DURING the Seventies and Eighties I grew up in a Renault household.
My old man had three Renault 16s on the drive at one point – two that were on the road most of the time and another to supply spares to keep them going.
They were magnificent creatures, all shiny and with a front grille that if you put some eyebrows on the lights would look like Roger “It is I” LeClerc from ’Allo ’Allo.
Fast forward to 2022 and Renaults look a LOT different and feel about as French as a croque monsieur from Costa Coffee.
Like most car companies pumping out SUVs, its designs are all variations on a fairly bland-looking theme.
The Renault Arkana is a case in point.
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It’s not a great-looking car and neither is it a bad-looking car.
But it definitely doesn’t scream “Fabrique en France” (it’s actually Made in South Korea).
What this “coupe” is, though, is a solid and reliable family car, aimed at those who fancy an SUV but don’t want to pay too much . . . or buy a Qashqai.
You are unlikely to need a spare on the drive to keep it on the road.
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I tried the six-speed hybrid S-edition, which felt surprisingly muscular for a 1.6-litre this big.
It weighs two tonnes and is 4.6 metres long.
It’s not a rocketship by any means, 0-62mph is a relatively slovenly 10.8 seconds, but it gives you the confidence an SUV should.
It’s only when you pick up the pace that the engine feels slightly overwhelmed by its bulk.
The tech is decent but for a brand new model with a roomy cab I think wireless charging would not go amiss.
Driving in EV mode gives you the most pleasure and sense of power, with a reasonable 250Nm of torque, but it’s a short burst.
It’s not a plug-in so you’re relying on recharging on the move, which rarely gave me more than 20 miles before I had to start spewing out the CO2 again.
Key facts: Renault Arkana
Engine: 1.6-litre petrol hybri
0-62mph: 10.8 secs
Top speed: 107mph
But to be fair this is one car that pretty much hits the stated economy of 58.9mpg.
A bit of careful driving and you can make the tank go a long way.
No bad thing in the land of £2 a litre.
Ultimately, Arkana is a safe pair of hands and good value.
It’s not an exciting drive in any way but it ticks most of the boxes you need for carting your family about and doing those trips to Tesco for the big shop.
There’s plenty of room.
Just not much va-va-voom.
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