Renault Captur review

Our Rating: 
4
4.0/5.0
2013 model
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

The Renault Captur is the French brand's mini crossover alternative to the Nissan Juke and comes highly rated by us

For: 
Classy high-rise compact SUV looks, very practical interior, near-endless customisation options
Against: 
Steep entry-level prices, dull to drive, sheer array of customisation can be baffling

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The Renault Captur is a popular compact crossover five-door, appealing to buyers who want something more stylish and practical than a regular supermini such as a Renault Clio, but don’t need the extra size of something like a Renault Kadjar – or indeed the extra cost of such larger crossovers.

Renault offers it with a simple range of core trims, but all are well equipped: indeed, every car apart from the base model comes with standard built-in sat nav, a real standout in this sector. All share the same stylish looks so you won’t feel too hard done by if you choose the basic model. There is a huge array of customisation options too.

Renault Captur vs rivals

The Captur isn’t the most exciting car to drive, but it’s competent, refined, safe and secure. Renault reflects this with a range of engines familiar from the rest of its range: none is particularly fast, but all do a fuss-free job and don’t consume too much fuel.

Our Choice: 
Renault Captur 0.9 TCe 90 Dynamic Nav

The Renault Captur competes with the trend-setting Nissan Juke, Peugeot 2008, Vauxhall Mokka and dreary Ford EcoSport in the small crossover sector. It was introduced in 2013 as a bigger sibling to the Clio, and Renault’s well-judged strategy here is working well in showrooms.

The Captur is actually directly derived from the popular Renault Clio supermini, but is larger all round, particularly in length and height. These extra dimensions make it appreciably bigger inside, both for passengers and their luggage; if a Clio’s too small for family car duties, the Captur may just fit the bill. 

There’s only one five-door bodystyle on offer, and Renault also keeps the choice of trims and engines down to four apiece, which should make things simple in showrooms (but as we’ll see, there are complexities here…). All engines are turbocharged; 0.9 and 1.2 TCe petrols sit alongside Renault’s familiar 1.5 dCi in 90 and 110 guise. Renault offers an optional EDC dual clutch automatic the 1.5 dCi 90, and it’s standard on the 1.2 TCe.

The trim line comprises Expression+, Dynamic Nav, Dynamic S Nav and Signature Nav. Renault used to offer a cheap entry-level Expression model, but nobody bought it: price, it seems, isn’t the key factor when choosing a Captur. There’s also a regular special edition model sitting within the range; currently, it’s called Iconic Nav.

As the trim lines suggest, all Renault Captur models apart from the base Expression+ get sat nav as standard – something that’s virtually unheard of in the small car sector. 

Prices are competitive. Sharing so many parts with the Clio keeps the price jump for an equivalent model down to £720, which the Captur’s extra height, space and practicality easily justifies. Now the larger Kadjar has arrived, Renault has a compelling line of crossover SUVs with standout styling and compelling value for money on their side. 

Engines, performance and drive

3.5
Small range of engines and none are particularly powerful, although making an automatic available on both diesel and petrol is good

If you know how the Clio drives, you’ll be familiar with the Captur – the two share the same platform and mechanicals beneath the surface which, given how good the Clio is, proves to be no bad thing.

OK, the Captur isn’t the most exciting car to drive. There’s no Renaultsport-like enthusiasm to the dynamics here. But it is refined, smooth and easy, suiting its positioning as an upmarket supermini alternative well – and also making it a viable grown-up competitor to more mainstream family hatchbacks.

Renault makes good use of the extra height with extra suspension travel that helps take the edge of city centre bumps. The ride quality is one of the most satisfying parts of the Captur, which helps enhance the raised-seat high-riding driving environment.

Indeed, the Captur feels made for the city; its raised height, good visibility, space-efficient interior, still-compact dimensions and punchy all-turbo engines make it easy to understand why Renault dealers have no problem convincing upper-range Clio customers to make the switch.

While there’s not a 4WD version, Renault does fit the range-topping Signature Nav model with its Grip Xtend pack. This includes a unique traction control system to boost grip on slippery surfaces, plus special mud and snow tyres.

Engines

Renault doesn’t offer the Clio’s lethargic base 1.2-litre petrol engine on the Captur, which is a positive – but it also doesn’t feel the need to extend the engine range the other way, either. As such, the most powerful Captur only produces a middling 118bhp and no variant dips below 10.9 seconds for the 0-62mph dash.

Because of this, Renault doesn’t even sell any Captur with rear disc brakes, although the standard brakes are still decent – and a hill-start assist system is standard on all.

On the plus side, all engines are turbocharged, which means every Captur offers the fuss-free torquey power delivery modern buyers are increasingly expecting. The 88bhp 0.9 TCe 90 opens the range and it’s probably the choice engine from the whole line-up. Its three-cylinder power delivery is refined and smooth, and it easily out-punches its diminutive-sounding on-paper size.

The next step in the petrol range is the sweet, quiet 118bhp 1.2 TCe 120. This is a four-cylinder engine also used in the bigger Kadjar – but here, Renault only offers it in EDC semi-automatic guise. This reflects its range-topping nature and Renault’s self-shifting auto is a decent enough system, but it’s a pity buyers who don’t want an auto but do want more pace aren’t given the choice.

