RENAULT'S first hybrid SUV has arrived and it boasts a sleek coupe-styled design that's guaranteed to turn heads.
It's the sort of looks that are generally sported by the high-end German marques, but this French newcomer brings with it its very own chic styling.
With a rakish roofline and small tinted rear windows, it has a sporty feel, but it's also spacious and practical inside so ideal for a smaller family.
Factor in the chunky wheel arch mouldings, skid plates and chrome tail pipe and there is a hint of SUV muscle in the mix too.
So, it's a bit of a mixed bag but, in reality, it works really well especially with striking 18-inch diamond cut alloy wheels and full LED headlights with C-shaped daytime running lights to help the Arkana stand out.
Powering the car is a 1.6-litre petrol hybrid E-TECH engine that works with two electric motors to deliver 145hp and 148Nm of torque. And that translates into respectable, if not blistering, performance stats with a 0-62mph sprint achievable in 10.8 seconds and top speed of 107mph.
The car, in mid-range S-Edition trim level, costs £28,600 (£29,800 with options) and, according to official figures under WLTP testing, can deliver a combined 58.9mpg with carbon emissions of 109g/km.
The interior is neatly laid out with comfortable fabric and synthetic leather upholstery. There is a 9.3-inch infotainment screen with navigation, Google search and traffic information, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, a DAB radio, Bluetooth and a clear 7-inch driver information display behind the wheel where all the vital driving data is on show.
Although the Arkana is not exactly mind blowing out the starting blocks, it delivers an accomplished performance with nice acceleration through the six-speed automatic gearbox. There are drive modes called My Sense, Sport and Eco along, with an EV-only button for pure electric driving when there is enough charge.
These modes alter the mannerisms of the front wheel drive car with Sport mode sharpening up the handling quite considerably. The road holding out on the quieter country lanes is nice and confident with well-weighted steering offering plenty of feedback.
There is a little noise and reluctance to pull away when travelling at higher speeds on motorways, but it can cruise with ease at 70mph.
Then in town centres, the all-round visibility is good and there is a B setting on the gear lever that increases the level of regenerative braking. This can result in single-pedal driving which is perfect with lots of stop, start city driving.
Passenger space is good and a trio of youngsters could easily fit in the back on long journeys. A couple of adults would be fine unless the front seats were pushed right back and there are lots of places to store away bits and pieces.,
The boot can swallow 480 litres of kit, increasing to 1,263 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. This is slightly less than the purely petrol driven version because of the positioning of the battery pack.
Elsewhere, there is a glovebox, door bins, front and rear cup holders, seat back pockets, a small central cubby box, a tray and a slot to store the keycard.
The Arkana is heavily based on the Renault Captur so gains the same high standard of safety features and also received the maximum five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.
There is active emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, braking assist, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, front and rear parking sensors with a rear-view camera, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, Isofix fittings, a full suite of airbags and plenty more besides.