According to the press launch for the brand new Renault Arkana, “In a completely saturated and relatively uniform SUV market, the new Renault Arkana stands out and does so with a unique personality.”
I can definitely agree with the primary bit, and, although I do know it’s futile, I’ve to register one other protest towards the style for SUVs and their derivatives – the SUV/coupe, the SUV crossover and the compact SUV. The market is certainly saturated, and the merchandise are “relatively uniform”, to place it mildly. It’s exhausting to think about a producer outdoors the higher reaches of exotica that doesn’t make a big selection of SUVs and crossovers, with each doable dimension and variation represented available in the market. Everyone from Dacia to Rolls-Royce will do you an SUV. Time was when it was a alternative between a Land Rover, Range Rover, Mercedes G-class, Suzuki Jimny, Jeep, Toyota Land Cruiser, Nissan Patrol or Lada Niva (lately returned, however that’s one other story) – all working autos, extra utility than sport. Now everybody’s at it, and that’s as a result of everybody seemingly desires one, regardless that they don’t actually work in city use, and even the sportiest, equivalent to a BMW X5 M Competition, has a lower than optimum centre of gravity. It’s a area of interest gone mad.
Yes, they’re all too huge, too heavy, too sophisticated (particularly in four-wheel drive type), and too samey. They’re jamming congested metropolis streets and slim nation lanes alike, and the excessive driving place doesn’t actually compensate for the environmental influence. If everybody drove a hatch, saloon or property as a substitute, the world could be a greener place.
Which brings us to the Renault Arkana, which at the least is a hybrid, however, oddly given Renault’s wonderful progress with battery-only autos, there’s no all-electric possibility. As for its “unique” persona, it’s based mostly on the identical platform because the smaller Renault Captur, and shares plenty of its transferring and computing components with Renault Group merchandise. It’s fairly a likeable car, this Renault, and it definitely doesn’t shame itself. I discovered it to be a typical mid-range SUV/crossover, with the standard excessive stance and excessive waist and a good coupe line to the styling. It appears to be like fairly good-looking and modern, then, with out being too aggressive, and it avoids the in-yer-face grille remedy that the German premium manufacturers insist on these days. The 18in alloy wheels are all the pieces a trendy dad or mum would wish to impress on the college run. This is a Renault that appears and appears like a high-quality product, and, being constructed by its Samsung affiliate in South Korea, it should be dependable with it.
“Arkana”, by the way in which, is made-up title referencing the Latin arcanum, that means “secret”, and the English “arcane”, and one thriller is why the Arkana is greater than the Renault Kadjar of their vary, although the Kadjar is dearer. I feel it’s as a result of the Qashqai-based Kadjar is the extra refined package deal, however you’d not discover that taking it to the outlets.
The Arkana in all fairness well-equipped for the worth/leasing deal, although you will get higher worth elsewhere (equivalent to the superb revised Qashqai). In the middle-trim “S Edition” I attempted it enjoys the total suite of security options, together with adaptive cruise management with computerized braking, warning lights within the mirrors if somebody’s getting too shut when overtaking/enterprise and it’s intelligent sufficient to let you understand if somebody’s approaching as you’re reversing out of a parking house, for instance.
For driving, it’s additionally OK, although once more I can’t credit score it with a “unique” persona, as its traits aren’t so radically totally different to what you’d uncover in a Toyota C-HR, Mazda CX-30, new Citroen C4, Nissan Qashqai, Seat Ateca, Skoda Kodiaq, Kia Sportage, Ford Kuga and so forth and so forth and so forth, besides that the experience is a bit jiggly and I seen wind noise at pace. Hybrids often have some type of constantly variable and somewhat whiny transmission, however the Arkana’s seven-speed computerized gearbox with a twin clutch is clean and matches the set-up effectively. It’s front-wheel drive solely, by the way in which, which is a mercy.
If you need to go quietly about your enterprise you possibly can press a button and it’ll take you about, effectively, two miles – that is mainly a fossil-fuelled motor usefully assisted on the transfer by electrical propulsion, and with no plug-in facility – although the claimed carbon dioxide emissions are fairly good for the dimensions of car.
There’s loads of house and a good sized boot, albeit with a excessive sill, and the connectivity is all you’d want for, once more in step with its mainstream classmates. You don’t get into it with any sense of event, as you’ll, say, a Range Rover. It’s not a lot the Arkana itself that bugs me as a lot because the “saturated and relatively uniform SUV” market, to borrow a phrase. I simply hanker for the previous days when the French manufacturers made brilliantly spacious and modern individuals carriers, the Multi-Purpose Vehicles, or MPVs. Remember the Renault Espace, the Renault Megane Scenic, the Citroen Picasso? The breed has nearly gone extinct, pushed out by rabid shopper demand for the Arkana and all the remainder of them. The solely factor that may be mentioned for them is that they are typically good bases for electrification, however battery-powered designs don’t must be SUVs.
When will the insanity finish?