All brands already have several SUVs in their range. They are the fashionable car type and hence the sales boom and the fact that they have cornered other bodies. And how can you stand out from so much competition? Do something different, as is the case with the Renault Arkana Hybrid.
In 2021 Renault copied a formula that BMW started with the X6 in 2008, giving its SUVs the appearance of a coupe. Other premium firms followed, such as Mercedes and Audi. And now it seems to the generalist brands to bet on these bodies.
The Renault Arkana Hybrid also has hybrid mechanics in its lineup, such as the one we are testing, the Renault Arkana E-Tech, which is available from 29,000 euros without discounts. How to keep costs in line? Well, with the platform of a small SUV, in this case shared with the Captur. Does that determine its dynamics or its habitability? Let’s take a close look.
Renault Arkana Hybrid Details
Few rivals have this model when it comes to cataloging it. The Citroën C4 and Toyota C-HR may be the only models that come close to that dynamic profile of the Renault Arkana Hybrid, which began sales in Russia.
Despite the novelty, the car looks like a Renault. At the front, the diamond in the center of the upper grille is visually connected by chrome tires to the optic with LED technology and the daytime running lights that go into the bumper like in the successful Captur or the Megane, which are featured by our Youtube channel.
In the lower part there are quite marked bumpers that integrate other air intakes. The black color of our unit quite hides the dark plastics that give it the SUV air.
Seen from the side, we have very smooth lines and two distinctive elements. On the one hand, the fall of the roof, which starts quite far back and is reminiscent of a three-piece sedan. And on the other hand, the ground clearance, which reaches 20 cm, a high figure that enhances the SUV character.
The dimensions are also striking. Renault Arkana Hybrid is 4,568mm long (8cm more than a Kadjar), 1,821mm wide and 1,576mm high with the 18-inch wheels mounted on the RS Line version we tested.
This sporty image variant already integrates a spoiler on the tailgate at the rear. The rear window is stretched in such a way that the optic in the middle is connected to an LED strip, and in the lower part exhaust vents are imitated at the ends of the lower diffuser
Inside we find a space with typical Renault characteristics and in this version RSLine a dark cabin and some sports clothes without causing any discomfort.
The best example are the seats, no bucket seats or anything like that, but a pursuit of comfort. They are covered in leather and have electrical regulations and are heated in this finish.
For them a three-spoke steering wheel with the RS logo, but with a finer edge than real sports cars are used to. It has buttons for main functions, speed control on the left and communication on the right.
Looking through it, we see a 10.2-inch digital instrument panel – 4.2 or 7 in the base versions. The appearance changes quite drastically depending on the driving mode, but it doesn’t show much information.
It is not the only screen, because in the center of the dashboard there is a 9.3 (7 in the access trims), which stands out for its size and good graphics – except for the rear view camera, which could be greatly improved – but perhaps some menus could be simplified and it is sometimes difficult to find the information one is looking for. There is a quick access at the bottom, to the main menu or the volume.
A little further down it retains some physical controls, for the driving modes and especially those of the air conditioning, three very user-friendly roulette wheels. There is no shortage of USB sockets for the mobile before the change dialer.
In the front, habitability is good, as the center console is quite narrow. The adjustments between the pieces are quite good and the materials are the usual in a generalist car, with hard plastics in the lower parts and quite a lot of piano black around the center console. Padded materials are reserved for the upper part of the dashboard and door panels.
Beyond that, my attention has been drawn that the fall of the ceiling does not prevent us from entering a space with quite square shapes, so access is easy. Headroom is decent if you’re over 1.80 like me and legroom in this back seat is fine. Better than a Captur, yes, because it has 8 cm more wheelbase (2,720 mm).
Scarce, as usual, for three occupants, but at least we have sockets for the air conditioning and USB sockets to plug in mobile devices.
The trunk of the Renault Arkana Hybrid has a capacity of 480 liters in the hybrid versions, which means that it loses 33 compared to conventional variants. It is a nice figure, higher than that of a Kadjar (472 liters) and of course that of a Captur (377 liters).
In addition to space, the hybrid version loses the ability to have a floor at two heights. It has a space underneath, yes, where it houses a temporary spare tire.
We are missing some practical elements that the Kadjar does have, such as hangers or hooks to hold the load. The edge is quite far from the ground, making loading difficult and the gate (not electrically operated) difficult to close for short people.
It is possible to lower the backrests of the rear seats, which are divided into two parts. When you do this operation, you get a volume of 1,263 liters.
