Austral or Arkana: which of Renault's two compact SUVs to choose?

Austral or Arkana: which of Renault’s two compact SUVs to choose?

With its Arkana, Renault played quite well. Because with its coupé line, one of the first of its kind among general manufacturers, this SUV is enjoying great success, to the point of having probably hastened the end of the Kadjar’s career. And all at a lower cost since the Renault Arkana is built on a fully stretched version of the Clio and Captur platform, which is of course less expensive than the most advanced version of the old Kadjar, and the new Renault Austral.

4.57 m of the Renault Arkana compared to 4.51 m of the Renault Austral

From the front, it is quite easy to recognize that the Renault Arkana derives from the Captur.
From the front, it is quite easy to recognize that the Renault Arkana derives from the Captur.© Renault

The hesitation between the two Renault SUVs is all the more legitimate as the Renault Arkana extends its coupé line by 4.57 m, surpassing the Renault Austral by 6 cm. An order of range not fully respected since the longer of the two is also the cheapest (From €31,300 in 1.3 TCe 140 EDC7 micro-hybrid) while the Renault Austral is not offered for less than €33,400 in 1.2 TCe 130ch Mild-hybrid without automatic gearbox. In short, internal competition is in full swing, although the latter can legitimize its superiority thanks to its 160 and 200 hp hybrid versions (from €39,900), while the Renault Arkana is limited to a powerful 145 hp E-Tech (from €32,800).

If these differences in power – and prices – can already guide your choice according to your needs and desires, other more factual arguments can tip the balance to one side or the other. Because the less expensive of the two is not at all lacking in assets for the family. Its Captur platform stretched to the maximum gives it a wheelbase of 2.72 m -only 2.67 m for the Renault Astral-. enough to provide legroom in the back seat, where adults won’t be cramped.

Sliding seat for Renault Austral

The sliding seat of the Renault Austral of more than 16 cm allows you to expand the trunk if necessary.
The sliding seat of the Renault Austral of more than 16 cm allows you to expand the trunk if necessary.© Alex Krassovsky

But surprisingly, despite its 5 cm shorter wheelbase, the Renault Austral still offers an additional 7 cm, and offers, from the second Techno trim level, a sliding bench seat of more than 16 cm to adjust the space between the rear occupants and the trunk when you go on vacation.

Suddenly, if the Renault Arkana offers 410 dm3 under the shelf while the Renault Austral only has 320 dm3 (with the space saving wheel option), the latter can increase its grip to 400 dm3 by moving its rear seat forward, almost as much as the Renault Arkana… with of course in this case more constrained rear occupants, since the Renault Austral then yields 7 cm to the legs of the Renault Arkana.

Less dynamism behind the wheel of the Renault Arkana

With its SUV coupé line, the Renault Arkana has conquered many customers
With its SUV coupé line, the Renault Arkana has conquered many customers© Renault

At the wheel, in addition to the differences in the engine ranges -no manual gearbox in the Renault Arkana, and only three engines from 140 to 160 hp- the Renault Austral demonstrates more dynamic handling with its significantly more direct steering and smaller diameter steering wheel than the Renault Arkana. which does not offer four-wheel steering combined with a multi-link rear axle, It is true that it is a slightly expensive option (€1,800) in the 160 and 200 hp Renault Austral Hybrids, but it gives it a shorter turning radius, as well astotally unique agility for a compact SUV on winding roads.

On the comfort side, it is a bit white-cap and white-cap since in both cases the suspensions absorb large deformations very well, but they have a hard time filtering small ones well. So we ended up with shakiness, especially at low speeds and at road joints.

Advantage for the Renault Austral in infotainment

By using the dashboard of the Megane E-Tech, the Renault Austral has access to the best infotainment with the Google Automotive system.
By using the dashboard of the Megane E-Tech, the Renault Austral has access to the best infotainment with the Google Automotive system.© Alex Krassovsky

But it is another area where the newer of the two clearly takes the lead, we want to talk about on-board furniture and infotainment. It’s not that the Arkana is outdated or outdated with its nearly identical dashboard to the Captur where a 7- or 9.3-inch touchscreen reigns (the latter much prettier and more responsive), connected navigation depending on equipment, and easy-to-learn ergonomics. But Taking over from the Mégane E-Tech dashboard, the Renault Austral is undeniably more modern with its two large digital panels, whose vertical format touch screen adopts the Google Automotive system.

A bit like smartphones, the operation is intuitive and very responsive, with a particularly powerful voice command that allows you to control almost all functions (radio, music, GPS, driving modes, etc.) without leaving the driver’s hands. . .steering wheel, nor the path of the eyes. Without a doubt, it is a real step forward compared to the Renault Arkana system. And some may fall in love with the Austral just for that, especially after having tried it. It’s up to you to see according to your preferences… and your bank account!


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