Bright appearance with a silhouette in the style of the BMW X6, good equipment, a modern turbo engine and four-wheel drive, decent behavior on the road and attractive price – Arkana had everything to become the new Renault golden antelope. But six months after the debut, it only closes the Top 25 best-selling cars in Russia. Demand for classic crossovers, including the Nissan Qashqai, is much higher, the informal Kia Soul comes on the heels, and even the Chinese Geely Atlas flashes on the capital’s roads almost more often. Does Arkana really have so many problems, or have we just not tried it?
Fifteen years ago, with the launch of the legendary Logan, Renault proved that a cheap car can be reliable, safe and fantastically comfortable on broken roads. In 2009, the same trick was done with Duster, adding excellent cross-country ability to the asset, and now Arkana has risen to the barricades of the next French Revolution with the slogan “Give a beautiful crossover!”
Interior and practicality
Let’s be clean! For such cars, convenience and comfort in the cabin, integration with a smartphone, equipment with “warm” options and preparation for our slushy off-season are sometimes much more important than acceleration times to hundreds and nuances of handling.
The graceful line of the roof predictably stole the space above the tops of the rear passengers, and so that at least some air remained there, the sofa was not pushed far back. So with the longest wheelbase in the test, the Arkana is by no means the record holder for reserve space in the second row.
In addition, there are no central ventilation deflectors and cup holders in the armrest at the back, and the presence of heating excludes USB connectors – and vice versa. The rest of the shocking practicality almost did no harm.
Arkana has a champion clearance of 21 cm, doors are completely covered by thresholds, a hood with gas stops, “wipers” can be folded down freely, plus LED headlights in the basic configuration and the only factory autostart in the test. The only thing missing is the rear “janitor” and the roof rails that everyone else has.
But why, with such a cool exterior, was the interior somehow unfinished? There is a luxurious “climate” unit, normal instruments (although they could finally make the usual “even” digitization a speedometer), convenient niches for small things and nice buttons. In expensive versions there is even atmospheric lighting and a Bose audio system with eight speakers and a subwoofer, but what’s the point if the landing is so-so, especially for tall drivers.
The steering column has an adjustment for the departure, but its range is not enough, a low ceiling presses on the head, the windshield has a narrow opening, the side mirrors are small compared to competitors, and a tiny “loophole” of the fifth door can be seen in the cabin mirror. Only the driver’s power window has automatic mode, the deflectors on the center console are no better regulated than in the “nine” with a high panel, but I want to rename the Arcana’s “multimedia” from Easy Link to Hard Link. True, I even want to give it to the rhinoceros for revision.
This complex does not have physical keys and an AUX connector, the touchscreen barely reacts to touch, the processor frankly slows down, and the only thing you can really enjoy is the Yandex.Auto interface, which allows you to use the popular navigator through the standard “multimedia”.
Worst of all is Atlas adapted to harsh environments. He has a modest 16-centimeter clearance, the thresholds are not covered by dirt, in addition, the “Chinese” is the only one who does not have a heated steering wheel and windshield, and the wipers can be tilted only in service mode.
But the real royal expanse, the most comfortable sofa and almost flat floor are behind! Here you have air ducts, and heated seats, and a pair of USB-connectors, and cup holders, and even a separate joystick, with which you can move the right front seat.
Front Atlas is also not without surprises. Like on Arkan, the steering column is not enough to fly out, the steering wheel itself is bus-like, the seat profile is far from ideal, the virtual tidy with an uncomfortable onboard computer is poorly read, and the multimedia is not trained in Apple CarPlay / Android Auto interfaces.
At the same time, there is excellent visibility with huge mirrors, normal materials and several stylish details, for example, steering column levers a la Volvo, a massive central tunnel with handrails, like Cayenne, and fancy door unlocking handles.
Qashqai and Soul
These two are prepared a little more modestly than Arcana. The real clearance is a couple of centimeters less than the bearing, the Soul has “dirty” sills, and Kashkai has no gas hood stops and washer nozzles heating.
