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Car Review

Renault Arkana review

£26,765 - £31,065
510
Published: 11 Dec 2023
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

The Arkana suffers from a firm ride, as Renault engineers prioritise ‘sporty’ handling over comfort. So the front end is direct and the car remains flat through corners, but it means the car’s too firm. An odd choice for a family car.

It’s the sort of ride that puts you on edge with passengers onboard, apologising when you take a speed bump a little bit too swiftly.

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The steering wheel also feels a touch over-assisted, dialled up to force the wheel back to the centre and making a corner or roundabout feel like a series of micro manoeuvres than a single flowing event.

Any driving modes to spice up life behind the wheel?

There are three (from mid-spec upwards): ‘My Sense’, Sport and Eco mess around with the throttle, steering and digital instrument display. My Sense is the Goldilocks choice and Renault’s fancy way of saying ‘Normal’; Eco saps your power; Sport makes the steering even heavier and hangs onto gears and revs.

All are much of a muchness. Would it not be better to choose one set-up that plays to the car’s strengths?

Is it quick?

Heavens no. The 1.6-litre engine and electric motors only combine for 142bhp, which means 0-62mph takes 10.8 seconds; an eternity if you’re joining a motorway and quite a long time everywhere else. Top speed - not that it matters - is 107mph.

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No, the thing that matters here is fuel economy. At 57.6mpg, one of the Arkana’s biggest strengths is to sip at the contents of the fuel tank like it’s a piping hot cup of tea. We managed fuel economy above 50mpg in mixed driving, so we’ve no doubt it’ll be a frugal companion regardless of what kind of driving you tend to do. Handy in these times of high fuel prices.

Tell me more about the hybrid element.

The inclusion of a 1.2kWh battery makes this a full hybrid, i.e. one that runs entirely on petrol but will save up enough juice to occasionally kill the engine completely to pootle under electric power for a bit. Only a mile or two at a time (at most), but enough to make slipping through town calm and peaceful.

The problem we’ve found is that the system always wants to keep the battery in play, so at random points in your journey the revs will spike and make you think your foot has slipped on the throttle. Don’t panic, it’s the car not you.

Highlights from the range

the fastest

1.6 E-Tech FHEV 145 Techno 5dr Auto
  • 0-6210.8s
  • CO2
  • BHP140.8
  • MPG
  • Price£28,765

the cheapest

1.6 E-Tech FHEV 145 Evolution 5dr Auto
  • 0-6210.8s
  • CO2
  • BHP140.8
  • MPG
  • Price£26,765

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