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Renault Arkana locked in for Australian debut

All-new coupe-style Renault Arkana small SUV to replace Kadjar in local line-up

29 Jul 2020

RENAULT Australia has high hopes for the funky coupe-style Arkana small SUV that will replace the Kadjar crossover upon arrival in the second half of next year.


The Arkana will slot between the smaller Captur light crossover and family-oriented Koleos mid-sizer in Renault’s SUV line-up, and will be forced to do plenty of heavy lifting in terms of sales with the French brand’s Australian subsidiary also set to discontinue the Clio city hatch and mainstream variants of the Megane small car.


First revealed at the Moscow motor show in 2018, the Arkana was initially launched exclusively for the Russian market, underpinned by Renault’s in-house B0+ platform.


However, Australian examples will be based on the recently introduced Korean-market version (known there as the XM3), which instead rides on the more modern alliance CMF-B platform.


The modernity of the new Arkana was one of the reasons behind Renault Australia’s decision to replace the Kadjar, which despite only going on sale locally late last year was launched globally in 2016, with an update in 2018.


Renault Australia senior product manager Charly Clercin said the Arkana will also feature the latest the brand has to offer in terms of technology and features.


Being built in Busan, South Korea, will also mean shorter lead times and better pricing compared to the Spanish-built Kadjar, thanks largely to Australia’s free-trade agreement with South Korea.


Concrete details on the Arkana’s local spec and equipment remain elusive for now, however it will likely borrow various features from other models in Renault’s portfolio.


The all-new second-generation Captur revealed last year features Renault’s Smart Cockpit dashboard, which includes an infotainment screen up to 9.3 inches in size with a 10-inch digital instrument cluster.


This is also found on the Korean XM3, meaning it should find its way into the Aussie Arkana.


The XM3 also includes high-grade equipment including Park Assist with a 360-degree camera, automatic parking brake, cruise control with a Stop & Go function, lane-keeping assistant and ‘Multi-Sense’ technology.


According to Renault, the latter adapts to the driver’s mood, with its three driving modes and a variety of lighting atmospheres.


No details have been shared on which powertrains will be used in the local Arkana, however the most likely starter is the 1.3-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine used in the Kadjar and new Captur, which produces up to 117kW/260Nm.


Again, the XM3 also has this 1.3 TCe engine – developed jointly by Renault and Daimler – in its range, and in Korea was chosen by about 90 per cent of early customers. It is coupled to a seven-speed dual-clutch EDC transmission.


The XM3 is also available in its home market with a 1.6-litre engine mated to a continuously variable transmission, while the Australian-spec Arkana might also become the first model in Renault’s portfolio to feature a plug-in hybrid electric powertrain, namely a 1.6-litre petrol four-cylinder engine teamed with two electric motors and a 9.8kWh battery pack.


Power is rated at 118kW, and in the Captur can produce a zero-emissions driving range of 45km with an electric-only top speed of 135km/h.


Visually, the Arkana bears strong similarities to the Megane small car, with a closely related front fascia and tail-light layout.


Obviously, the main defining feature is its coupe-like profile, while its SUV intentions are made clear by its increased ride height, black cladding around the skirts and wheelarches, and front and rear scuff plates.


Confirmation of Australian pricing remains some distance off, but for reference the current three-variant Kadjar range starts at $29,990 for the Life, up to $37,990 for the Intens.

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