Renault Captur review
The Renault Captur is a compact crossover, combining 4x4 looks with supermini dimensions and running costs
It uses the same underpinnings as the Renault Clio supermini, and the Captur is a compact machine that aims to deliver tough SUV styling cues with low running costs. It’s also available with a wide range of customisation options for both the exterior and interior, enabling owners to personalise their cars.
There are five trim levels available – Expression, Expression+, Dynamique Media Nav, Dynamique S Media Nav and upmarket Signature. All versions get alloy wheels, cruise control and electric windows. Expression models add desirable extras such as climate control, while Dynamique versions are fitted with a TomTom touchscreen sat-nav system and Signature cars get luxuries such as leather, a parking camera and a high-end multimedia system.
Even in entry-level guise the Renault Captur looks distinctive, with its combination of high ride height and sloping roofline turning heads. Yet it’s possible to make your Captur even more eye-catching courtesy of a range of personalisation options, including contrasting roof colours, bold bodywork decals and larger alloy wheels.
It’s a similar story inside, where bright colours and distinctive seat trim help create a cheery atmosphere. As with the exterior, there’s plenty of scope to give the Captur’s cabin a personal touch. For instance, the seat covers can be unzipped, allowing you to change them for a different design, or wash off any dirty marks or stains.
The rest of the interior will be familiar to Clio owners, as you benefit from the same digital speedometer and gloss black centre console that houses the infotainment system. At a glance it looks classy and upmarket, but there are plenty of cheap-feeling plastics used lower down in the cabin.
There are two petrol engines – a 0.9-litre three-cylinder and 1.2-litre four-cylinder – and a 1.5-litre dCi diesel. All the units are mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, apart from the larger petrol unit, which gets a six-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission.
With its high-riding suspension set-up, the Captur is geared towards cruising comfort rather than delivering driver thrills. Even so, with its compact external dimensions, light controls and high-set driving position, the Renault is extremely easy to drive and place on the road. Signature models add an advanced traction control system and Mud & Snow tyres in lieu of a full four-wheel-drive system.
Our choice: Captur Dynamique Nav 1.5 dCi
The Renault Captur is certainly a distinctive compact SUV, with its rounded shape displaying a number of striking styling cues. Up front, the Captur features a large Renault badge, the narrow Renault 'bow-tie' grille and a pair of smart headlights - these all come together to give the Captur the rakish look of a slightly taller and beefier Clio.
The SUV-inspired touches such as the chunky rubbing strips on the doors and bumpers also suit the Renault Captur well, but what really makes the Renault Captur stand out is its broad range of personalisation options.
Renault fits the Expression model with grey gloss interior trim, which is mounted on and around the centre console, speaker and air vents. The Expression+ gets the same, but it features a chrome exterior pack, which sees a chrome strip fitted to the front grille, fog light surrounds, side sill protectors and boot lid.
The Renault Captur Dynamique MediaNav builds on the features found on the Expression and Expression + models, but it has chrome trim and a seven-inch touchscreen. This features a clear display, but navigating through the various menus takes a little getting used to.
On the Dynamique S MediaNav models, Renault offers buyers the chance to choose their Captur's 17-inch alloy wheels with standard silver, black or orange inserts. Other bold styling moves include Renault painting the roof and door-mirrors in a contrasting colour to the body.
Gloss black trim is added to the centre console and steering wheel on the Renault Captur, but the trim on the wheel wraps around where you would position your hands, which makes the wheel feel slippery. Tinted rear windows are also fitted as standard across the range.
Step inside the Renault Captur Dynamique S MediaNav, and the trim surrounding the centre console, speakers and air vents can also be specced in orange, blue or green - However, much of the switchgear found in the Renault Captur (irrespective of trim-level) has been taken from the Renault Clio and this means that some of it is slightly cheap in feel.
While the Dynamique and Dymanique S come with the bolder colour features as standard equipment, the colour options are also available as options on the lower end models, and Renault groups them into three packs - Manhattan, Arizona and Miami.