One of the sections where the Renault Arkana Hybrid E-Tech stands out is the donation. From access to final level intense offers standard climate control, cruise control and speed limiter† on-board computer, touchscreen multimedia system with DAB radio and compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, LED headlights, six airbags…
Using the CMF-B platform makes it possible to have driver assistance systems such as pre-collision warning, signal reader, Lane Departure Alert, Emergency Braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection…
Above that we find a more elegant bet, the Zen, with 18 inch wheels, darkened rear windows, a navigator with a 9.3 inch screen, driving modes, mixed leatherette upholstery and a Nappa steering wheel, the instrument panel digital, light-sensitive interior mirror, mood lighting, automatic high beam. .. or rear traffic alarm, inductive charger, adaptive speed control…
Our test unit had the termination Finally, RSLine In addition to the specific 18-inch wheels, it has different bumpers, heated electric sports seats, special interior inserts and mixed Alcantara upholstery.
The Renault Arkana e-tech hybrid is available from 29,000 euros for the Intense finish, while the tested RS Line version pushes the price up to €31,600† It is a premium of 1,350 euros compared to the 140 hp microhybrid variant. A somewhat high rate, but you can find the Renault Arkana offers in our new cars section, published by the official dealers of the brand. We also have interesting financing tools to make it more convenient to pay for the car each month.
The Renault Arkana Hybrid is sold exclusively with ECO-labelled engines. The range starts with two versions of light hybrid petrol which combine a 1.3 TCe petrol engine with a 12V electrical system and deliver 140 and 160 hp mated to a seven-speed EDC dual-clutch gearbox.
Then there is this hybrid E-Tech variant. It uses a system very similar to that of the Megane Sport Tourer E-Tech we tested. to advertise 145 hp and consists of three engines. On the one hand, one of the combustion, a 94 hp 1.6 four-cylinder petrol block with two electric:
- one of 49 CV to move in electric mode with the energy of the battery of 1.2 kWh gross capacity.
- another of 20 CV that serves to start the march, regenerate energy and adjust the rotation speed with the thermal propellant.
Then there’s the e-tech multimode automatic gearbox, with up to 15 combinations that alternate the gears of the combustion engine and main electric motor. It does not require a clutch or synchronizers (a solution that comes from experience in Formula 1).
It announces modest benefits as the top speed remains at 172 km/h and it can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 10.8 seconds. The best is the approved consumption of only 4.8 l/100 km. It’s normal that they don’t bet on a plug-in hybrid variant. Let’s see how it goes.
Bearing in mind that all versions of the Arkana have an ECO label, one wonders who the hybrid is more interesting for. No doubt for those who are going to be using it a lot in the city. In these urban environments, with some bypass highways, I achieved a consumption of 5.2 l/100 km. And it is that the car has an extraordinary ability to regenerate energy and you can drive for a long time in electric mode, even at high speeds if you do not accelerate fully.
In this area, the hybrid is unparalleled in terms of cost and ease of use. Both have a good turning circle for the size of the car and the truth is that if you play around with the driving modes you can harden the steering quite a bit which isn’t very communicative but doesn’t float in your hands either.
The Renault Arkana Hybrid has three riding modes, which vary the response of the engines to throttle or steering. They range from the ECO, the most conservative looking for low consumption, to the Sport, the most reactive. Between the two, the My Sense, which seeks comfort and balance in use.
You can also vary some parameters within a driving mode and increase the hold mode by moving the gear lever from mode D to B. In this way you regenerate more energy.
Of course, don’t be fooled by the coupé line, nor the RS Line trim (which has no specific chassis modification) or the Sport mode. It’s not a sports car at all. If the headroom to the ground limits it much in the curve, where physics imposes its law. That ground clearance makes it easier to hit the trails, but there’s no four-wheel drive or electronic aids to help you navigate obstacles or slippery floors.
And then there’s the engine, which, without being a bull’s eye as the technical data sheet announces, is pleasant to drive at quiet speeds, although at strong acceleration some engine noise can be heard in the passenger compartment. The set calls for going slow and gaining speed smoothly and the truth is it does that very well, with no sudden gear changes.
People are asking for SUVs. In 2021 they already accounted for 57% of sales to private individuals. And the Arkana has managed to enter such a mature market strongly. Sales at the level of the Clio, only behind the Captur.
Your weapons? An aesthetic that convinces and ECO versions. This hybrid is perfect for moving in low-spending urban environments without having to rely on a plug. Of course, if you’re going to be traveling a lot, you might be more interested in a micro bridal version.
Homologates a liter more consumption, but its 100 kg less weight makes it equal on the highway. Especially if you climb a loaded mountain pass at a considerable pace, because if the battery is empty, the 94 hp of the thermal motor can be a bit better.
The starting price is comparable to that of a 180 hp Toyota C-HR. A car that is not only more powerful and dynamic, but also more convincing when cornering. The Arkana squeezes its electric autonomy very well, has a much larger interior and trunk and very complete equipment for that close to 30,000 euros.