Renault Arkana

S-Edition E-TECH

Renault Arkana, 2022, front
Renault Arkana, 2022, side
Renault Arkana, 2022, rear
Renault Arkana, 2022, interior
Renault Arkana, 2022, rear seats
Renault Arkana, 2022, automatic electric parking brake
Renault Arkana, 2022, instrument panel
Renault Arkana, 2022, boot

IN the rush to go electric - often spurred on by politicians - it's all too easy to overlook the credible alternative of hybrid cars.

Okay they still have an engine but because it's only working part of the time with the car running on electricity the rest of the time they are still amongst the cleanest cars on the road.

And you don't have the worry of finding your next charging point and hoping it's working or at the very least that there isn't a line-up of people waiting to use it before you.

The Renault Arkana is one of a new breed of hybrids which combines the elevated style of the ever popular SUV with the dramatic lines of a coupe, which means it appeals to a broad sector of buyers.

The Arkana has the distinction of being the French car maker's first purpose-built hybrid as well as being its first SUV with coupe styling.

And despite its dramatically sloping roof, which makes it stand out from the brand's other SUV models, there's still plenty of headroom and a decent amount of rear leg room, although a fairly narrow door opening can present problems to less agile rear seat passengers.

Whichever colour you opt for with the Arkana S-Edition, driven here, you get contrasting black protective panels on the lower parts of the doors and around the wheel arches as well as grey skid plates at the front and rear giving it an element of SUV ruggedness.

An impressively smart interior features a plethora of decorative aluminium panelling on the dashboard and doors to contract with the synthetic, hard wearing black leather-look upholstery.

The dashboard itself is dominated by a 9.3-inch centre-set portrait-style touchscreen with satellite navigation and traffic information.

Immediately in front of the driver sits a digital speedometer as well as information of how much charge is in the battery and when the car is running on electric power or the engine.

And to add a touch of distinction to the interior there is a choice of eight different colours for the ambient lighting.

There's a generous luggage area too with some 480-litre of space beneath the tailgate and no loading lip, making it easier to get heavy items on board.

On the road the Arkana feels taught and well balanced and despite its height it handles fast bends and corners with aplomb thanks to a firm yet very comfortable suspension setup.

It may be categorised as a family car but it definitely has that sporting edge to it making for enjoyable motoring.

And it's surprising just how often you find the car is running on electric only, which not only means quieter, more relaxed travel but also more frugal journeys.

During a week with the Arkana I averaged just over 62 miles per gallon, ensuring a 600-plus range on a tank of petrol, which is just what's need with today's fuel prices.

The Arkana always moves off in electric mode and while noise levels obviously increase if you put your right foot down really hard as the eager 1.6-litre engine combines with the two on-board electric motors to push you forward with gusto it's anything but obtrusive.

It's a very slick setup extensively developed by Renault thanks in part to expertise gained in Formula 1.

The Arkana has been given the NCAP five star safety rating and features everything from Active Emergency Braking to Lane Departure Warning on board with a whole range of other safety features in between.

And when darkness falls Renault's Pure Vision LED lighting with automatic dipp/main beam takes the stress out of night driving and is probably the next best thing to full matrix headlights.

FAST FACTS

Renault Arkana S-Edition E-TECH

Price: £29,995

Mechanical: 142 bhp, 1,598cc, 4cyl petrol engine and electric motor driving front wheels via six speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 107 mph

0-62mph: 10.8 secs

Combined MPG: 58.9

Insurance Group: 16

C02 emissions: 109 g/km

Bik rating: 25%

Warranty: 5yrs/100,000 miles

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