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Earlier this year, Renault added some much needed French flavour to the local SUV market. The newest entrant would be a coupe SUV called the Arkana. At the launch, we were promised two variants, an entry level Zen and a slightly more luxurious Intens. Now, the line-up has been further strengthened with a new variant and better still, it comes with a sporty flavour!

Meet the Renault Arkana R.S Line, the coupe SUV with a dashing of the best bits from the French automaker’s motorsport department. This should be fun!

Side view of a Valencia Orange Renault Arkana R.S Line
Striking design is a key differentiator of the Arkana

Right from the get go, I liked the Arkana. It’s stand-out design and unique name make it unmistakable in traffic. Add in a colour like this fabulous Valencia Orange and the aforementioned effect is even stronger. This shade is only available on the R.S Line model but that just makes it all the more worth it. Given the choice, you must have the orange, there’s no two ways about it!

Yes, I am harping on about the colour a little bit but only because it deserves all the praise. Firstly, it makes the Arkana’s lines look eye-catching in both bright or gloomy weather. Secondly, it offers a nice contrasting background to the freshly added black and chrome accents that come as part of the R.S Line trim. Notice the black wheels with a dash of orange and the R.S Line chrome badging on the sides.

Rear three quarters view of a Valencia Orange Renault Arkana R.S Line
Unique LED taillights make the Arkana easily identifiable at night

Travelling to the rear of the car and you will see that the discretion factor has been turned up here with the tail-end lacking any giveaways as to the sport trimmed nature of this Arkana. The rear bumper, boot etc are indistinguishable from the rest of the range. However, notice the added privacy glass on the rear windows, another feature complimented by that sharp Orange.

The rear of the car offers plenty of real estate for the all important badging and unique LEDs featured on the Arkana. While driving at night, I noticed passengers in cars behind me snapping photos for their InstaToks and whatnot! It truly is an instantly recognizable rear end.

Interior view of a Valencia Orange Renault Arkana R.S Line
Sporty contrast stitching and performance trim are all the rage in here!

Step into the interior and you will be greeted by a plethora of Renault R.S Line upgrades, features that really liven up the interior. Starting with the seats which are a mixture of leather and suede, trimmed in red contrast stitching. A theme which continues across the door cards, steering wheel and gear shifter. The doors in particular deserve a special mention for the triple stitching, that’s not an everyday sight!

The cabin is offered some added warmth thanks to a sunroof which helps flood it with light while the two level seat heaters take care of the rest on a winter morning. Both front seats are ventilated as well with the driver also getting a heated steering for those chilly days, toasty indeed!

Faux carbon trim across the dashboard, metal pedals and a special R.S Line treadplates complete the sporty additions to the cabin. Overall, it was a comfortable place to be and all those added on niceties give this car a unique outlook.

While plenty of bells & whistles have been added to the interior, the infotainment screen remains unchanged. Though I couldn’t help but feel that the screen response was a tad quicker than the other models, perhaps the R.S Line badging got to my head! It’s worth noting too that the Bluetooth connection was rapid whenever I got in the car.

However, what I did find particularly helpful was the ‘Driving Assistance’ shortcut on one of the home screens which lets you easily turn off/on the safety systems. A feature that came in handy when the lane keep assist system got a little overzealous. Renault’s ‘MULTI-SENSE’ driving modes are also available easily via the screen or through a shortcut buttons. Three driving modes are on offer with two pre-set and one individual in the form of ‘MySense’.

On the road, the Arkana sits high and it most definitely feels like it from the driver’s seat. No changes to the performance, braking or handling make the R.S Line upgrades purely cosmetic which is fine because that’s in the name so you know what to expect! The 1.3L turbocharged four cylinder engine has a slightly erratic power delivery down low. Noticeable when the car is full and it needs a bit of go to get off the line. 115kW and 262Nm are what’s on offer, all delivered via a 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission.

During my drive, I noticed the Arkana especially loves motorways, spending more time there brought my average consumption right down! My final figure was 8L/100km in both city and highway driving without using the start/stop function. Not bad.

View from the rear corner of the Renault Arkana R.S Line, looking out over Auckland Harbour and Auckland City.
Arkana R.S Line is a worth range topper

The Verdict

Doing over 500km during my stint with the Arkana R.S Line meant I was more than familiar with the car. It’s easy to live with and the performance styling upgrades make it a tasty thing to look at. Standing out from the rest of the SUV crowd is a given with a car like this and in Valencia Orange, it is a very tangy offering in a segment that needs a bit of flavour!

2022 Renault Arkana R.S Line: 4/5

Car courtesy of Renault New Zealand. Words and pictures by Matthew D’Souza.

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