The overall design of the new Arkana combines the features of an SUV with coupé styling so that you have relatively good ground clearance at 200mm, for Irish rural roads, along with a modern look that offers some appeal.

The big news for the Arkana is the arrival of a new hybrid engine, where thankfully there’s no plugging in involved. You still get a 20+% reduction in CO2 emissions even though the car is 100kg heavier than the mild hybrid versions. There is no diesel engine option, and the only diesel-powered Renaults now are the vans, including the Trafic minibus conversion (that’s nearly double the entry price of this latest Arkana).

The Arkana is very smooth to drive, even if its not the fastest in terms of acceleration. Renault has cleverly linked two electric motors (a 36kW main motor and an 18kW High-Voltage Starter Generator) with a four-cylinder 1.6-litre 69kW (94hp) petrol engine, and a 1.2 kWh battery. This delivers a pleasant driving experience through a very smooth clutch-less gearbox.

The driving pleasure begins when the Renault Arkana E-Tech full hybrid starts off in electric mode. Renault claims that it can run on pure electric power for 80% of the time in city driving, with claims of cutting fuel consumption by up to 40% compared to a standard petrol engine.

The new and efficient engine and gearbox also results in CO2 emissions as low as 105g/km, due in part to what Renault calls a new ‘e-save’ feature to keep the battery charged at a minimum of 40% at all times. This provides the extra back-up to keep on driving in electric mode if required, or to assist the engine on steep uphill slopes. And you don’t even have to know that it’s doing all this.

The 19-in wheels give 200mm ground clearance that’s reasonable for Irish minor roads.

Out on the road, the ambitious fuel economy figures were put to the test. To begin with the car gave an impressive range figure of 760km (based on the previous driver). My driving experience was to change all that. The theory was that the car could deliver an economy figure of 4.7l/100km or 21.3km/litre, which should give a range of more than 1,000km.

Even with my new and more modest speed driving conversion, I failed to come near that performance, even though the car’s computer told me that I was being a good boy! In reality my range experience was short of 700km on a full 50 litre capacity petrol tank.

Do all the maths as I have done here, and include a three-year depreciation cost based on the previous model, and the Arkana is quite impressive and cost-effective in terms of ownership cost, coming in at €0.33 per kilometre over three years.


One of the most obvious reasons for this has been good re-sale figures, which are difficult to verify, even though I have used popular used car sales’ websites.

That level of performance gives the Renault Arkana E-Tech Full-Hybrid close to diesel car running costs.

The dash layout is clear in the Renault Arkana E-Tech Hybrid and supported by a portrait style infotainment system screen in the centre that’s easy to use and complimented by heater control tactile buttons.

Where it lets you down a little is in comfort. I found that it was difficult to get really comfortable in the car, in terms of seat position rather than suspension. The other weakness is towing ability, where it comes in well under 1,000kg.

The Renault Arkana E-Tech Full-Hybrid is a well kitted out car. The previous model came with a Euro NCAP five-star rating and there’s every reason to believe that the current car will be as good. The rear seats are spacious and include Iso-Fix kit, while the boot space is good for a sloping hatchback SUV and extends impressively to 1,263 litres capacity for a bigger load.

The Arkana now includes navigation as standard in the upgraded EASYLINK infotainment system, which also has Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility.

Renault has done an excellent job of smoothly blending a 1.6 litre petrol engine with an electric hybrid drive that regenerates and does not require plugging in to top up the battery system.

The bigger 7-inch screen now displays information across a larger area. It’s portrait style and centrally mounted which can be a bit of a distraction, but it’s more modest in size than some of the competition, while I found it easy to get comfortable with its functionality.

There are still plenty of touchable buttons for heater controls and the steering wheel has a nice feel to it. The digital dash can be set to let you know when you are driving in electric mode and after a journey you see how well you’ve done.

Entry prices for this new Renault Arkana E-Tech Hybrid start at €37,890 or £28,995 in N. Ireland and Renault is offering a decent five-year or 150,000km warranty deal. The price of the car has increased by about €1,000 since last October.

This new Renault Arkana E-Tech Hybrid is economical to own, smooth if not very fast to drive in terms of acceleration, but not yet at diesel running cost levels. It is attractive and somewhat affordable, and the car seems to be holding its re-sale values, which contributes to its almost diesel-car ownership costs.

The Renault Arkana E-Tech Hybrid is spacious with good rear seating for three and impressive boot space in a hatchback rear door.