In-depth reviews

Renault Arkana E-TECH Hybrid performance, engine & drive

The Arkana E-TECH’s engine and transmission stand out as its biggest weak points, despite its efficiency and how refined it feels in electric mode

Overall rating

3.5 out of 5

Performance, engine & drive rating

2.5 out of 5

0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
10.8s107mphFront143bhp

The full-hybrid powertrain in the Arkana E-TECH fails to provide the performance you might expect from a sporty looking coupe-SUV like this. The transmission especially stands out as the biggest weak point. While the car is quiet and feels refined in EV mode, when you put your foot down, the shift to petrol power is less than seamless. As the revs rise, the standard clutchless gearbox fails to change gear for what feels like a long time, leaving you listening to the engine roar without much in the way of corresponding acceleration.

Renault Arkana E-TECH Hybrid 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration

In full-hybrid form, the Arkana has a 1.6-litre petrol engine and a pair of electric motors, all sending power to the front wheels only. Total power output is 143bhp; the petrol engine produces 148Nm of torque, while the electric motors produce 250Nm. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes a rather leisurely 10.8 seconds.

Around town, and at lower speeds the electric motor provides enough grunt to get around, however, when you need to get up to dual-carriageway or motorway speeds, the powertrain falters. The six-speed clutchless gearbox at times will fail to shift at the appropriate moment, leaving you listening to the roar of the engine without any means of telling the car to change gear, such as paddles on the steering wheel.

There are three distinct driving modes for you to choose from: Eco, Sport and MySense. The latter is essentially the 'normal' mode, and the setting you’re likely to leave the car in. You also get a button on the dashboard for manually switching to electric mode yourself, as well as a 'B' mode on the gear selector that increases the strength of the regenerative braking.

Handling

Despite what its sporty, coupe-esque styling might suggest, the Arkana is predominantly a comfortable rather than thrilling car to drive. In fact, if the cabin wasn’t so easily filled with wind and road roar, this car would be a stylish motorway cruiser, yet its lack of refinement counts against it. And, once you do reach a twisty B-road, the soft suspension means there’s a fair amount of body roll, so it's not the most fun to drive – even for an SUV.

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