Renault Captur review
The Renault Captur joins the Nissan Juke and Peugeot 2008 in the expanding mini-SUV segment
The supermini SUV segment is one of the few that’s growing in Europe. The segment was kicked off by the Nissan Juke and it's growing quickly, with the likes of the Vauxhall Mokka, Chevrolet Trax and Peugeot 2008 all recent arrivals. The Renault Captur is based on a slightly larger version of the Clio’s underpinnings and it borrows its looks from the stylish supermini, too. But while it does have chunky plastic cladding and 200mm ground clearance, all models are front-wheel drive only, no matter which of the diesel or petrol engines you opt for. The Captur also replaces the Modus in the line-up, so interior space is generous, with a large boot, sliding rear seats and a driving position that’s the same height as the Renault Scenic. Buyers can personalise their cars inside and out, too, and all models come well equipped, as Renault prepares the car to face some intense competition.
Our choice: Captur Dynamique Nav 1.5 dCi
Renault is on a bit of a roll in terms of design, with its latest Clio being one of the best-looking superminis around. The Captur carries on this theme with a big, bold upright Renault logo on its nose, swept back headlights and plenty of curves down its sides. The two-tone roof is an option worth taking, as it enhances the car’s look nicely. In a nod to its SUV pretensions, the Captur gets some plastic cladding around its wheelarches and the ground clearance is raised to 200mm. Inside, the dash is familiar from the Clio, while neat touches include zip-off seat faces thet can be washed when dirty, as well as body-coloured foils around the centre console and vents. Given the range of paint and colour options inside and out, Renault groups them into three packs – Manhattan, Arizona and Miami, for black and white, red and blue respectively.
The Captur is tuned with comfort in mind, so the ride is fairly soft and supple, although cars with the larger 17-inch alloys can jiggle over small bumps. The steering is light and doesn’t have much feel, but the five-speed manual gearbox is slick. The petrol engines offer better performance – especially the new 1.2-litre TCe 120 unit, which comes with an EDC dual-clutch gearbox only. The diesel is best if you’re after economy, or plan to drive lots of miles, though. Visibility is decent, although the chunky A-pillars can get in the way at junctions.
Renault has a strong reputation for safety, and the Captur is likely to follow the Clio in obtaining a maximum five-star Euro NCAP score. The high-driving position and decent visibility should help stop you getting into trouble, while all cars get ABS and stability control. Much of the technology and the engines are borrowed from the Clio and Dacia ranges, too, which means that the Captur is built from tried and tested components. The interior also feels pretty solidly put together, using some tough feeling materials.
The Captur is only 60mm longer than a Clio, but it features lots of space for passengers and luggage. In the front, you get ample space for the driver, with a high-driving position that’s the same as in the Renault Scenic, while storage includes a dash-top cubby hole and large door bins. Unfortunately, the 11-litre glovebox drawer that left-hand drive cars have won’t be available on UK cars. In the back, the rear seats can be slid backwards to create more legroom than the in old Laguna, or forwards to improve boot space. With the rear seats slid back, the boot is 377 litres, with 85 of those beneath a removable floor panel, while this can be expanded to 455 with the rear seats pushed forwards. The seat backs also split 60-40, for a maximum capacity of more than 1,200 litres.
At almost 1,100kg, the Captur weighs around 100kg more than the Clio, but it’s still a relatively light car. Plus, despite its SUV looks, all models come with two-wheel drive. Add in the downsized engine line-up of 0.9-litre and 1.2-litre petrols or 1.5-litre diesels, and your Captur should prove cheap to run. In fact, if you go for the diesel, Renault claims you’ll get 76mpg and 95g/km CO2 emissions. All models are well equipped, too, with air conditioning, cruise control and hill start assist as standard, while the range-topping Dynamique models add a TomTom-based sat-nav system, larger wheels and heated seats.