20 May 2022

Kildare motoring review: Flowing lines and sleek design

Motoring review: The new Renault Arkana E-TECH Hybrid looks like no other car in its class

Kildare motoring review: Flowing lines and sleek design

The new Renault Arkana E-TECH Hybrid

The all-new Renault Arkana sports SUV looks like no other car in its class with its flowing lines and sleek coupé design.

However, the Arkana stays true to its SUV roots with excellent interior space for all five occupants, and generous boot space for even greater practicality. The Arkana is based on the French brand’s Captur SUV, but with a lower and more raked roofline, with longer overall dimensions offering more legroom for rear passengers.

Additionally, the rear seats have been oriented to maximise head room, while the 513-litre boot (480 litres on Arkana E-TECH Hybrid) ensures a generous load area with a variable-height boot floor featuring on mild (micro) hybrid versions. For maximum interior space, the rear seats fold, leaving a level, flat load area for bulkier items.

Electrified Petrol Engines

The Arkana is available with two electrified petrol engines. Buyers can choose from an E-TECH hybrid unit, combining a 1.6-litre petrol engine with two electric motors to produce 145bhp, or a mild (micro) hybrid option that provides a boost to the 140bhp petrol engine but can’t drive under electrical power alone. 

In the self-charging E-TECH hybrid version the electric motors work together with the petrol engine when you pull away, come to a standstill or when you need extra power in acceleration phases.

The electric power is supplied by a small traction battery which recharges through regenerative braking and is located under the back seats.

As a result, the support of electric power reduces fuel consumption from the petrol engine and enhances the overall driving experience, with improved responsiveness and silence when driving in full electric mode.

The mild-hybrid system features a 1.3-litre petrol engine with a smaller 12V battery which also stores energy recovered during braking. The energy is then used to support the petrol engine under acceleration and to offer smoother stop and start functionality.

Generously-Equipped Trim Levels

Available in Iconic, S Edition and R.S. Line trim levels, the new Arkana features an extensive list of standard equipment including EASY LINK touchscreen display, diamond-cut alloy wheels and full LED lighting technology.

The entry-level Arkana Iconic features a seven-inch media system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, while Arkana S Edition and R.S. Line models come with a bigger portrait 9.3-inch display, also featuring navigation. Renault has a strong safety record, so it will come as no surprise that the new Arkana has been awarded five stars by crash test experts at Euro NCAP. Standard safety equipment across the range includes an active emergency braking system with pedestrian and cyclist detection, as well as a lane keep assist system. There is a safety distancing warning on hand (to advise if you're getting too close to the car in front), and an emergency call button which can alert the emergency services in the event of an accident. There is also the usual tally of airbags, as well as a tyre pressure monitoring system and Isofix child seat mounting points on the outer rear seats and front passenger seat.

Renault Arkana S Edition models and above also get blind spot warning and rear traffic warning systems, as well as traffic sign recognition with speed alert, adaptive cruise control with speed limiter and automatic main/dipped beam headlight activation, while the top-spec Renault Arkana RS Line features Easy Park Assist (handsfree parking) too.

Test Car Details

My test car was a new Arkana RS Line E-TECH Hybrid, which was finished in elegant Platinum Grey metallic paintwork. Producing 142bhp and 250Nm of torque, the Arkana E-TECH Hybrid can sprint from 0-100km/h in 10.8-seconds and can reach a top speed of 172km/h (where permitted), while fuel consumption as low as 4.9l/100kms is possible when driven on a WLTP combined driving cycle.

Additionally, a CO2 emission figure of 111g/km leads to annual road tax of just €180.

The multi-mode automatic transmission in the Arkana is smooth in its operation and adds to the overall ease of drivability, while drivers looking for a responsive coupé/SUV with excellent handling characteristics won’t be disappointed by what the Arkana E-TECH Hybrid has to offer. It corners enthusiastically and soaks up most road imperfections unobtrusively, with comfortable and supportive seats ensuring that occupants remain composed and relaxed on every journey.

As with all hybrid vehicles, it is not possible to travel a substantial distance under electric power, but the Arkana’s hybrid system does prioritise electric mode, particularly on start-up. This means that you can creep away from a standstill without the petrol engine kicking in — ideal for drivers who have to tackle congested city streets during their daily commute.

Verdict, Pricing and Warranty

With its athletic, sloping profile, modern design touches and the most up-to-date lighting technology delivering a standout signature, the all-new Arkana provides a distinctive and sleek presence on the road.

Pricing for the new Renault Arkana starts at just €29,240 (ex-works) or from just €252 per month on PCP finance at 4.84% — terms & conditions apply.

All Renault cars and vans come with warranty protection providing worry-free motoring for five years or 200,000kms as standard — one of the best warranty offerings on the Irish market.

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