Honest Review On Renault Arkana in 2023

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Hello everyone and welcome to the rather unusual Renault Arkana and I say that because this car is a little bit like the half deer, half man in Narnia. It’s half SUV and half coupé which is an intriguing mix in anyone’s book! It’s also one that’s becoming more and more popular with premium examples including the BMW X4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC coupé, providing a hit with customers the Arkana though is much cheaper and lines up against cars like the Toyota C-HR and Citroen c4 hatchback. So if you like the idea of an SUV but want something more spelt and streamlined, then stick around because I’m going to tell you over the Arkana is worth your hard-earned cash! At the time of filming, there’s only two engines on offer in the Arkana – a 142 horsepower full hybrid badged E-TEC and a 138 horsepower mild hybrid named tce 140.
Both are petrol powered and do not require plugging in to gain charge. This does mean however that its electric only capability is a fraction of what dedicated EVS or plug-in hybrids can offer. All versions of the Arkana come with front-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox. There’s no doubt that Renault cabins have improved immeasurably over the last couple of years with cars such as the Clio and the Capture showcasing stylish and clever interiors however I don’t think that’s transferred over to the Arkana! For starters, there’s lots of cheap feeling textured plastic and it’s a real shame there’s no floating centre console like you get in the Capture. As with all SUV’s, the driving position is elevated in the Arkana – this gives you a good view out, even if these windscreen pillars are on the large side… Meanwhile the seats are very comfy with lots of adjustments on offer – whether you opt for the standard or electrically adjustable versions. One other thing that’s worth highlighting though, the full hybrid version’s front seats are positioned higher up due to packaging reasons. This may not impact you but it’s definitely something to double check before you press the button on your order as it may affect taller drivers and passengers.
The Arkana is currently available with three levels of trim – there’s the base iconic spec S edition and sporty RS line. All versions get standard equipment including a rear view camera, wired Apple ‘carplay’ and android auto, keyless entry and ignition, LED headlamps, traffic sign recognition and lane keeping assist with active steering and lane departure warning as standard. The Arkana gets a moderately sized 7-inch infotainment screen however in s-edition cars upwards this grows to a more respectable 9.3 inch portrait screen which are becoming more and more popular. Now if you get the smaller 7-inch screen it’s worth remembering it does not come with built-in ‘TomTom’ sat nav. In this particular car I’ve got the larger 9.3 inch infotainment screen, but you can just as easily use maps on your Android or Apple phone which to be honest, most people will do anyway! What I also like, in fact love, is that it doesn’t control everything… There are still plenty of physical buttons and switches which are nice and easy to use while on the move. There’s also a 7 inch digital dashboard display as standard in all hybrids and s edition and RS line mild hybrid engine models. Like the infotainment screen, it’s very clear and has three customizable areas allowing you to choose what information you want to see in front of you. Top tip! I would definitely consider some of this cars optional extras to make things a little plusher.
The winter pack where you get heated electric lever seats is worthwhile as is the option for adaptive cruise control if you do a lot of motorway driving. Finally storage space in the Arkana is pretty good… We’ve got these chunky cup holders here, useful space in front of the gear lever and reasonably sized door bins. Now that’s the front, let’s hop in the back and check that out. Rear seat space is respectable in the Arkana with those in the back benefiting from adequate head and leg room however like in the front four hybrid versions have the seats mounted higher so taller passengers may feel as though they are perched. Handy features in the back include isofix points on the outer rear seats, this nice big fat armrest in the middle with a couple of cup holders in there and standard fit USB for charging your gadgets. The Arkana’s boot size varies depending on what version you have. The E-TEC hybrid measures up at 480 litres with the seats up and 1263 litres with them folded down. Opt for the tce mild hybrid version and this increases to 513 and 1296 litres respectively. Either way that’s bigger than the Toyota C-HR and Citroen C4. Meanwhile a two level boot floor is standard in the Arkana while the rear seats fold in a 60-40 split. A quick word of warning though… Taller drivers should watch their head on the boot latch as it’s very sharp and perfectly positioned to cause injury if you straighten up too quickly.
