Renault has added to its growing fleet of SUVs with the all-new Arkana. This premium-feeling yet budget-friendly crossover is stylish and sleek, acting as a more affordable alternative to the likes of the BMW X4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupé.
Starting at just £26,395, this car promises to be cheap to run thanks to its hybrid technology – and it looks pretty good for small families. Renault is rivalling the Toyota C-HR and Citroen C4 with its latest creation, so let’s see what the coupé-SUV has to offer.
First things first: this car is pretty slick on the eyes, isn't it? With that swooping rear roofline, it's another coupé-SUV, but it stands out. It looks unique. Add a few options like the all-black roof (a £300 option) and optional Zanzibar Blue paint (also £300), and it's certainly got some presence.
Renault has brought its recognisable sporty grill to the Arkana, which is also seen on the Captur and Kadjar. To continue the theme, the Arkana is kitted out with twin exhausts and a smart shark fin-inspired antenna, just like you’d find on a more expensive Jaguar F-Pace SUV. The Arkana also sits on a set of 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels – classy.
This car is pretty slick on the eyes, isn't it?
What's it like to drive?
First of all, the spacious cabin and range of movement with both the drivers’ seat and steering wheel makes it easy for drivers to get comfortable. The seats offer good back support too, meaning this would be a comfy car to pump in the miles on a long journey.
Under the bonnet of all Arkana models is a hybrid setup. There are two engine options, the first being a 1.3-litre petrol engine with mild-hybrid assistance, meaning it has a small electric motor to improve the car’s fuel efficiency. This entry-level model will give you 140hp.
The proper hybrid version has a 1.6-litre engine and an electric motor, which will power you at low speeds and when accelerating from a standing start. This more expensive model will provide you with 142hp and even more efficiency. It's the car we drove for our test. The two models are both six-speed automatics, meaning the car can comfortably cruise at high and slow speeds.
The smooth and cohesive hybrid technology, in tandem with the very light steering, makes it a very easy and relaxing SUV to drive. As expected with an SUV you sit up high on the road and feel in command.
In our urban test around London, the 0-62mph in 10.8 seconds performance was more than enough acceleration at traffic lights and nipping through traffic. Despite being a crossover, the Arkana has an impressively small turning circle, which makes life much easier when it comes to parking and navigating your way around the city.
A natural drawback with the sloping roof is the lack of rear visibility, but the Arkana’s rear-parking camera solves this issue and makes parking a breeze. The entry-level model comes kitted out with automatic lights, wipers, lane-keep assist and cruise control. Higher-spec models – like the S Edition we drove – will give you blind-spot warning system and hands-free parking tech. All these extras just make it even more of a breeze to drive.
This smooth hybrid technology, in tandem with the very light steering, makes it a very easy and relaxing SUV to drive.
The car’s stylish characteristics continue when you step inside the Arkana. Its interior is good quality and has plenty of soft-touch materials, with smart stitching and a nice carbon-themed grey panel across the dash.
Inside, Renault has got the perfect balance, with an easy-to-read and simple-to-use modern infotainment touchscreen sitting alongside essential dials for climate control. This saves you from faffing about with the touchscreen every time you want to adjust the temperature. The entry-level comes with a seven-inch touchscreen, while the S Edition and top-spec R.S. Line trims come with a bigger 9.3-inch screen. Both versions have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus DAB and Bluetooth.
This family-friendly car comes with two cupholders for the passengers in front along with huge door bins for a water bottle and other storage. Renault hasn’t forgotten about the passengers in the back when building this car, however. There are two USB ports in the front and the back, allowing you to plug in all your gadgets. If you fold the middle seat down in the back, you get two cup holders and a comfy armrest, keeping everyone happy!
The car’s interior is good quality and has plenty of soft-touch materials with smart stitching and a nice carbon-themed grey panel across the dash.
Being a mid-sized SUV, this car provides plenty of legroom and headroom for the driver and passengers. If you’re more than 6ft tall, you may be a bit snug in terms of headspace in the backseats, but kids will be fine. The positive for your taller friends and family is that there’s plenty of leg room in the back.
The boot space varies on which Arkana model you select. The mild hybrid has a smaller boot size of 480 litres, compared to the 513 litres you get with the hybrid. Both come with a two-level boot floor, which is great to have as a second compartment. Bear in mind, however, that if you opt for a spare wheel, that will occupy the bottom tier. The boot gives you a wide and flat opening, making it easy to load up.
The positive for your taller friends and family is that there’s plenty of leg room in the back.
Reliability and running costs
With the Arkana only coming as a hybrid, it’s clear Renault has been mindful of creating a fuel-efficient car. The hybrid offers a claimed 57.6mpg combined, compared to the mild hybrid’s 48.7mpg. We found that on our urban drives in the hybrid, a large portion of the power was delivered through the electric motor, and when we inevitably stopped in traffic or at lights we were constantly regenerating the battery.
The 1.2kWh battery cannot be plugged in, and charges using energy either from the engine or – if you're using them enough – the brakes. You will get roughly 1.8 miles of range on this battery, which may not seem like a lot, but you may be able to do short runs to your local supermarket without eating into your precious fuel supply.
The hybrid offers a claimed 57.6mpg combined
What we love
We feel the Arkana gives motorists the choice of having sporty and stylish-looking SUV while also providing you with all the elements you need for a family car. If you’re looking in the niche coupé-SUV market, this car’s impressive fuel economy figures make it a tempting choice.
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Town and country drivers
This isn't just a stylish-looking SUV – it's jam-packed with features and capable of sipping fuel efficiency.
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