In-depth reviews

Renault Arkana review

The new Renault Arkana is a stylish-looking coupe-SUV, but the French manufacturer’s other SUVs outshine it

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.5 out of 5

£24,420 to £28,980
  • Stylish looks
  • Well equipped
  • Roomy interior
  • Poor ride
  • Interior quality
  • Dull to drive

The Renault Arkana succeeds in many ways for its small niche as a coupe-SUV without a premium price tag - and there are plenty of attractive finance offers that mean it’s pretty good value for money in some ways.

Yet there may be a reason for these low prices, as the Arkana’s powertrains aren’t as convincing here as they are in other, smaller Renault models and the ride isn’t as good as what we’ve come to expect from the brand. The Arkana misses the mark when you consider that a smaller SUV like the Captur is better value, while the larger Kadjar is more comfortable. However, it’s smart-looking, practical and has a lot of standard safety kit.

About the Renault Arkana

The Renault Arkana is a new niche model for the brand, and although it’s based on the same underpinnings as the Captur crossover, it’s larger and the coupe-like shape means it has a different kind of appeal. Renault has specifically named the Toyota C-HR as a rival, which gives you a good idea of where it sits in the market. Other competitors include the latest Citroen C4, another French model with smart looks, and you could consider a Mazda CX-30 as an alternative as well.

If you’ve been to Russia you might have seen a model called Arkana there, but this version is pretty much completely different to that model and is built in South Korea. While it uses the CMF platform of the Captur, the Arkana is actually bigger than its Kadjar sibling, which technically sits above it in the range.

There are two engines, a 1.3-litre petrol engine with 138bhp, or an E-Tech hybrid model with a 1.6-litre petrol engine and an electric motor for a combined 140bhp. Both use an automatic gearbox as standard, and even the normal petrol has mild-hybrid assistance.

The Arkana shares many styling elements with other models in the Renault range - the C-shaped headlights are the most noticeable aspect, along with the trim piece on the bottom of the doors and the plastic cladding around the wheel arches. These are all very familiar from the Captur, though the Arkana’s sloping rear roofline and other exaggerated features help it stand out.

There are only three trim levels: Iconic, S Edition and R.S. Line. Standard equipment on the base model includes LED lights, 17-inch alloys, fabric seats, a seven-inch touchscreen with smartphone connectivity and climate control, while safety kit includes traffic sign recognition, AEB, lane keep assist and a rear-view camera with parking sensors.

S Edition models add a blind spot warning, plus a larger 9.3-inch screen and a seven-inch driver’s info display. There’s also 18-inch alloys and adaptive cruise control. R.S. Line gets a sportier look with 18-inch alloy wheels and extra trim pieces, plus heated seats and leather seats.

Prices look high given that the Arkana feels like a scaled-up Captur rather than an upmarket new model, but we have spotted plenty of low-cost finance deals that could mean it’s worth considering - yet the strength of its rivals mean it’s not the easiest model to recommend.

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