One neat option on the Renault Captur range is the zip-fastened seat covers, which make it easy to clean spills on the upholstery or change the look of the interior with different coloured covers. Another neat touch is that the elastic straps on the backs of the front seats have been tunred into a design feature that add a bit of a lift to the dark interior.
The Renault Captur is a comfortable car with fairly soft and supple suspension, but there's quite a bit of body roll in corners and generally not a lot of steering feel. In town though, the steering’s lightness makes the car easy to drive and it's comfortable enough at motorway speeds.
Yet while it’s not a car that encourages you to have fun, the Captur always feels composed and secure. It also does a decent job of soaking up bumps and potholes, and only really poorly surfaced roads will send a shudder through the Renault’s cabin.
The 0.9-litre and 1.2-litre petrol engines offer better performance than the diesel – especially the new 1.2-litre unit, although all engines are pretty slow when compared to rivals. Unfortunately, that 1.2 is only available with the jerky EDC auto gearbox.
The 1.5-litre dCi diesel is the Captur’s best performer in terms of economy. And while it lacks the outright acceleration of the petrol cars, a 220Nm torque output means it's a bit better for overtaking.
Overall, visibility from the Renault Captur is decent, but the chunky A-pillars can be obstructive at junctions.
Renault used to have a poor reputation for reliability and durability, but in the past couple of years the brand has striven to revive its fortunes. The hard work has clearly paid off, because it finished our Driver Power 2015 satisfaction survey in a superb seventh place, ahead of upmarket brands like BMW, Mercedes and Audi.
The Captur came a respectable 44th place in the Top 200 cars in Driver Power 2015. And if you do have any problems, Renault’s four-year, 100,000-mile warranty gives extra peace of mind.
Safety is one area where the firm’s consistently performed well, and this is reflected in the Captur’s five-star Euro NCAP rating. All versions are fitted with six airbags, electronic stability control and a programmable speed limiter, while Dynamique models and above get headlamps with a cornering function.
However, there’s no option to add valuable kit such as autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise or lane-departure warning.
The Renault Captur has a 377-litre boot which gives it an advantage over rivals such as the Nissan Juke and Ford EcoSport. Also included is a neat a false floor that helps create a flat load bay when the rear seats are folded flat, or they can be removed entirely to increase the boot capacity to a generous 455-litres. However, this underfloor space is eaten into if you opt for the £95 space saver spare wheel in place of the standard repair kit.
Renault hasn't sacrificed rear passenger comfort for boot space in the Captur. Yet while headroom is fine, the Renault betrays its supermini roots with a lack of legroom for taller passengers.
There’s also lots of black plastic and dark fabric, which combine with the tinted rear windows to make you feel hemmed in.
Storage in the Renault Captur is reasonable, with a dash top cubby and small cup-holders dotted around the cabin. Yet like many French machines, the switch from left to right-hand drive has rendered the Renault’s glovebox almost useless, as space is taken up by the intrusive fusebox - you can't even keep the owner's manual and service wallet in there because it's so small.
None of the engines in the Renault Captur range should prove to be costly to run. The most economical engine in the range is the 1.5-litre diesel, which promises to return 76.4mpg and emits just 95g/km of CO2. This unit can also be specified with Renault’s EDC auto gearbox, which delivers smooth shifts but increases fuel consumption to 72.3mpg and CO2 emissions to 103g/km.
The petrol engines are either a three-cylinder 88bhp 0.9-litre or a four-cylinder 118bhp 1.2-litre unit. The smaller petrol engine manages 56.5mpg and emits 115g/km, thanks in no small part to the addition of efficiency boosting stop-start kit. The 1.2-litre petrol is only available with Renault’s EDC gearbox, but still manages respectable claimed figures of 52.3mpg and 125g/km of CO2.
As with Renault’s other models, the Captur should be relatively cost effective to service, thanks to the option of a pre-paid servicing pack. Sign up to one of the brand’s 4+ finance schemes and you can include the cost of maintenance into your monthly repayments.
The Captur should also represent a decent long-term investment, with our experts predicting the car will retain around 45 per cent of its new value after three years.