It’s not easy to stand out in a crowded market but this new French SUV is unlikely to go unnoticed with a coupe-like design matched with a slew of tech.
The 2021 Renault Arkana small SUV has landed in Australia with a starting price of $33,990 (before on-roads) making it one of the cheapest coupe-shaped SUVs on the market.
Competing against rivals such as the Toyota C-HR and Mazda MX-30, the Arkana offers buyers the increasingly popular slicked-back body style without coughing up the cash for more premium options such as the Audi Q3 Sportback.
At the time of writing Renault offers the Arkana in a choice of three grades known as the entry-level Arkana Zen and mid-spec Intens but buyers will have to wait until January 2022 for the range-topping R.S. Line.
From the outside buyers will spot the familiar Renault face with the C-shaped LED daytime running lights matched with the main LED headlights.
Renault has fitted 17-inch two-tone alloy wheels as standard which expand to 18-inch on the Arkana Intens and R.S Line, with each featuring a unique design.
The Arkana R.S. Line lives up to its sportier reputation by adding a honeycomb grille, gun-metal grey skid plates and by swapping out the chrome touches for a darker shade.
Buyers can add a sunroof to the Arkana Intens as a $1,500 option but it comes as standard on the R.S. Line.
Moving inside, buyers will find a standard 7.0-inch landscape centre touchscreen with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, combined with a 4.2-inch display in the instrument cluster that is flanked by two analogue dials.
Renault has included other standard features such as a heated leather steering wheel, a synthetic leather interior and an electric park brake to free up some space.
The cabin has a combined 26-litres of storage dotted around the cabin with a 353-litre boot that expands to 485-litres when including the underfloor storage.
Stepping up to the mid-spec Arkana Intens adds a larger 9.3-inch portrait touchscreen with built-in satellite navigation combined with a 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster.
The material quality takes a step up to leather and suede, while the front occupants gain heated, ventilated and power-adjustable seats along with a smattering of interior lighting to add some ambience.
A heated and perforated leather steering wheel is available only on the Arkana R.S. Line, as is a wireless charger for your phone and rear privacy glass.
Renault trims to the interior of its top-spec model in a similar black and suede combination but with red stitching and adds some carbon pieces and lower door protection to add a more rugged feel.
The Arkana comes out the gate with a five-star ANCAP safety rating that was tested relatively recently in 2019, along with a healthy amount of features as standard.
These include AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection, forward collision warning, lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control with the ability to come to a complete stop at a light before setting off again.
Front and rear parking sensors with a backup camera are also standard but you’ll have to opt for the Arkana Intens to add rear cross-traffic alert.
Sharing the same CMF-B platform as its sibling the Renault Captur, the Arkana uses the same 1.3L four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine but with slightly less grunt at 115kW of power and 262Nm of torque.
Renault pairs this exclusively to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission which sents off the power to the front wheels.
Sadly, Australia has missed out on the series-parallel hybrid option that combines a 1.6-litre petrol engine with a small battery pack and dual electric motors for 102kW of power.
Like all Renaults, the Arakan is covered by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty which offers similar protection to its key rivals.
All prices listed are before on-road costs.
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