Renault debuts Alaskan and Oroch
Renault Australia is continuing to work on the business case to bring the Alaskan one-tonne pick-up and the smaller Oroch ute to this market.
Built on the same platform as alliance partner Nissan’s Navara, the Alaskan is all but locked in for launch here but minor changes required for local homologation have pushed out its timing to late 2019 or early 2020.
There are also some sticking points in relation to the costs involved in sourcing Alaskan from Nissan’s plant in Barcelona, Spain; however, Renault Australia managing director Andrew Moore has told us that significant progress has been made and that the Alaskan will be sold here as a dual cab only with a limited model range that combines a high level of specification and the French brand’s usual value-oriented pricing.
He also pointed to the premium-looking design of the Alaskan compared to other pick-ups in the segment, adding that Renault was not out to compete in volume terms with the Thai-built heavy hitters in the segment – Toyota with HiLux, Ford with Ranger, Mitsubishi with Triton and even Nissan with Navara – but would target the increasingly popular high-end versions from these and other brands.
This means Alaskan will be pitched against the likes of Ranger Wildtrak, HiLux Rugged X, Volkswagen’s Amarok and Mercedes-Benz’s X-Class – the latter built as part of the same program that has delivered Renault its first mid-size one-tonner.
Alaskan will be offered with the 2.3L four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine used in Navara, and its underpinnings will include the sophisticated five-link coil spring rear suspension seen on high-end versions of the Nissan ute.
The X-Class relies on many of the same components – including the basic architecture, four-cylinder diesel engine and rear suspension hardware – but has incorporated its own engineering modifications, and various other changes, including a V6 diesel engine option.
Renault Australia is also working closely with the factory in Spain to develop a range of high-spec body parts and accessories for Alaskan such as sports bars, wheel arch fenders and bullbars.
The Oroch, meanwhile, looks to be a slightly longer-term proposition for Australia but Mr Moore is pushing the case for it to be built in right-hand drive as it would hand the company a highly specified small/medium dual cab ute at a much lower entry point – around $30,000.
Launched overseas in 2015, the Oroch is based on the same platform that underpins a variety of Renault and Nissan compact SUVs and passenger cars and borrows much from the budget-oriented Dacia Duster small SUV.
It was primarily developed for the South and Latin American markets and is designed to sit between the half-tonne pick-ups that are popular overseas and the one-tonners that are big business in Australia.
As such, Oroch’s payload tops out at around 650kg and it is not designed for heavy duty workloads, relying at the moment on 1.6 and 2.0L four-cylinder petrol and dual fuel (petrol/ethanol) engines and using only a 4×2 (front-wheel drive) driveline.
It has a car-like monocoque chassis, fully independent suspension, circa 1,300kg kerb weight and measures around 4,700mm long, 1,820mm wide and 1,695mm high, resting on a 2,829mm wheelbase. This makes it bigger than, say, a Subaru Brumby but a fair bit smaller than Alaskan and Co. The cargo bed can hold up to 683L.
A significant update is due around 2020, so an Australian release would likely be based on this ‘Phase II’ overhaul, taking on more budget-oriented 4×2 dual cab utes from the Asian brands and hoping to pick up buyers who would otherwise have bought an Australian-made Falcon- or Commodore-based ute before Ford and Holden closed their local manufacturing operations.