Renault Arkana - Engines, performance and drive
The Arkana fails to excel in any one area on the road, with the easily flummoxed E-Tech hybrid setup not helping matters
Despite its sporty coupe-esque looks, the Renault Arkana is fairly bland to drive, and continues to be let down by its full-hybrid powertrain that’s underpowered and easily flummoxed when you ask for brisk acceleration. The roar of the petrol engine isn’t the only noise that fills the cabin though, as it’s joined by an excessive amount of road and wind roar, unless you’re driving on truly silky smooth tarmac.
We will say the Arkana’s suspension does a decent job at softening the impacts from potholes and other imperfections in the road, yet it is firm enough that the Arkana does lean onto its door handles when cornering. However, the ride never quite settles down, fidgeting at low speeds and on even vaguely uneven road surfaces will have occupants jiggling about in their seats.
The uninvolving powertrain and numb steering don’t make it a particularly fun car to drive, either. Switching from the default ‘MySense’ drive mode to ‘Sport’ only makes the steering heavier and the throttle response slightly quicker, but doing so also causes the engine to revs to hang slightly after you lift off the accelerator.
The Arkana does settle down in town, but only because the electric motor does most of the heavy lifting. Naturally, for a car of this size, it’s not particularly nimble, nor does it fit easily into some tighter parking spaces. Ultimately, the Renault Arkana fails to excel in any area on the road.
0-62mph acceleration and top speed
The Renault Arkana is a case of all show, no go. Its full-hybrid E-Tech powertrain uses a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor to drive the front wheels, while a starter generator is responsible for firing up the engine when needed.
You always move away on the electric motor’s power, meaning you can silently glide around city streets and car parks on electric power for a surprising amount of time. We found if you’re gentle with the throttle, the four-pot engine only butts in as you approach 30mph.
If you try to launch the Arkana, to join a dual-carriageway or motorway, for instance, the electric motor provides a decent amount of initial shove to get you off the line, before quickly throwing in the towel. At that point, the petrol engine roars into life, barely producing enough power in the process for the 1.4-tonne Arkana to get out of its own way – as evidenced by the 10.8-second 0-62mph time.
Hard acceleration also causes the revs to soar, but with no paddles on the steering wheel to demand the transmission make a gear change, you’re stuck listening to the drone of the engine as you gain speed at a frustratingly slow rate.
In this review
- 1Renault Arkana reviewThe Renault Arkana is a coupe-SUV, but it lacks much substance to go with that style
- 2Engines, performance and drive - currently readingThe Arkana fails to excel in any one area on the road, with the easily flummoxed E-Tech hybrid setup not helping matters
- 3MPG, CO2 and running costsEfficient E-Tech hybrid powertrain offers low running costs, and insurance shouldn’t break the bank either
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe Renault Arkana’s interior is a let-down in terms of both design and infotainment
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe Renault Arkana has a roomy interior and a big boot, so it’s more practical than it looks
- 6Reliability and safetySafety kit is very good, but Renault failed to impress owners in our most recent Driver Power survey