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Test Drive: Renault Arkana E-Tech 145 : refined and caring


Pending a slight restyling expected during Summer, the Renault Arkana range just got a new version named E-Tech Engineered. Even though there are just cosmetic changes, this is a good opportunity to rediscover an SUV Coupé that sells rather well. It combines a rather comfortable experience with top grade fit and finish as well as up-to-the-minute engines.

The E-Tech Engineered version gets glossy black front and rear panels, a specific E-Tech Engineered sticker, « warm titanium » exhaust tips and a boot spoiler giving it more sporty credentials. Body style is matched by the black interior featuring the unavoidable E-Tech badge and, again, « warm titanium » touches on the steering wheel, seats and dashboard. Enough to enhance the whole interior.

I like it

The Arkana uses the Captur platform but manages to be different as both its wheelbase and overall length are 8 and no less than 31 cm longer. The Arkana has a rather pleasing look and its curved roofline makes it cleverly verging on the fashionable trend of pompously named « coupes » SUVs. This new version brings the car an even more dynamic look that suits it like a glove.

Quite clever

The hybrid powertrain can achieve rather low fuel consumption figures. Reduced fuel consumption is what it’s all about with new cars and putting it first and foremost might be something of a surprise but Renault got it right. Selecting the Eco mode will reduce fuel consumption even more, but then  the car won’t feel very dynamic on the road.

I don’t like it

It’s a shame that Renault didn’t fit paddles behind the steering wheel to change gears. The sporty look and rather firm suspension settings lead to drive the Arkana in a spirited way through fast curves, even though it is best enjoyed at a leisurely pace.

Why I buy it

The Renault Arkana makes you feel at home. The driving position is perfect and quality interior materials suit it so well. The numerous E-Tech Engineered touches set it apart in a restrained way and suit it very well. Ergonomics are great, all the switches and knobs are easy to use and the onboard screens are not too big. The various driving aids are not too invasive and can be easily deactivated, something we like. Comfort is good, even if older drivers will find the suspension is too firm for their liking but the car will remain utterly safe in all circumstances.

Why I don’t buy it

Some drivetrain reluctancies will remind you that this is a hybrid devoid of any sporty pretentions and the lack of steering wheel paddles just confirms it. During our 280 km test drive, we averaged 7.6 liters/100 km. This Arkana starts from €38,425. Useful extras are the electric sunroof (€ 1,200), the motorway and traffic assistance (€ 600)  or the flame red color (€ 840). (Translation: Dimitri Urbain)

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