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Renault unleashes new Alaskan
French nameplate reskins the Nissan Navara workhorse but goes a step ahead with a more efficient twin-turbo diesel engine and more advanced rear suspension.
Could this spearhead Renault’s return to the Thai market?
In theory it could, but it’s very unlikely in real-world terms. What you see here in official pictures is Renault’s all-new Alaskan designed for the global one-tonne pickup market.
Look closely at the exterior appearance and you’ll be able to note that the Alaskan is loosely based on the Navara from sister-brand Nissan. The Renault workhorse has a different face, although its Nissan fanfare elsewhere around the vehicle.
The same goes for the interior, just that the Alaskan has the Renault badge on the steering wheel to set itself apart from the Navara.
Does it get the same engine?
It does. The Alaskan comes with a 2.5-litre diesel-turbo mated to either six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission driving either the rear or all four wheels. There’s also a 2.5-litre petrol head.
But the Alaskan goes a step ahead of the Navara with a new twin-turbo 2.3-litre diesel engine producing either 160hp or 190hp claimed to yield class-leading economy. No figures have been disclosed by Renault yet about fuel consumption, though.
Another highlight of the Alaskan is the five-link rear suspension to improve ride comfort over vehicles fitted with conventional leaf springs.
Could this come to the Navara?
In theory it could, but only if Nissan finds that enigne necessary in the highly competitive Thai pickup market. The first market to get the Alaskan is in South America, where such vehicles are equally popular as in Thailand.
As for the suspension, forget about it. That's because Thai draconian pickup rules stipulate that one-tonne pickups must come with leaf springs even if so many users these days use pickups like passenger vehicles without significant load in the cargo bed.
Aside that, though, many interesting things could be happening in the Renault-Nissan empire in the future. Mercedes-Benz is reportedly said to be preparing to build a luxurious pickup off the Navara and Alaskan.
As well, the next-generation Triton could be sharing many bits with the Navara as Nissan has taken a majority shareholding value in Mitsubishi. Nissan’s boss, Carlos Ghosn, recently told Thai journalists that there will be cross-purchasing of parts for both pickups in the future.
891/1, Rama 1 Rd., Wang Mai, Bangkok 10330 Thailand