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2021 Renault Arkana confirmed for Australia to replace Kadjar

John Law

Renault has confirmed their future in Australia will be SUV-heavy, bringing the all-new Captur in place of the compact Clio in 2021 and adding this rather interesting coupe-like Arkana.

The Arkana was born from a slightly peculiar venture with Dacia, the Russian arm of Renault. The initial concept debuted in 2018 as a Russian design and the concept car looked very slick indeed.

While the production-ready car has lost some of the concept’s edge, like the wacky rear diffuser, the overall shape remains, the car has already shown strong sales in South Korea as the Samsung XM3.

2020 Renault Arkana Profile
Is it a coupe? Is it an SUV? It’s a segment breaker according to Renault.

And as part of Renault Australia’s SUV offensive, it will arrive in the second half of 2021 as the Arkana, where it will take the reigns of the current Kadjar. A short tenure, but Renault Australia confirms that car joined our market toward the end of its planned life.

The sloped-roof Arkana is 96mm longer than the Kadjar (4,545) which is best explained by the elongated coupe-like boot. The new car also boasts a 2,721mm wheelbase, 75mm longer than the Kadjar, boding well for rear-seat comfort.

While the design of the Arkana is more in-line with more stylish compact crossovers like the Mazda CX-30 and Volkswagen T-Roc, though the Renault is really Mazda CX-5 sized.

2021 Renault Arkana Rear 3.4
Part GLC part Megane RS.

In fact, despite a shorter overall length, the Arkana’s wheelbase is 16mm longer than the brand’s own Koleos.

But it’s a more on-trend vehicle that the wagon-bodied Koleos. That sloping roof-line lends it a silhouette akin to the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe, while black cladding underscores the body-work to reiterate that the Arkana is indeed an SUV. 

The headlight design is borrowed front the Megane with that distinctive LED underscore. Renault says the Arkana combines “the elegance of a saloon, the sportiness of a coupé and the robustness of an SUV”.

2021 Renault Arkana Interior
The interior of the Arkana.

Inside some contemporary features appear – an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – but where vehicles like the T-Roc have transitioned to slicker digital interfaces, the Arkana soldiers on with analogue dials and rotary climate controls. 

On closer inspection, the Arkana’s interior is nearly identical to the Dacia Duster. All the hardpoints appear the same and, save for Renault’s hexagonal air-vents, the design is all but indistinguishable.

We really hope that some more exotic colour choices and softer-touch materials make their way into the Australian-market Arkana. 

2020 Dacia Duster Interior
The Dacia Duster is almost identical inside, but a whole lot less cool outside.

Powering the Australian Arkana will be a 150 TCe 1.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder with outputs of 110kW and 250Nm. The gearbox will likely be an X-Tronic CVT similar to that found in the Koleos. Renault will offer the choice of front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive.

The latest generation of Captur sits on a freshly developed platform within the Nissan Renault Mitsubishi alliance. However, the Arkana does not. Instead, and spoilers from the interior, the new stylish SUV sits on Renault’s BO platform. 

That means two things – first this all-new SUV shares underpinnings with the Dacia Duster, Sandero, and the Lada XRay, and secondly, quite a blast-from-the-past, the coupe crossover is fitted with rear-axle drum brakes. However, discs are standard on the front.

2021 Lada XRay
The Arkana shares a platform with a Lada, though it is quite a trendy one.

Whether Renault will adjust some specification for notoriously picky Australian consumers remains to be seen, and the Arkana’s launch in the second half of 2021 is still a while off. We certainly hope the Arkana’s driving experience can match the handsome exterior.