Renault has long been an innovator for both cars and commercial vehicles. Its successful “Drive the Change” campaign has given us a raft of new, efficient models, including the Kangoo Z.E. range. However, one commercial market has eluded Renault until now – pick-up trucks. Renault is set to change that though with the new Renault Alaskan.
Pick-up trucks may not be big business here in the UK, but in other parts of the world like The Americas they are as popular as ever. The marketplace counts for a third of all Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) sales, totalling some 5 million vehicles yearly. Renault already has a strong customer base in South and Latin America, so launching a pick-up definitely makes a lot of sense.
Pick-up trucks often bring to mind crude boxes on wheels, with little in the way of design or efficiency. The Alaskan will drive real change to this sector though, carrying over the Gallic flair of Renault’s newer vehicles. It includes Renault’s signature C-shaped LED lights, a chrome grill, and specially sculpted bodywork and wheel arches.
The Alaskan will have 2.5 litre diesel and petrol options, and the 2.3 litre twin turbo engine from the current Renault Master. These engines have all the grunt a pick-up driver will ever need, handling a one tonne payload and a towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes with ease. The Alaskan will also lead the way in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, beating many of its rivals. Even though fuel costs in South America tend to be low, this will still come as a welcome addition.
Pick-up trucks of times gone by were scarce on equipment and comfort, but people expect so much more from cars now. The Alaskan won’t disappoint modern drivers, as it has both of these in spades. Single cab options will have heated, power adjustable seats with lumbar support, and twin cabs will have the same level of space you’d expect in a fully-fledged car. Front and rear passengers will also enjoy air conditioning and climate control too.
In terms of tech, the Alaskan comes with keyless entry, a central console with optional touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity and media control keys mounted on the steering wheel. You can even opt for 360° mounted cameras to check your surroundings and the road ahead – extremely useful if you’re loaded up to the rafters.
A pick-up truck is just not a pick-up truck if you can’t use it for everything! That means it needs to keep on performing when the going gets tough. The Alaskan certainly lives up to the job, with optional 4-wheel drive, and anti-lock braking, limited slip differential and electric stability controls as standard. Add in a ground clearance of over 9 inches, and hill start and descent control assists, and you have a machine that can handle pretty much anything out there!
The beauty of the pick-up is that it can easily be adapted to meet the needs of any driver. For that reason, Renault is expanding its existing Pro+ network to handle the extra rigours of the pick-up market. By the end of 2016, there will be round 700 Renault Pro+ centres in 41 countries, including Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Chile.
Using the Renault Pro+ network, customers can specify options for their pick-up bed, such as sliding trays, metal steps, bed dividers, hooks, toolboxes, and so forth, as well as a bunch of other personalisation options. Renault Pro+ drivers can also access approved converters, bringing a wide range of conversion options such as tow trucks, cherry pickers, tippers, and much more.
Whilst it’s unlikely that the Renault Alaskan will come to UK shores anytime soon, there are a wide variety of Renault vans available right now. If you want to add to your van fleet with a Kangoo, Master or Trafic, just give us a call! Take advantage of our special contract hire options and get your business moving forward.