver display shows driving information including navigation instructions. In addition to Google services such as Google Maps and Google Assistant, many other apps (50 or more depending on the country and version) are available via the Google Play catalogue.

Drives

For the time being, the Renault Symbioz only has the E-Tech 145 hybrid drive, but other "normal" petrol engines are likely to follow. A diesel is not expected. The combination of serial and parallel hybrid system combines two electric motors - a 36 kW (49 PS) electric motor and an 18 kW (24 PS) high-voltage starter generator (HSG) - with a 94 PS 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, which is coupled with an intelligent, clutchless multi-mode gearbox and a 1.2 kWh battery for a combined power output of 145 PS.

The multi-mode transmission for the E-Tech Hybrid 145 has two gears for the electric drive and four gears for the combustion engine. Gear changes are automatic. The system allows a total of 14 gear and drive combinations.

Renault Symbioz (2024)

The Symbioz always starts in electric mode, so that the driver can drive fully electrically up to 80 per cent of the time in the city. On the motorway, the drivetrain is designed so that the combustion engine drives the wheels directly without the electric motors running alongside, as is the case with conventional hybrid systems.

Like the Clio and Captur, the Symbioz also has the new "E-Save" function, which is activated via a button on the left-hand side of the steering wheel. The aim of this function is to reduce fuel consumption while maintaining driving comfort by keeping the battery charge at a level of at least 40 per cent.

Prices

Renault is still keeping a low profile on this topic. A look at the hybrid versions of the Captur, Arkana and Austral provides a rough guide. In the UK, these are priced at £24,895, £27,095 and £34,695 respectively. Our tip: around £29,000 as the base price.