Publication date: 27 June 2021
Renault Arkana

Renault Arkana

Fashionable in the urban jungle

Review - A combination of an SUV and a coupé is nothing new. In fact, it makes sense, as it combines the desirability of one car with the functionality of the other. Until now, however, this combination was reserved only for so-called "premium" brands with their corresponding "premium" price tags. Renault is now introducing the Arkana: a coupé SUV at a very ordinary price.

The combination of an SUV and a coupé is not new, and even the Arkana is not new! In fact, the model was already introduced in Russia several years ago There, its success was greater than Renault dared to predict, which is why the Arkana is now coming to Europe. However, the Russian Arkana was based on a simple platform (from the Dacia Duster, among others) and that does not meet Europeans' requirements in terms of safety and dynamics.

Renault Arkana


That is why Renault has developed an all-new Arkana for Europe on a more modern platform. This offers its advantages, as combining an SUV and a coupé is a lot harder than it seems. The sloping roofline limits space in the rear, while an SUV is bought for its functionality. As a solution, the rear seats have been placed lower than the front seats. Next, the angle of the backrest and headrests has been chosen so that the head of the rear passengers does not come close to the hinges of the tailgate (the lowest point).

Renault Arkana
Renault Arkana

And indeed! The space in the rear of the Arkana is comparable to that of a similar SUV with an angular body. The boot is different though: it is low, but very deep. Because the rear window hinges with the tailgate, the boot is very accessible.

Despite the dark headlining, the cosy feel characteristic of a coupé is missing. Renault does, however, convince with a sporty and exclusive feel. For instance, the "R.S. Line" driven here features sports seats that are un-French firm. Red stitching, kevlar-patterned panels and chrome accents do the rest.


The Arkana's equipment is modern and complete. A special feature is the upright display for operating the audio, communication and sat nav. As far as Autozine is concerned, this is an important advantage, especially when using the navigation function. After all, the driver wants to know how the route in front of the car is developing, not what can be seen around the vehicle. Following the latest trend, the system can be operated like a tablet computer. The Arkana also understands spoken commands, but with fixed keywords in a fixed order.

Renault Arkana

During the test, all features functioned properly. The reversing camera proved to be of great value in the rain, as the Arkana is not equipped with a rear window wiper. On motorways, the rear window blows clean automatically, but in the city, rear visibility in the rain is zero. With the tone control in neutral and all "sound enhancers" switched off, the Bose audio system sounds acceptable. However, the term "high definition" is pure fantasy from Renault's marketing department, because clarity is precisely what the audio system lacks compared to audio systems from other brands.

Performance and consumption

Renault wants to distinguish itself from other SUV coupés with its price. That is why it did not opt for an extremely powerful engine and instead opted for hybrid technology. Under the bonnet are a 1.6-litre petrol engine and an electric motor. The battery that powers the electric motor is charged while driving, braking and coasting. Subsequently, the Arkana can travel short distances entirely electric. As a rule, the Arkana drives electrically at low speeds and on the petrol engine at higher speeds. However, when little power is required, the petrol engine can also be switched off on the highway and the electric motor takes over.

Renault Arkana

The interplay between the two engines is smooth and almost imperceptible. Occasionally, the petrol engine instinctively revs too much. This is not a fault of the automatic gearbox, but a sign that the battery is being recharged extra quickly. When the battery is not being charged, the petrol engine is distinctly quiet and "hums" contentedly in the background. Depending on the surface, the tyres are either well or moderately audible. Thanks to the excellent streamline, driving wind noise is nil in most cases.

The two engines combine for 143 hp, making the Arkana not fast, but smooth. When the sport mode is chosen, throttle response is alert and the petrol engine makes itself heard more emphatically. This does not improve performance, but thanks to the show element, the car still feels faster. Regardless of the mode chosen, the brakes are nice and biting, which also adds to the feeling of sportiness.

During our test, economic and sport mode were used interchangeably. On a route with motorways, back roads and city traffic, the test consumption came out at exactly 5 litres per 100 km (in line with the brochure's promise).

Renault Arkana


The Arkana is powered by a so-called "parallel hybrid" rather than a "plug-in hybrid". The latter theoretically delivers more power at (even) lower consumption. However, a plug-in hybrid is more expensive and heavier. To give the coupé feeling, Renault wanted to give the Arkana a dynamic character and then less weight is better. In doing so, it chose a rear axle tuned for stability, while the front axle is tuned for comfort.

The steering is therefore light but precise. At the same time, the Arkana communicates excellently with the driver, which is why this Renault feels more solidly German than traditionally French. The Arkana not only lends itself to fast cornering, but even invites it! Because of the high seat, it is always noticeable that the Arkana is an SUV, while the suspension grips into corners like a real coupé.

Renault Arkana


Renault is one of the few non-premium brands to introduce an SUV coupé. This leads to two questions: does the Arkana manage to give an exclusive feel? And does the Arkana really drive differently from a traditional SUV?

Next to a premium-brand SUV coupé, the Arkana is less opulent. Moreover, the cabin does not give the cosy and secure feeling that is characteristic for coupé. However, the sporty trim makes up for a lot, which does make the Arkana feel more exclusive than your average SUV. Last but not least, despite all the show, the Arkana is almost as spacious as a conventional SUV, even in the rear.

When again compared to the more expensive brands, the Arkana offers significantly less power and therefore performance is also less. However, its biting brakes and excellent roadholding still make it sporty. Moreover, the Arkana's lighter (hybrid) engine can also be seen as an advantage, as this helps make the Renault more economical to buy and use. So everyone can get through the urban jungle fashionably!

  • Excellent handling
  • Distinctive design
  • Spacious and practical
  • No rear windscreen wiper