New Renault Symbioz family SUV: Price, specification and on-sale date

The Renault Symbioz is a new family SUV that focuses on practicality, offering up to 624 litres of boot space and a sliding rear bench seat. Here's everything you need to know...

Renault Symbioz front static

On sale September 2024 | Price from £29,250

Its name is a collection of letters to give Countdown players a panic attack, but its maker hopes that Renault Symbioz will soon be a part of everybody’s daily lexicon. What you’re looking at here is Renault’s new rival to the Nissan Qashqai – a family SUV that’s rarely out of the best-seller lists. The Symbioz’s main game plan is to offer more car for your money than you get with the Qashqai, the Kia Niro or the Toyota CH-R.

Renault Symbioz first look front static

Having a name derived from “symbiosis” is pretty appropriate, because the Symbioz lives in very close proximity to the Renault Austral in the french brand’s line-up – a car that’s just 97mm longer and is a Qashqai rival in itself. Mechanically, though, the Symbioz has more in common with the smaller Renault Captur, including its E-Tech 145 hybrid system, which combines a 1.6-litre petrol engine and two electric motors for a total of 143bhp.

Officially, 0-62mph takes 10.6 sec – the same time as the Captur and two seconds slower than the Austral. All three cars share an official fuel economy figure of 60.1mpg.

There’s more than a hint of Renault Captur about the Symbioz's styling: the two models share an almost identical front end, with a faux-grille design, slim LED headlights and stacked LED daytime running lights. Around the rear end, though, the Symbioz has a distinctive look of its own, with 3D-effect LED tail lights and a higher window line.

Renault Symbioz first look rear static

Driving impressions will have to wait until the embargo lifts in August, but we’ve been able to get our hands on the Symbioz to check out the inside story. And very eye-catching it is, too. Every model gets a configurable 10.25in digital instrument panel, with a central portrait-oriented 10.25in OpenR Link infotainment touchscreen nearby. This is powered by Google, so not only can it sync with your own user profile and contacts, but Google Assistant also looks after operation of key features via voice control. It also gives you access to more than 50 apps, including Youtube. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity are standard, too.

Renault Symbioz first look dashboard

Below the touchscreen, there’s a welcome array of piano-key physical switches for direct operation of most climate control features, including interior temperature, fan speed, air distribution and screen demisters front and rear. This means you don’t have to dive into an infotainment menu for these settings, but it’s a shame that the switches aren’t made from the solid, cold metal that their looks suggest; their silvered plastic finish feels a little cheap.

Renault Symbioz first look infotainment

Depending on the trim level, prominent interior surfaces get differing treatments; Iconic trim places soft faux-leather in front of the passenger, and Techno Esprit Alpine switches this for a fabric inspired by contemporary sportswear. Elsewhere, the plastics used are pleasant enough; nothing will have you recoiling in horror, but the Qashqai feels a touch more plush in general.

Renault Symbioz first look Solarbay roof

The Qashqai can’t match the Symbioz’s impressive Solarbay panoramic roof, though; in place of a headroom-stealing mechanical blind, the glass itself can be darkened in four configurations to reduce direct sunlight, controlled by a toggle switch on the ceiling. It's standard with top Iconic Esprit Alpine trim.

Renault Symbioz first look front seats

There’s little to fault in the driving position; there’s plenty of seat adjustment (electric in Techno Esprit Alpine trim and above) and the seat, steering wheel and pedals line up nicely, and you sit higher than you would in a family car, for a good view out (although the Qashqai’s driving position is slightly more elevated). Few adults will find any cause for complaint in the amount of room they have in the front.

Renault Symbioz first look rear seats

The same is true in the rear, but with a caveat. Like the Austral, the Symbioz has a sliding rear bench, and rolling this all the way back affords sufficient leg room for six-footers when the front seats are occupied by similarly tall folk. They’ll be happy enough with head room, too, albeit the way the ceiling curves to the side of the car means they’ll need to duck to get in and out. If you slide the rear bench all the way forwards, though (creating a huge 624-litre boot in the process), all that leg room disappears, rendering the rear seats a child or child seat-only zone. 

Happily, the boot is a reasonable size (492 litres) even with the rear bench all the way back. For context, the Qashqai offers 504 litres – enough to hold seven carry-on suitcases. The Symbioz has an adjustable boot floor, too; in its highest setting, it creates a virtually flat load floor from the entrance all the way to the front seatbacks when the rear seats are folded down, creating a 1582-litre load bay.

Renault Symbioz first look boot

Where the Symbioz lands its heaviest blow on the Qashqai – on paper at least – is in terms of price. In entry-level Techno trim, it undercuts the considerably less well equipped entry-level Qashqai by several hundred pounds – or by several thousand pounds when the Qashqai is hybrid powered. 

Techno trim starts at £29,250, and that gets you the infotainment features described above, plus adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, a rear-view camera, two USB-C ports for each row of seats, wireless smartphone charging, automatic air conditioning and 18in alloy wheels.

Techno Esprit Alpine comes next, at £31,295, and this adds electrically adjustable, heated front seats, a hands-free electric power tailgate, blind-spot warning, lane-keeping assistance and rear cross-traffic assist. The alloy wheels are upgraded to 19in.

Heading the range is Iconic Esprit Alpine. Weighing in at £33,295, it gives you that Solarbay opacifying glass sunroof and swaps the rear-view camera for a 360deg surround-view set-up. It also adds a 9-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.

Order books are now open, with customer deliveries expected to begin in late September. Keep your eye out for our full Renault Symbioz review.

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