New Renault Symbioz mixes hybrid power with a family-friendly interior

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...

Renault Symbioz front static

On sale September 2024 | Price from £29,500 (est)

It’s no secret that car names have been reaching new boundaries recently, with some new models being named after pubs, cats and even marine mammals. So, where does the new Renault Symbioz (pronounced sim-be-oz) fall into the mix?

Well, the name of this new model derives from the ancient Greek word ‘symbiosis’, which means 'living together'. This, then, starts to make some sense, because the Renault Symbioz is a new family SUV that has been designed to be one of the more spacious and practical cars in the class. It fits between the Renault Captur and Renault Austral in the company’s range, and rivals the Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage.

Renault Symbioz side static

There’s more than a hint of Renault Captur about the styling: they share an almost identical front end, with a faux-grille design, slim LED headlights and stacked LED daytime running lights. 

There’s a big differentiation between the two cars as you head around the side and towards the rear, where the car is much longer to accommodate the extra interior space. The rear end is also different, with 3D-effect LED tail lights and a high window line designed to give the Symbioz a strong stance.

Renault Symbioz rear static

The similarities are more than skin deep, too. Powering the Symbioz is the same 1.6-litre hybrid system we’ve already tested in the Captur, plus the Renault Clio hatchback which is our current Small Car of the Year. With a total of 143bhp when the petrol engine and electric motor join forces, acceleration should be reasonable, and with it being a hybrid you’ll be able to run on electric power alone for short distances.

With an official combined fuel economy figure of 61.4mpg, the Symbioz should be cheap to run. Renault has hinted that other engines will be available at a later date, which opens the door to the possibility of a 1.0-litre petrol engine or plug-in hybrid version. 

Renault Symbioz interior

Captur similarities continue inside, with both cars offering a near identical dashboard design. As such, the infotainment system is familiar; it’s Renault’s latest Google-based system that’s housed in a crisp 10.4in vertical touchscreen. We’ve tried this system in other Renaults such as the Renault Megane E-Tech and Renault Scenic, and can confirm it’s intuitive with a simple layout and quick response time. The driver also gets a 10.3in digital display, which is configurable and can show functions such as Google Maps for your sat-nav. 

We’ve had the chance to sit inside the Symbioz, and can confirm interior quality is decent, with plenty of soft-touch plastics on the dashboard and centre console. There are also loads of storage areas throughout the interior, with large door bins and multiple storage cubbies.

Renault Symbioz interior back seats

Space is pretty good in the back seats, with enough head and leg room for those over six-feet tall, plus you can slide the bench seat so you can choose between leg room or boot space as you see fit. It’s worth noting, though, that rear leg room is very tight with the bench seat pushed all the way forwards.

The Symbioz has 492 litres of boot space, which is less than the Qashqai (504 litres) and Sportage hybrid (587 litres). However, with the second row of seats slid all the way forwards, that capacity lifts to 624 litres, which beats those rivals. The boot floor is also height adjustable, making it easier to slide luggage in and out. Overall, there should be plenty of space for several carry-on suitcases – no matter the seat configuration.

Renault Symbioz boot

Three trim levels will be offered in the UK: Techno, Techno Esprit Alpine and Iconic Esprit Alpine. Prices are expected to start from around £29,500 when it goes on sale later this year, which is less than the hybrid-powered Qashqai and Sportage.

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