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Renault Arkana SUV hybrid swoops in

Orders open for the new Arkana, the Renault SUV with liftback 'coupé-inspired' styling

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Renault has started taking orders for its Arkana, the first of its SUV range with liftback ‘coupé-inspired’ styling.

Based on the Renault Captur small SUV but stretched by 30cm, the Renault Arkana carries a sleeker profile than its more upright Captur and Kadjar SUV siblings. But its makers insist that the car is still practical, with generous rear seat space and a 513-litre boot.

Two powertrains are on offer, both electrified. The E-Tech hybrid 145 Auto combines a 1.6-litre petrol engine with two electric motors powered from a 1.2kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

Like most hybrid drivetrains, start-up and low-speed travel is done in electric mode, making the car particularly suitable for urban stop-start driving. Renault quotes fuel economy of about 59mpg and CO2 emissions of 108g/km, adding that the car will cover the 0-62mph sprint in just under 11 seconds.

A new design of automatic transmission promises seamless switching between electric and petrol power. The car offers three driving modes, the default ‘My Sense’, Eco and Sport.

Regenerative braking feeding power back into the battery is also part of the package and able to be increased in effectiveness by selecting a function on the dash.

The second version of the Renault Arkana uses a 1.3-litre petrol engine of 140hp, combined with a mild hybrid unit using the starter motor as a generator. This offers some reduction in emissions, but it can’t be driven under electric power alone so the petrol engine will always be driving the wheels.

Gear changes are through a dual-clutch auto unit and the 140hp also includes a ‘Sailing Stop’ function that allows the car to coast during declaration to add to the emissions reduction. It returns economy and emissions figures of 48.7mpg and 131g/km, and is faster accelerating than its sister with a 0-62mph time of just under ten seconds.

The Arkana has already earned a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP (based on the Captur’s results, as the two are structurally almost identical). It offers a host of active systems fitted as standard, including autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, traffic sign recognition, a lane departure warning system and steering assistance to stay in your lane.

Prices for the Renault Arkana start at £25,300 and cars with both engines are available in three trim levels. The first cars are expected on UK roads in late August.

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.