More importantly, Japanese and Korean interiors are a different level of ergonomics and comfort. Cool chairs, a normal European landing, laconic design of devices and good visibility instantly create a positive mood.
Soul captivates with a logical arrangement of all the keys and a chic 10-inch touchscreen smart multimedia system. And Qashqai is a beautiful steering wheel, old-school buttons, the head of Yandex.Auto with a proprietary navigator, Alice and other popular services, plus, or rather, minus the closest second row in the test.
Well, if you are ready to go beyond one and a half million, then only Qashqai and Soul offer smart assistants, including an emergency braking system, control of the “dead zones”, tracking the markings and automatically switching on the main beam, and on Soul in this set there will also be adaptive cruise.
It is more pleasant to accelerate and maneuver in a stream on machines with variators, that is, on Arkan and Qashqai. Not surprising, because the continuously variable transmissions of the Renault-Nissan alliance have learned to perfectly imitate virtual gear changes.
The high-torque 150-horsepower turbo engine 1.3, which Arkana got from Mercedes, catches with a pleasant back pressure from the bottom, and the Nissan two-liter “aspirated” with 144 power – lively and accurate gas responses.
Soul with a naturally aspirated “four” 2.0 MPI is the lightest in the test, but the temperament of 150 “horses” is only reasonably sufficient. The Korean six-speed automatic is tuned great, but the less you spin this loud motor, the better – the sound insulation of the Soul is the most modest in our four.
Atlas, by contrast, is the heaviest, its six-speed automatic switches smoothly, but from time to time the “Chinese” annoys with delays if you need to accelerate immediately after braking. Well, the turbocharged 1.8 engine with direct injection itself, despite 184 forces, pulls without much enthusiasm.
The desire to drive on the Atlas discourages and sluggish handling. The steering wheel is unnaturally light, the banks are large, and the exchange rate stability is affected in the ruts. After this, even a calm Arkana on a winding site will seem cheerful. But on the ride on a bad road, the “Chinese” has no equal! Only Renault can argue with him in comfort, and even in the city.
Qashqai travels denser and can buck on some sloppy hatch, but so far there are no sharp irregularities under the wheels, the suspension works quite nobly. In any case, you forget about roughness in the first corner, because Kashkaya has an amazingly combat chassis.
The steering wheel in the parking lot is heavy, and perhaps for a regular city crossover this is not entirely appropriate, but how cool Nissan turns. The reactions are accurate and understandable, the car writes arcs in one single movement, and the electric power steering is configured no worse than that of Tiguan. In our company, this is a real hot crossover!
Soul is also vigorous, the “short” rake made his reactions, perhaps, too frisky, but Nissan’s emotions, sincerity and involvement in the management process are not close. Worse, the Korean cross-hatchback is the most shaky. Fortunately, the principle of “more travel – less pits” works here, and by some miracle Soul even manages to drive along the urban terrain quite well on low-profile 18-inch tires, but the suspension travel is small, it collects a short wave and discourages any desire to leave the asphalt jungle .
In addition, unlike everyone else, Soul does not have all-wheel drive, and the electronic imitation of differential lock works very badly, so hanging one of the drive wheels will easily immobilize the car if you don’t have the courage to overcome the obstacle with a move. Atlas has better tuned electronics, but we will postpone a full-fledged test of its off-road capabilities until next time, since we got a copy with front-wheel drive.
Well, victory outside the asphalt is shared by Arkana and Qashqai. Both have robust CVTs, intelligible traction control and effective simulation of locks, and the center-to-center clutch can be locked forcibly.
So what to take?
Formally, the number of options for each invested Arkana ruble is beyond competition. One and a half million – and you have a bright stuffed crossover with a turbo engine and four-wheel drive, which also goes well. You can start an old song about the rear drum brakes, but they do not reduce the effectiveness of the deceleration. I was very upset by the interior. It is because of him that Arkana gives the impression of an unfinished product.
