Watch: Renault Alaskan: An all-new pickup, or just a rebadged Nissan Navara?
As we know, Renault and Nissan are partners these days. Nissan’s Navara pickup has been pretty successful, to say the least, so the arrival of a Renault version was always on the cards.
And here it is. One of three models to use the jointly-developed Renault-Nissan pickup platform – the Mercedes X-Class is the other – the Alaskan is powered by the 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel already used in Renault Master vans.
It's available in two flavours: a 158bhp/297lb ft dCi 160, and a 187bhp/332lb ft dCi 190.
On the transmission front there’s a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic, both with selectable four-wheel-drive and a low-range gearbox. More serious off-roaders can tick the option box for a locking rear differential.
Max approach and departure angles are 30deg and 27deg respectively. Max payload is 1035kg, max towing capacity 3.5 tonnes. For those wondering if their motorbike will fit into the rear load deck without dropping the tailgate, the bed dimensions are 1578mm long by 1560mm wide.
Renault hasn’t changed this working vehicle much from the Navara. From behind, only the flattened tailgate picks it out. The front has had a bit more of a Renaulty workover with a new grille, bonnet, headlight and bumper.
Although the Alaskan is aimed at the world, its jumpoff markets will be places like Argentina, Brazil and Colombia, with the Middle East and Europe as the main growth targets where it will compete against rivals like the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger.
To succeed, it will need strong off-road skills, and it has them thanks to multilink coil suspension rather than leaf springs. Some traditionalists may bemoan the departure of easily-maintained leaf springs, but rutted gravel tracks and bad roads are easily gobbled up by the coils, and the 4WD system, electronic limited-slip differential and locking rear diff all pitch in to keep the Alaskan rolling in thick mud. Hill descent control and hill start assist complete what is a tough, capable and comfortable package on and off the road.