The new Renault Arkana E-TECH Hybrid on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Renault Arkana E-TECH Hybrid on test for Changing Lanes!

Thinking of buying a new Renault Arkana in 2022? Check out Caroline’s latest Renault Arkana review for everything you need to know about the brand’s exciting new mid-size SUV!

What’s so special about the new Renault Arkana?

The Renault Arkana arrived in Ireland in 2021 and is a mid-size SUV priced from €30,340, with a hybrid available. This exciting new SUV coupé for the French brand will go on sale alongside the popular Captur and Kadjar SUVs, with Renault’s latest mild hybrid and E-TECH hybrid powertrains making up the range.

The Kadjar is to be replaced in 2022 by a new SUV called the Austral so for the moment the Captur and the Arcana are the most up to date SUVs in the Renault range featuring the best of the brand’s design, technology and innovation.

Renault we know already make some of the best-looking cars on the road and the Arkana is no different. SUV coupés used to be something premium brands brought to market to help their customers feel a little more unique and different to their SUV cousins.

Now Renault brings this design concept to the mass market with a very stylish Arkana. It particularly ‘pops’ in a bright colour like Valencia Orange and is certainly easily distinguishable from a Kadjar for example. The side profile is sporty with typical Renault flourish to the LED light signatures front and rear. Tinted windows, chrome trim on the wing badging, 3D rear LED lighting and 17-inch diamond-cut ‘Bahamas’ alloy wheels all feature on entry-level Iconic models, plus body-colour door handles with chrome and black lower door protection.

WATCH MY VIDEO REVIEW OF THE NEW ARKANA!

Inside the Arkana

The Arkana gets a new generation Renault interior. It makes all the difference to the desirability of this new model. The design is nice and there is a good fit and finish to the interior. It’s probably the best quality we have seen in a Renault SUV to date.

There’s also a significant digital presence in the cabin. Iconic models kick off the range with a 7.0-inch display with DAB radio and Bluetooth functionality, while S Edition and R.S. Line models have a 9.3-inch portrait screen featuring navigation with live traffic services and weather information, Google address search and 4G connectivity and automatic update services for three years. The 9.3 inch screen is worth the upgrade. It looks more modern in the centre of the dash and is nice to use. Arkana S Edition and R.S. Line models also feature a 7.0-inch TFT Driver Information Display ahead of the driver.

Arkana R.S. Line models like the one on test start from €35,140 but it’s an even better looking car with a really great cabin. The interior of the Renault Arkana R.S. Line stands out with special R.S. Line sports seats upholstered in leather and suede-effect, complemented by red stitching that also extends to the door panels, gear lever and central armrest. Red detailing is also found on the leather steering wheel with unique R.S. Line marker. Completing the interior enhancements are aluminium pedals, a carbon-effect dashboard panel with full-width red trim, plus black headlining. It’s just a nice cabin to spend time in and interact with.

The interior of the Renault Arkana R.S. Line
The interior of the Renault Arkana R.S. Line

It looks great but is it practical?

The Renault Arkana has not compromised space for style despite the sloping roofline and trendy SUV coupé looks. The Arkana belongs to the C segment and offers reasonable accommodation for a family with enough headroom in the rear and legroom for two adults to be comfortable.

Based on the CMF-B modular platform, the Arkana is longer than the Kadjar. It offers a high driving position popular with drivers of Renault’s SUVs. The boot is surprisingly large too, packing in 480 litres in E-TECH hybrids, and 513-litres with a variable-height boot floor in 1.3-litre mild hybrid petrol versions. For maximum interior space, the rear seats fold, leaving a level, flat load area for bulkier items. 

The Arkana was built to be a hybrid from the start of development and is a key model to push forward the broadened electrification of Renault’s model range. The brand’s new E-TECH hybrid powertrain features across every trim level. It uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine, 1.2 kWh lithium-ion battery and two electric motors, with a power output of 145 hp.

Renault Ireland think it will be the engine of choice in the line-up for the majority of customers. It’s proposed as the most efficient of the range, returning consumption as low as to 4.8l/100 km (WLTP). Arkana will also be available in Ireland with the TCe 140 petrol engine with mild-hybrid technology. This 1.3-litre engine has 140 hp and fuel consumption is officially rated at 5.8l/100km (WLTP). Both offerings are automatic by default. No manual gearboxes or diesel on offer in this range. 

The Renault Arkana R.S. Line in Valencia Orange
The Renault Arkana R.S. Line in Valencia Orange

Driving the Renault Arkana Hybrid

The Renault Arkana feels immediately mature and confident on the road. The handling is good with a nice flowing character through bends and body roll kept in check. On the motorway the Arkana cruises well with excellent refinement. It’s a very comfortable car too, even on 18″ wheels.

The Arkana Hybrid is a truly impressive car on the road. It feels more powerful than what 145 hp might suggest on paper. Then there’s the way the power is delivered. There’s no lumpiness to the transmission, just power delivered solidly and confidently. The batteyr boost makes it very responsive to the throttle.

But is it efficient? Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 6.1 litres per 100 km. So not quite as efficient as Renault claim but still good for a petrol driven mid-size SUV.

Did you like it?

Yes! The Renault Arkana is one of the best cars I drove in 2021. It looks great and for the moment remains quite a distinctive presence in the C-SUV segment with its sporty SUV-coupé looks. R.S. Line models are hugely desirable for their sporty inspired looks and the superbly finished cabin.

The Arkana is mature and confident on the road. Hybrid power suits it very well. While fuel efficiency is not quite diesel rivalling for drivers who regularly take long motorway commutes, it is a good hybrid SUV debut by Renault and there are no ugly surprises here when it comes to fuel consumption.

Around town the Arkana will do even better, running on electric power more but always with the back-up of the petrol engine. There is no charging involved of this E-TECH hybrid – which can be very convenient in its own way.

With SUVs still being the hot spot of the market, it seems there can never be too many available and the Arkana brings a typically premium SUV coupé style to the mass market – with considerable style.

The Renault Arkana on sale in Ireland priced from €30,140
The Renault Arkana on sale in Ireland priced from €30,140

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Renault Arkana E-TECH Hybrid R.S. Line
Price:
€36,540
Engine: 1.6-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 
145 hp
Torque: 250 Nm
0-100km/h: 
10.8 seconds
Top speed: 172 km/h
CO2 emissions:
109 g/km
Motor tax: 
€180 per year