Renault Alaskan 2017 preview
The Alaskan is Renault's first ever one-tonne pick-up truck, touted as a 'global' model that first goes on sale in South America and will eventually hit Irish shores. Though it clearly takes its big bold expressive front-end design from Renault's SUVs, such as the Kadjar and forthcoming Koleos, the Alaskan shares a lot of what's underneath with the Nissan NP300 Navara pick-up, as part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance partnership.
What will its rivals be?
The most obvious rival will be the Alaskan's sister truck, the Nissan Navara, but there is no shortage of competition in the pick-up market now that sales of light commercial vehicles are buoyant once more. Other obvious alternatives to consider include the Ford Ranger, Mitsubishi's L200, the Toyota Hilux and Volkswagen's Amarok, while buyers should also be aware of the new Fiat Fullback. Prices vary across those models, as do power outputs and specifications, but by far the best-selling type of pick-up here is the double-cab design with four-wheel drive.
Any tech info?
Renault is making a lot of noise about the rear suspension design of the Alaskan, which it shares with the Navara. It's a sophisticated five-link set-up that is said to offer the best of all worlds, especially on-road comfort. Many of the Alaskan's rivals still use a leaf spring rear axle, to the detriment of comfort and refinement. The Alaskan will also come with a vast number of safety acronyms, such as eLSD (electronic Limited Slip Differential), HSA (Hill Start Assist) and HDC (Hill Descent Control), along with the expected ABS, EBD and ESP.
In terms of technology on board, depending on version and options, there's a seven-inch touchscreen satnav system available and a 360-degree camera view using the same screen.
What will the range be like?
Irish details have yet to be confirmed, though elsewhere in the world the Alaskan can be had in single and double-cab body styles, with two- or four-wheel drive. Power is by a choice of 160- or 190hp versions of a 2.3-litre turbodiesel engine and there are six-speed manual and seven-speed automatic transmissions. It is as yet unclear whether the Renault passenger car trim structure will be employed, as it's a very different target market.
If the Alaskan really is just a reskinned version of the Nissan Navara, then we already know that it'll be a big, useful thing that has exceptional off-road ability and decent cruising manners. The engine isn't the quietest, but it does have plenty of towing and lugging ability.