If the local post office is already crazy about your Chinese parcels, if you are ready to go to the dealer for distant lands, and the priority is a comfortable suspension and a spacious lounge, then you will probably make friends with Atlas. And it doesn’t matter that he rides like a gray mouse. Recently, an expensive version with “multimedia” from Yandex has been released, you look, the steering wheel will also appear.
The perky Soul is a cool option for those who do not pursue all-wheel drive, but Qashqai seems to be the most optimal crossover for one and a half million, all the more Nissan dealers are traditionally generous with discounts.
Although the second row is cramped, you don’t have a lot of fun with this equipment, for example, there will be no LED headlights and keyless access, but Qashqai very successfully combines practicality with a pleasant driving character, which is very rare in this budget. / m
|The car||Geely atlas|
|Like||Nice design, spacious interior and comfortable suspension|
|I do not like||Landing behind the wheel, modest dynamics and tuning of the machine, lack of heated steering wheel and windshield, low clearance|
|Verdict||Not without reason is the best-selling “Chinese” in Russia|
|Engine||1799 cm³, L4 turbo, 184 hp, 285 Nm|
|Transmission||AKP – 6|
|Figures||195 km / h|
|The car||Kia soul|
|Like||Original appearance, comfortable interior, modern “multimedia” and pleasant handling|
|I do not like||Lack of all-wheel drive, modest cross-country ability, stiffer suspension, poor insulation|
|Verdict||An interesting choice if you do not need to go to the country|
|Engine||1999 cm³, L4, 150 HP, 192 Nm|
|Figures||0–100 km / h – 10.2 s, 186 km / h|
|The car||Nissan Qashqai|
|Like||Combat handling, excellent CVT tuning, good noise isolation and comfortable interior|
|I do not like||Outdated interior fittings, cramped second row|
|Verdict||The most adequate and balanced crossover in the test|
|Engine||1997 cm³, L4, 144 HP, 200 Nm|
|Transmission||variable speed drive|
|Figures||0–100 km / h – 10.5 s, 182 km / h|
|The car||Renault Arkana|
|Like||Bright appearance, decent equipment, excellent variator setting, good cross and decent noise isolation|
|I do not like||Inconvenient driving, modest visibility and a slow multimedia system|
|Verdict||You cannot melt your heart with external beauty alone|
|Engine||1332 cm³, L4 turbo, 150 hp, 250 Nm|
|Transmission||variable speed drive|
|Figures||0–100 km / h – 10.5 s, 191 km / h|
|Geely Atlas 1.8T||Kia Soul 2.0 MPI||Nissan Qashai 2.0||Renault Arkana TCe 150|
|engine’s type||gasoline, L4 turbo||gasoline, L4||gasoline, L4||gasoline, L4 turbo|
|Max. power, hp / rpm||184/5300||150/6200||144/6000||150/5250|
|Max. moment, Nm / rpm||285 / 1500-4000||192/4000||200/4400||250 / 1700–3250|
|type of drive||front||front||plug-in full||plug-in full|
|Transmission||automatic, six-speed||automatic, six-speed||variable speed drive||variable speed drive|
|Front suspension||spring, McPherson||spring, McPherson||spring, McPherson||spring, McPherson|
|Rear suspension||spring, multi-link||spring torsion beam||spring, multi-link||spring, McPherson|
|Dimensions (LxWxH), mm||4519x1831x1694||4195x1800x1625||4379x1836x1590||4545x1820x1565|
|Trunk volume, l||397||364–1388||401||409-1234|
|Ground clearance mm||163||180||200||205|
|Acceleration 0-100 km / h, s||no data||10,2||10.5||10.5|
|Max. speed, km / h||195||186||182||191|
|Fuel consumption (comb.), L / 100 km||8.5||8.0||7.3||7.2|
|Fuel tank volume, l||60||54||60||fifty|
|price, rub.||1 489 990–1 589 990||1 259 900–1 649 900||1,535,000–1,880,000||1 439 990–1 524 990|