Renault has unveiled its latest concept car, the Niagara, a compact pickup truck that aims to combine ruggedness, versatility, and efficiency. The Niagara is one of the eight new models that Renault announced for more profitable growth in international markets, especially in Latin America, India, and Africa.
What is the Niagara Concept?
The Renault Niagara concept is a four-door, four-seat pickup truck that measures 4.5 meters in length, 1.8 meters in width, and 1.7 meters in height. It has a wheelbase of 2.8 meters and a ground clearance of 230 mm. It features a hybrid powertrain that consists of a 1.3-liter turbocharged petrol engine and an electric motor that can work together or independently. The petrol engine delivers 160 horsepower and 270 Nm of torque, while the electric motor adds another 40 horsepower and 100 Nm of torque. The total system output is 200 horsepower and 370 Nm of torque.
The Niagara concept has a six-speed dual-clutch transmission that sends power to the front wheels or all four wheels depending on the driving mode. The concept has four driving modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Off-Road. In Eco mode, the electric motor is used as much as possible to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. In Comfort mode, the petrol engine and electric motor work together to provide smooth and quiet performance. In Sport mode, the powertrain delivers maximum performance and responsiveness. In Off-Road mode, the all-wheel-drive system is activated to enhance traction and stability on rough terrain.
The Niagara concept has a lithium-ion battery pack with a capacity of 12 kWh, which allows it to travel up to 50 km on electric power alone. The battery can be recharged using a standard wall socket or a fast-charging station. The concept also has a regenerative braking system that recovers energy during deceleration and braking.
The Niagara concept has a payload capacity of 500 kg and a towing capacity of 1500 kg. It has a flexible cargo bed that can be extended from 1.2 meters to 1.8 meters by sliding the rear window and folding the rear seats. The cargo bed also has a multifunctional tailgate that can be opened horizontally or vertically, or used as a workbench or a picnic table.
What are the Design Features of the Niagara Concept?
The Niagara concept has a bold and distinctive design that reflects its adventurous spirit and practicality. The front end features a large diamond-shaped grille with LED headlights and daytime running lights. The grille also incorporates an air intake that cools the hybrid system and improves aerodynamics. The hood has sculpted lines that emphasize the muscularity of the vehicle.
The side profile shows the dynamic silhouette of the Niagara concept, with short overhangs, large wheel arches, and 18-inch alloy wheels with all-terrain tires. The roofline slopes gently towards the rear, creating a sporty look. The roof also has integrated rails that can accommodate various accessories, such as bike racks or roof boxes.
The rear end features LED taillights that echo the shape of the headlights, as well as a spoiler that enhances aerodynamics and stability. The rear bumper has integrated exhaust pipes and skid plates that protect the underbody from damage.
The Niagara concept has a two-tone color scheme contrasting dark gray metallic paint with orange accents on the grille, wheels, mirrors, roof rails, and tailgate. The orange color also highlights some of the hybrid components, such as the battery pack and electric motor.
The interior of the Niagara concept is spacious and comfortable, with high-quality materials and ergonomic design. The dashboard has a minimalist layout with digital instruments and a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The center console has a rotary knob that controls the driving modes, as well as a wireless charging pad for smartphones.
The seats are upholstered in leather and fabric with orange stitching and piping. They also have heating and ventilation functions for added comfort. The rear seats have ample legroom and headroom, as well as foldable armrests with cup holders. The Niagara concept also has a panoramic sunroof that fills the cabin with natural light and fresh air.
The Niagara concept is equipped with advanced safety and driver assistance features, such as adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, 360-degree camera, parking assist, and emergency braking. The concept also has a head-up display that projects relevant information on the windshield, such as speed, navigation, and hybrid status.
What are the Benefits of the Niagara Concept?
The Niagara concept is designed to offer several benefits for customers who are looking for a compact pickup truck that can handle various driving situations and needs. Some of the benefits are:
- Fuel efficiency and low emissions: The hybrid powertrain of the Niagara concept allows it to achieve an estimated fuel consumption of 5.5 liters per 100 km and CO2 emissions of 125 grams per km. These figures are significantly lower than the average of conventional pickup trucks in the same segment, which consume about 9 liters per 100 km and emit about 200 grams of CO2 per km.
- Performance and versatility: The Niagara concept delivers a balanced performance that can adapt to different driving modes and conditions. The hybrid system provides ample power and torque for acceleration and overtaking, as well as smooth and quiet operation for cruising and city driving. The all-wheel-drive system and the off-road mode enhance the traction and stability of the vehicle on rough terrain, while the regenerative braking system improves the braking performance and extends the battery range.
- Practicality and functionality: The Niagara concept has a spacious and flexible cargo bed that can accommodate various types of loads and items. The multifunctional tailgate adds more convenience and functionality to the vehicle, as it can be used for different purposes such as work or leisure. The roof rails also allow the vehicle to carry additional equipment or accessories for outdoor activities.
- Style and comfort: The Niagara concept has a striking and distinctive design that stands out from the crowd. The two-tone color scheme and the orange accents add more personality and flair to the vehicle. The interior is comfortable and refined, with high-quality materials and ergonomic design. The panoramic sunroof also enhances the ambiance and comfort of the cabin.
What are the Future Plans for the Niagara Concept?
The Niagara concept is part of Renault’s strategy to expand its presence and profitability on international markets, especially in Latin America, India, and Africa. These markets have a high demand for compact pickup trucks that can offer versatility, efficiency, and affordability. Renault plans to launch eight new models by 2025 in these regions, including four electric vehicles.
The Niagara concept is expected to enter production in 2024 as a global model that will be sold in various markets around the world. The production version will be based on the CMF-B platform that underpins other Renault models such as the Clio, Captur, and 2024 Renault Arkana. The production version will also retain most of the design features and hybrid technology of the concept version, with some minor changes to meet the regulations and preferences of different markets.
The Niagara concept is Renault’s answer to the growing popularity and competition of compact pickup trucks in the global automotive market. The concept showcases Renault’s vision of combining ruggedness, versatility, efficiency, style, and comfort in a compact pickup truck that can take on the world.