Is Renault working on a bold new half-tonne bakkie? Meet the Niagara Concept

Published Oct 27, 2023


Is Renault getting ready to unleash a bold new unibody bakkie? The Niagara Concept, revealed this week, certainly implies something along those lines.

Renault says the new design study heralds the next generation of international models that the firm will launch by 2027.

Although some have speculated that it previews a new pick-up that will slot above the half-tonne Renault Oroch, there’s also every reason to believe it might inspire the next-generation Oroch.

Earlier this year it was announced that Renault was developing a new half-tonne bakkie that would also be shared by Nissan in Argentina.

The current Argentinian built Renault Oroch is based on the first-generation Duster SUV and is likely nearing the end of its life cycle, although it’s likely that we’ll still see it in South Africa before it gets replaced.

Regardless of how much inspiration it lends to the Oroch successor, the new Niagara Concept certainly looks interesting.

It’s based on the Renault Group’s new ultra-flexible platform, and its four-wheel drive mild hybrid powertrain sees an E-Tech petrol engine powering the front wheels and an electric motor doing duty at the rear axle. What’s more, Renault says it can handle half of everyday journeys on electric power alone.

The Niagara is based on a new modular architecture that will underpin a variety of new models that will be built in Latin America, Turkey, Morocco and India. It accommodates vehicle lengths of between four and five metres, as well as four wheelbase sizes from 2.6 to three metres.

It also allows for a wide variety of internal combustion, flex-fuel and hybrid drivetrains as well as front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations.

However the Niagara bakkie does more than just usher in a new architecture - which might not be so new after all since it also underpins the new Renault Kardian, which is closely based on the latest Dacia Sandero, which can trace its roots back to the Renault Clio 4…

The pick-up concept has an interesting new design language that could also be a sign of what’s to come from Renault.

Gone is the diamond logo and in its place is Renault block lettering, in a “pixel art” finish and placed at the centre of a two-tier grille carved with a unique 3D effect. What’s more the eyebrow-shaped headlight array is “lively, expressive and definitely techy” as far as Renault is concerned.

In the words of Renault’s design VP Gilles Vidal:

"Niagara Concept embodies the style of the future international line-up of the Renault brand. Robust and mighty with oversized and exuberant lines, this exploratory concept is also sophisticated and packed with technologies. It is the promise of an unlimited journey."

Tone down the concept car and you could very well be looking at the French firm’s next-generation half-tonner.

IOL Motoring

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