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First review Renault Arkana E-Tech Hybrid (2021): is Renault doing it again!?

What stands out about the Renault Arkana E-Tech Hybrid (2021)?

Fair is fair: the new Citroën C4 also looks a lot like a suv coupé. Only Citroën avoids that name like the plague. Renault puts a lot of emphasis on it with the Arkana. Smart, because that’s how you package the car as a first in this price range. After all, an Audi Q3 Sportback only starts at around 50,000 euros.

Together with the slightly extended butt, the coupé-like roofline makes the Renault Arkana an elegant appearance. Despite the split underbody, it is a very different car than the Renault Captur. Not just in appearance, by the way. With its length of 4.57 meters, the Arkana is more than 30 centimeters longer. Even the Renault Kadjar is trumped by almost 10 cm.

Technically, the Renault Arkana is also an outsider, if only because of its complicated history. But it is also special that in the Netherlands, for the time being, it will only be available with a (plugless) hybrid powertrain. The technology is the same as with the Renault Clio E-Tech Hybrid: a combination of a turboless 1.6-litre petrol engine and two electric motors. They generate 143 horsepower via an eight-speed automatic transmission.

What’s good about the Renault Arkana E-Tech Hybrid (2021)?

Coupe lines and practicality don’t always go together. Still, the rear passengers have plenty of headroom and the legroom is even remarkably good. Renault has achieved this by lowering the seat and adjusting the inclination of the backrest. The luggage compartment has a capacity of 480 liters, more than enough for an average family.

We drive the Renault Arkana RS Line, the overcomplete top version. It has a high-quality interior, with carbon look on the dashboard and doors, red accents and seats in leather and Alcantara. Beautiful!

What could be improved with the Renault Arkana E-Tech Hybrid (2021)?

Those who love a high seating position will certainly enjoy themselves in the Renault Arkana. In fact, on the electrically adjustable seats of the RS Line you sit like Willem-Alexander during the Speech from the Throne. If you are not very tall and sit quite far forward, you should be careful not to bump your head against the A-pillar when getting in and out.

During our test ride with the Arkana, it rained heavily. We mostly drove on back roads and visibility through the rear window was poor. We tried in vain to bring the rear wiper to life. Only to find out after many attempts that it shines because of its absence … At speed those drops disappear again, but it is not optimal.

According to Renault, the Arkana needs an average of 5.0 liters of petrol per 100 km (1 in 20). During our test drive we came to 5.9 l/100 km (1 in 16.9). It’s only a first impression, but we don’t think that’s a great score for a hybrid.

When will the Renault Arkana E-Tech Hybrid (2021) come and what is the price?

The Renault Arkana will be at the dealer in July. As mentioned, it is there with only one drivetrain. The number of equipment variants is limited to three: Zen, Intense and the RS Line. The Zen (from 32,390 euros) is already quite fully equipped, with 17-inch alloy, climate control, track assistance, traffic sign recognition, a reversing camera and digital radio.

To this adds the Intense (from 34,590 euros) adaptive cruise control, blind spot assistance and a warning for crossing traffic behind. As well as TomTom navigation, front and rear skid plates and 18-inch alloy wheels. In addition to leather, carbon-look and Alcantara in the interior, the RS Line (from 37,290 euros) also has an automatic parking system. Steering wheel and seat heating and a wireless charger for the smartphone complete the picture.

What do I think of the Renault Arkana E-Tech Hybrid (2021)?

I didn’t think the Arkana was a dazzling appearance in the photos, but the live introduction has changed my opinion in the positive. Especially diagonally from the rear it looks good, and the interior also looks nice. The seating position, on the other hand, is much too high and the performance does not make an indelible impression. It goes from 0 to 100 km/h in 10.8 seconds. This makes the Arkana clearly slower than the roughly equally expensive Citroën C4 PureTech 155 and the Peugeot 2008 PureTech 130.

Still, I predict a positive future for the Arkana. It’s a fresh-looking planting among the nearly invisible trees in the overgrown suv forest. Moreover, it is favorably priced if you compare it with peers like the Nissan Qashqai and Volvo XC40. But whether the Arkana will be as big a success as the Scénic and the Captur remains to be seen.

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