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Renault Arkana (2023 - )

The Arkana is relatively new to the Renault stable, launching here in the UK back in 2021.

Starting price:
£31,295

Why we love it:
  • Coupe styling with SUV practicality
  • Upmarket interior and lots of tech
  • Easy to drive and efficient to run
Where it could be better:
  • Lacks firepower and gets quite noisy under heavy acceleration
  • Rear leg room is limited
  • Poor rear visibility
Secure your test drive today
Request a Renault Arkana test drive

Introduction

Renault Arkana

With its combination of coupe and SUV styling, the latest Renault Arkana is very easy on the eye and packed with technology. But the really good news is how competitively priced the car is in a sector including the likes of the Toyota C-HR, Honda HR-V and Hyundai Kona.

The Arkana is relatively new to the Renault stable, launching here in the UK back in 2021. But the design team gave the car a fairly mild makeover last year, along with a simplification to the trim line-up.

Customers can choose from the Evolution, Techno and sports-based esprit Alpine grades, but there is just a single powertrain on offer. The 1.3-litre version has been dropped and the only unit now available is Renault’s E-Tech 1.6 full hybrid system which is self-charging so no need to plug in. We opted for the Arkana E-Tech esprit Alpine for our test drive.

Renault Arkana

You may need to look hard to notice the design changes on the latest Arkana, but they are there to be spotted. At the front, the new model features the redesigned Renault badge which overlaps the grille and bonnet edge. There is a new-look diamond-mesh grille that almost seems to grin at you and this is flanked by slimmer light clusters with C-shaped LED daytime running lights.
Moving to the back of the car, the badging has also been upgraded and there are smoked light covers. Addition design cues on our esprit Alpine model included black door mirrors, a sloping roofline, twin tailpipe elements finished in glossy black, an F1 blade esprit Alpine bumper and 19-inch esprit Alpine alloy wheels.
The interior is modern and clutter-free with a fairly upmarket feel to it and a 9.3-inch portrait navigation touchscreen being the main focal point. This is the nerve centre and access point to many on-board features, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, a reversing camera (with parking sensors), Bluetooth, DAB radio, voice recognition and plenty more besides.
Behind the synthetic leather trimmed steering wheel is a 10-inch driver display where all the important driving data can clearly be viewed and there are three separate dials to easily operate the climate control settings on the fly.
The seats have been created using artificial leather and suede upholstery and these look striking in black with blue edging. These flashes of contrast blue can also be found on the seatbelts, door and steering wheel.
The seats are power-adjustable to help get comfy as easily as possible and the heated feature on both seats and steering wheel, is a bonus on cold, wintry mornings.
On the downside, the driver’s view through the rear screen is poor. This is down to two factors. Firstly, the sloping roofline design of the car results in quite a narrow screen and, secondly, the middle rear headrest blocks out a large section of the window.
 

On The Road

Renault Arkana

Handling & Performance

Powering the front-wheel drive Renault Arkana is a 145hp, four-cylinder, 1.6-litre petrol hybrid set-up with two electric motors. The engine generates 148Nm of torque while the motors add 250Nm. You would imagine with that sort of firepower, the Arkana would be catapulted out the starting blocks, but it takes a rather disappointing 10.8 seconds to reach 62mph and tops out at 107mph.
The Arkana starts up in electric mode and is capable of running in pure electric mode for 80 per cent of the time in city driving which makes for a nicely hushed and refined cabin experience.
The powertrain is twinned to a six-speed multi-mode, clutchless automatic transmission which is smooth enough provided the car isn’t driven too aggressively. Do that at your peril as the vehicle gets very noisy and puts in quite a protest.
But if driven with a little TLC, the Arkana is nicely responsive and is beautifully confident on winding country lanes with impressive grip and little sign of body movement.
The Arkana is also a capable motorway cruiser effortlessly eating up the miles and for added driver engagement, there are Multi-Sense drive modes that are selected from the touchscreen menu. These are called My Sense, Eco and Sport.
The steering is perfectly weighted with ample driver feedback and special mention to the car’s highly effective suspension system that does a great job of smoothing out the bumps and dips along the way.
 

Renault Arkana

Space & Practicality

The Renault Arkana has a strong road presence and stretches 4,568mm in length, 2,034mm wide (including mirrors), 1,571mm tall and has a wheelbase of 2,720mm.
Up front, there is bundles of room for the driver and passenger to sit comfortably, but rear passengers don’t fare quite so well. They will find the legroom is limited, especially if the front seats are pushed right back, plus the sloping roofline design of the Arkana results in restricted headroom. That said; there would be ample space for a trio of youngsters in the back and there are Isofix anchors to the outer rear seats so it’s easy to secure a child seat if required.
The boot is accessed via a manually-operated tailgate and it can accommodate 480 litres of luggage, a limit that increases to a generous 1,263 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.
In addition, there are a number of practical storage compartments scattered throughout the cabin, including a glovebox, central cubby, seat back nets, front and rear cup holders, some trays, plus USB ports for all occupants.
 

Ownership

Renault Arkana

Running Costs

The Renault Arkana line-up costs from £26,995 for the entry-level Evolution model, increasing to £28,995 for the Techno grade and £31,295 for the esprit Alpine version, as tested.
Our car featured metallic paint as an option and this added £750 to the final price-tag.
Under WLTP-testing the Renault Arkana can deliver a very impressive 57.6mpg on a combined run with carbon emissions of 110g/km.
With this CO2 figure, owners would face a first-year road tax bill of £175, which would drop to the standard fee for hybrids of £170 after the first 12 months. 
For any potential business drivers considering the Arkana, it has a Benefit in Kind rating of 27 per cent, and the car, as tested, sits in insurance group 17.
 

Verdict

Renault Arkana

The Renault Arkana is a bit of a mixed bag. It certainly looks the business with sporty styling and, for the outlay, the level of on-board tech also impresses.
But it sort of lets itself down a little when put to the test. Yes, it will do nicely for anyone who doesn’t want a particularly exciting driving experience, but in a way its handling doesn’t quite match its sporty profile.
That said; it’s a practical family car and the purchase price, plus day-to-day running costs, really do impress.
 

Secure your test drive today
Request a Renault Arkana test drive
By Maxine Ashford
Mar 13, 2024

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