Renault Arkana review

Renault's distinctive new Coupe SUV has arrived

This is the Renault Arkana, a-new coupe SUV with eye-catching styling that sits between the Renault Captur and Kadjar in terms of size and style. Coupe SUVs are becoming more popular thanks to cars like the BMW X6 and the Mercedes GLC Coupe, however there aren’t many options to choose from with an affordable price tag. The Arkana looks to change this, with prices starting from €28,990 in Ireland, and it arrives on the market with a choice of petrol hybrid engines. Although the Arkana is in a niche of its own, it goes up against other compact SUV models like the Toyota C-HR, CUPRA Formentor and the Peugeot 3008.

Styling:

Whether you are a fan of Coupe SUV styling or not, it’s fair to say that the Arkana is quite eye-catching from the outside. This is mainly thanks to its long sloping roof line and raised rear light cluster that lends it a look that is different to many other SUVs on the market right now. As standard the Arkana gets LED headlights, tinted windows and 17-inch alloy wheels, but this high specification model has 18-inch wheels which completes the look. There are six colour options to choose from and Universal White is the standard option. If you want to go for other colours such as Zanzibar Blue or Flame red, you’ll have to spend an additional €650 on the options list.

Inside:

Stepping inside, the Arkana shares a lot in common with the latest Renault Captur which is a good thing as you get a 7-inch touch screen system and  Android Auto and Apple Car Play as standard. The System is good to use and the graphics are crisp. The driving position is good with plenty of room up front and lots of adjustment available from the seats and steering wheel, while there is also a digital driver’s display with driving information. The Arkana has plenty of storage areas up front with two cup holders, a small storage area underneath the adjustable arm rest and sizeable door bins too with storage nets.

Quality is generally good throughout the cabin and an improvement on previous Renault SUVs, although there are some hard plastics in certain places. Rear space is good too with plenty of head room for average sized passengers and decent legroo. As the Arkana is slightly longer than the Renault Kadjar boot space is surprisingly good too at 513 litres in size, with an additional 29-litres of space under the floor. The floor is flat which is useful for sliding big items in and out and if you drop the rear seats down space increases to 1263 litres, which should be enough for carrying flat pack furniture, bicycles and everything else in between.

Driving:

The Arkana launches to the market with a choice of two different powertrains, a 1.3-litre petrol engine with a small 12-volt mild hybrid system to assist the petrol engine or with a fully fledged 1.6-litre petrol hybrid that has two small electric motors. The one that we are driving here is the 1.3-litre petrol mild-hybrid, and it has a seven speed automatic transmission with 140 horsepower. Performance isn’t the Arkana’s strength, Renault has instead concentrated on making it efficient and affordable to run, but it will cover the sprint from 0-100km/h in under 10 seconds if you push it hard. The engine is most refined around town and at lower speeds but when you push it hard it is rather noisy. We haven’t driven the petrol hybrid model yet but we would expect it to be more refined with electric driving modes.

Most buyers won’t have any complaints about how the Arkana drives, it’s composed through corners and grips the road well with a good turning circle for tight parking manouvres. The Arkana is stiffer on the road than some of Renault’s other models, especially with the larger 18-inch wheels however, which means it can be quite firm on bumpy backroads. It gets a lot of Safety equipment as standard, with traffic sign recognition, front and rear parking sensors, forward collision warning, a reversing camera lane keep assist and an electric parking brake.

Models:

Renault offers the Arkana in three specifications, Iconic, S-Edition and R-Line. The entry Iconic starts from €28,990 and it has 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, the 7-inch touch screen with Apple Car Play and Android Auto and a handsfree card as standard. The mid-range S-Edition starts from €31,090 and it’s the one that we are testing here. It adds 18-inch alloy wheels, Cruise control, Automatic High/Low Beam, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and lots of other features. The range-topping RS Line starts from €33,690 and it leaves little to be desired, with front and rear parking sensors with intelligent park assist, heated seats and an F1 Honeycomb lower styling kit.

Verdict:

So should you buy the Renault Arkana? If you are looking for a compact SUV with sleek styling, efficient petrol hybrid engines and lots of standard equipment, it could be one to consider. It is significantly more expensive than the Renault Captur however, while it isn’t hugely exciting to drive. All in however, the Renault Arkana is a well-priced Coupe SUV crossover that’s pleasant to drive and it should prove popular with buyers who are looking for something different to the SUV norm. 

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