Before we take the Renault Arkana for a spin on the road we’ve got a quick usability test to see how easy it is with doing normal functions. So against the clock, I’ve got to fold down the rear seats so they’re flat, tune the radio to Absolute FM and tell the sat nav to take me to Buckingham Palace. This is Hope’s Car Olympics! So open the car door… sometimes it’s the bottom it’s not it’s at the top and it folds down too! Two in one, that’s how we like it! Run round, run round, run around! My giant coat is giving me a tangle. Down that one as well! There’s a nice and flat! A big, big boot in there! Open here… I’m against the clock! Right, infotainment screen Let’s go on to maps first because I feel like I’m more familiar with that. Erm right uh, Buckingham… Come on! Right it’s giving me suggestions that’s good. Press that one, press go… It’s being slow and slowing me down… Come on… Come on! What’s it doing?! New destination, no yes, it’s working. It’s whirring, it’s whirring! Now I need to get Absolute radio on. Radio… Come on, come on, come on! So I imagine it’s a scroll yes look at me, I’m getting familiar oh oh oh oh… It’s not in alphabetical order is it?! It hasn’t got it! It’s not on the list it’s not the list. Absolute FM is not there. I’m running out of time and we like them too so I’m going to go with KISS FM. I’m cheating! I know I’m cheating… but sometimes it’s the only way!
Proof! Proof, erm… There we go So as you can see It wasn’t as smooth as I maybe would have liked it to be. I’m out of breath, I’m stressed and it led me to cheating! There’s lots of functionality in this car; not so much with the infotainment screen that will take a little bit of time to get used to but folding down the seats was really easy, so if you’ve got kids or whatever that would be a nice easy functionality for you. Let’s see if this is a smoother drive than it was to sort out the radio! The Arkana I’m driving here is the full hybrid e-tec version which features two electric motors in addition to the 1.6 litre four-cylinder petrol engine that means that compared to the mild hybrid version of this car it can run on electric power only for short periods. You don’t need to charge it either as that’s all done through regenerative braking in theory that means better fuel economy and better responses because the electric motor can assist the engine empowering the car along. In reality, the powertrain isn’t very smooth and the performance does feel sluggish with 0 to 62 miles per hour taking a whole 10.8 seconds. That, by today’s standards is slow! Real world fuel economy on this car is 48 miles per gallon and the reason we know that is because it’s being tested over a few months by one of the Parkers team. Don’t forget for a full review, head over to www.parkers.co.uk where you can find out more. It may come as a surprise but the Arkana actually has quite a firm ride regardless of which trim level you go for. That means it’s not as comfortable as a Citroen C4 or even the Toyota C-HR and can struggle to stay smooth over your average British road. The flip side of that firm suspension is that the Arkana does feel sharp to drive on a twisty road not overly so and still away from being fun but there is plenty of grip and the steering does feel nice and direct. There are three drive modes to choose from on all but the entry-level trim. It sounds like a nice addition but in all honesty you’ll best stick in with the standard hybrid mode at all times.
So if you’re thinking about buying the Renault Arkana but you’re not sure which version to go for, here are my top three choices… For the cheapest, you want the iconic spec car with the mild hybrid engine. If you are a company car user then go for that same spec of car but this time choose the e-tec full hybrid engine. And finally, if you want something that’s fast and sporty and you absolutely must have an Arkana then go for the mild hybrid engine in the RS line trim that’s the quickest and the sportiest looking. There’s no doubt that the Renault Arkana stands out from the crowd thanks to its distinctive styling, impressive value for money and useful practicality. However, you really do have to ask yourself how much the Arkana’s unique body style is really worth to you. That’s because there are plenty of regular SUV’s out there – many of which are comparatively priced and deliver a better ride and more versatile range of engines. But, if your heart is indeed set on having a Renault Arkana, then I recommend that you go for the mild hybrid model in S edition trim with the winter pack as my guilty pleasure optional extra!

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