The compact SUV segment has been dominated in France for several years by the Peugeot 3008. The lion SUV is ahead of the Citroën C5 Aircross and the Renault Kadjar. The diamond brand is rather well placed in the category with its Kadjar, even if it is aging. It was time for Renault to react and it is done with this Arkana, the brand’s first coupe SUV but also one of the few on the general market. It is characterized above all by its pronounced roof drop while the front face is very similar to that of the other models, with a wide grille and C-shaped headlamps. It should be noted, however, that Renault did not go so far as to end of the coupé philosophy since the doors retain their frame.
Video comparison – Renault Arkana VS Toyota C-HR: hybrids on many points
The Arkana will therefore have a lot to do because there is no shortage of rivals since all the brands have a compact SUV in their catalog. To seduce customers, Renault relies on the atypical lines of its model but it is not the only one to have a special look and in terms of unique look, the C-HR is surely the most spectacular.
Launched in 2016, the C-HR displays an unusual design made up of protruding body lines, a pronounced roof drop, very massive lights, but it is above all the rear door handle that stands out. Even older, the C-HR remains significantly more original than the Arkana.
Inside, the Arkana is directly derived from the urban SUV, the Captur. The presentation of French is classic in terms of its design but the content is modern, with digital instrumentation and a multimedia screen whose size varies from 7 (horizontal) to 9.3 inches (vertical) as on our test model. The quality of materials has progressed well, as we reported when launching the second generation of Captur. The organization of the dashboard of the C-HR is more tortured and less homogeneous, as evidenced by the multimedia system which seems to be placed on the dashboard. The analog instrumentation is much more dated with its two barrels.
Practical aspects: tighter than expected
Due to a length of 4.57 m for the Arkana against 4.40 m for the Toyota C-HR, the French SUV leaves with a big advantage, at least on paper. This is confirmed with a much larger trunk volume for the Arkana (513 liters) while the C-HR has to be content with only 358 liters. But, in both cases, it will be necessary to make efforts to load because of a high loading threshold (78 cm).
Despite its significantly smaller size, the C-HR offers almost similar roominess to that of the Arkana. Well seen !
Renault’s dominance is, on the other hand, much less straightforward in terms of livability since the C-HR is evenly matched or even exceeds the Arkana despite its smaller dimensions, whether for legroom or headroom. It is therefore a draw, even if we can only salute the excellent habitability / size ratio.
Equipment: a well placed Arkana
The Renault Arkana 1.3 TCE 140 hp with an RS-Line finish is sold at a price of € 34,700. Count € 36,000 for the Toyota C-HR 122 hp GR-Sport. Our two models are available at the top of the range with sporting orientations. The equipment is therefore very complete with, for example, leather upholstery, electric and heated seats, adaptive cruise control, as well as specific body kits. The fight is very close.
Less expensive of € 1,300, the Arkana is distinguished by its digital versus analog instrumentation for Japanese or its larger multimedia screen (9.3 inches against 8 inches), but you have to add € 400 to get the black roof and 600 € for the cruise control with Stop & Go function. The initial advantage is reduced to 300 € and it is not the presence of 19-inch rims that is enough to compensate. It is a victory for the Arkana.
Budget: the indestructible C-HR
In terms of budget, Toyota makes speak its know-how so well that the C-HR easily wins in this category. And this, thanks to its many strengths: a high rating / resale value, reliability much better than that of Renault, a 3 year warranty / unlimited mileage against 2 years / unlimited mileage for Renault. Add to this a much lower announced consumption of 3.8 l / 100 km against 5.8 l / 100 km, and the Japanese superiority is confirmed in use with a lower average of nearly 1.5 l / 100 km during our test. You understand why the C-HR is in no way worried by the Arkana, despite a higher purchase price of € 1,300.
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