If the Arkana is the first true coupe SUV offered by a generalist manufacturer, it is also the first Renault model to offer only electrified engines, whether “micro-hybrid” or “full-hybrid”. Rather successful, and offered at more competitive prices than the Kadjar, it could hurt the latter. First try !
They are enjoying great success among “premium” manufacturers, often German. They are the SUV coupes, whose drop roof gives them a more dynamic look than the current favorites of buyers. Until then, with the possible exception of Kia with its X-Ceed and Toyota with its C-HR , both of only 4.4 m, general manufacturers had not risked themselves too much in this rather particular segment , since crossing a priori unnatural between a high SUV, and a low two-door coupe.
SUV Coupe, but also habitable behind
Families can rest assured, like the “4-door coupes”, this Arkana, the first generalist of its kind, retains its rear doors while refining its stern. On the style side, we will leave you alone to judge. But even if it is based on the CMF-B platform of the Clio and Captur , Renault has taken care of the livability of its SUV Coupé by stretching the wheelbase of this technical base to 2.72 m (2.58 m on the Clio , 2.64 m for the Captur). So much so that with its 4.57 m long, this Arkana even exceeds its “theoretical big brother”, the Kadjar of 4.49 m.
The trunk takes the opportunity to inflate its volume (513 Dm3 announced against 472 Dm3 for the Kadjar), thanks in particular to a good loading length of 96 cm . And if in exchange its “big brother” offers 5 to 6 cm more for the legs in the second row, adults will be welcome all the same, with a very correct headroom thanks to a slight inclination of the bench backrest. more pronounced than usual.
A dashboard very similar to that of the Captur
In front, we find a dashboard extremely close to that, successful, of the Captur, dressed almost everywhere in flexible plastics in the upper part, and embellished, at least in the Intens and RS Line finish shown here, with the very beautiful vertical screen 9.3 thumbs controlling all the infotainment, including the connected GPS and equipped with a fairly effective voice command.
To stick to its energized look, Renault explains having chosen chassis settings aimed at giving more driving pleasure. And on the beautiful winding roads of Vexin just a few kilometers from the Paris region, this is indeed true… compared to a rather placid Kadjar.
More dynamic than a Kadjar
The Arkana seems to have a more direct steering to minimize the amplitude of movement behind the wheel, especially since the latter has a more reasonable diameter which amplifies this sensation. However, we advise those who appreciate the level of grip to set the steering assistance in Sport mode in the “My Sense” menu, otherwise the steering wheel lacks consistency. Reasonably incisive when the curves tighten, the Arkana is pleasant to drive, but will still not overshadow the benchmark of the segment that is the Peugeot 3008, with its very catchy front end and its tiny steering wheel.
Still very stable, the Arkana is in fact very close to the Captur, with a little less body roll, but the consequences that go with it, namely poorer traction on wet roads, and unpleasant transverse movements of the top of the bust on the distorted roads. Blame it on its larger anti-roll bars, essential for stability in the event of an emergency maneuver (avoidance, etc.) for a high-perched vehicle with 20 cm of ground clearance.
Tremors with the 18-inch wheels
On the comfort side, we still find a lot of the Captur with, under 70 km / h, the tremors of the large 18-inch wheels on the small defects of the road, but an appreciable softness beyond this speed. Under the hood, before the E-Tech 145 hybrid arrives next May, only the 1.3 TCe 140 EDC7 is available for the moment. Assisted by an alternator-starter powered by a 12 V 0.13 kWh lithium-ion battery housed under the passenger seat, this micro-hybrid 4-cylinder (the TCe 160 EDC7 available at the end of the year will also be) provides good discreet performance, both acoustic and vibratory.
The operation of its slight hybridization, which adds up to 10 hp and 20 Nm of torque, is completely transparent, and never disturbs the braking dosage, even in the phases where it recharges the battery. And thanks to the automatic gearbox, which is however sometimes a bit slow, pick-ups and overtaking are always very safe. We just regret that the paddles are far too small and too far from the rim of the steering wheel to easily regain control, and that the clutch dosage is sometimes a little brutal to start at fire. A small downside that the stop-start, slower than on the best of its kind, also accentuates by creating a small delay.
This second Renault micro-hybrid engine (a Scénic diesel, unconvincing, had preceded it a few years ago) now remains to be subjected to our measurements under the ISO 9001 protocol on our Montlhéry circuit to see its efficiency in terms of consumption. .
Attractive price positioning
But we can already say that the price positioning of this Arkana (from € 29,700) will make it very attractive against a more expensive Kadjar of € 2,700 with comparable engines and equipment. Especially since the look and size of this Coupe SUV will make it appear more upscale than its aging “big brother”. The only assets remaining in Kadjar, it alone still offers diesel (it will soon be in the range) and mechanical gearboxes which the Arkana will not have.