The sole diesel engine is the ever-familiar Renault 1.5 dCi, in 88bhp and 108bhp form. It’s perhaps a little clattery by modern standards, but it still performs well in action and diesel buyers certainly shouldn’t find cause for complaint. You can have the EDC auto here too, but only in 88bhp guise; performance is thus pretty lethargic (0-62mph takes 13.5 seconds), so choose carefully. 

MPG, CO2 and running costs

4
The Captur has a modern range of high-efficiency turbo engines and the proof of this comes in high MPG and low CO2

Renault offers a small and efficient range of engines on purpose – because all are highly fuel efficient and keep CO2 emissions down. Many are actually sub-100g/km for CO2, and even the most powerful engine doesn’t emit more than 125g/km – despite its traction-boosting drivetrain.

Most models will be sold with the 0.9-litre petrol turbo engine, which delivers an impressive 55.4mpg and has the added benefit of standard engine stop-start. But eco warriors should certainly look to diesel instead. No matter which version you choose, it will return at least 72mpg, which will help keep running costs in check.

Insurance groups

Because all Renault Capturs share the same stylish appearance, including standard body-colour bumpers and smart alloy wheels, the range doesn’t have a specced-back entry-level trim to provide a headline-grabbing low insurance group star. This won’t worry buyers too much though, as the flipside of this is the fact key engine and trim lines all share the same insurance group ratings.

The high-volume 0.9 TCe 90 comes in at group 9 insurance no matter which trim you choose, while the 1.5 dCi 90 slits into group 11E for both Expression+ and Dynamique Nav lines. It’s probably the best choice for those to whom insurance costs are a top priority. The 1.5 dCi 110 jumps to group 15 for every trim line it’s offered in. 

This hike for the dCi 110 is all the more surprising when you note the swiftest engine in the Captur range, the 1.2 TCe 120, is actually lower: the Dynamique Nav TCE 120 is group 13, rising to group 14 for the Dynamique S Nav and Signature Nav trim lines.

No Captur comes with a standard alarm: it’s a £240 accessory, or offered as part of the Protection Pack that also includes front and rear parking sensors plus a boot protector.

Depreciation

The Captur is a stylish model in a high-demand sector that’s well liked by car buyers. This means retained values are holding up well, keeping depreciation in check. It actually depreciates less than the Clio, because it’s the rarer and more popular car on the used market.

This interestingly means a Captur doesn’t cost that much more than a Clio on a PCP finance scheme: strong residuals mean the guaranteed minimum future value is high, keeping the amount you’re actually paying for each month that important bit lower.

For best retained values, choose the models with sat nav as standard. Buyers may come to expect this from the Captur as it moves onto the used car world, which may slightly dent the performance of the Expression+ model on the second-hand market,

Interior, design and technology

3.5
The Clio-derived interior isn't the most exciting design, but it is well-stocked and packed with high-tech infotainment technology

Renault Clio drivers will be familiar with the interior of the Captur. It has a familiar-looking dashboard, with the same instruments and, where fitted, central touchscreen. This is why you should choose the models equipped with sat nav if you can: the Captur feels lacking without it.

Despite the similarities with the Clio, the Captur still has its own unique feel, with a more upright SUV feel that’s enhanced by the more substantial-looking dash top, higher seats and additional stowage slots such as the cubby ahead of the gearlever and the neat closing box on top of the dash.

Renault offers an enormous array of interior personalisation packs. You can have style and colour packs that include special trim on the centre console, air vents and even the speakers, plus unique seat covers, glossy door arm rests and special trim and inserts on the steering wheel.

Pleasingly, lots of these features are standard as you move up the range, meaning you can have a bespoke-feeling Captur without spending a fortune extra. The red gloss trim that comes on Signature Nav models is particularly distinctive, although the chrome gloss trim on Dynamique versions is still smart.

Part-leather is only offered on the range-topping Signature Nav model, although it is standard and does come with heated front seats; both features are not available on other variants.

The one question mark we do have is over build quality. Feedback from our Driver Power survey suggests the Captur’s below par here, so it’s worth giving the interior a thorough once-over if you do buy one. 

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

Renault excels here. Even the standard Expression+ has a CD stereo with standard Bluetooth, USB slot and AUX socket. All the others models have an even better system called MediaNav, with a 7-inch touchscreen sat nav and hands-free telephony.

The Signature Nav has an upgraded Techno pack, including R-link multimedia: this comprises TomTom Live sat nav, European mapping and a rear parking camera – Dynamique byers can upgrade to the Techno Pack, which also boosts their 4x20w speakers to 4x35w units.

The one obvious omission on the Captur is DAB radio, which is currently, unavailable. Only the Dynamique S and Signature get rear parking sensors too, although they are standard: the only way to have assistance when reversing on the popular Dynamique Nav is to option the Techno pack and use the reversing camera. 

Practicality, comfort and boot space

4.5
The Captur is very practical and roomy considering its external dimensions; boot space is a match for family hatchbacks too

The Captur will immediately appeal alongside a Clio or other conventional supermini in the showroom, because of its higher stance off the ground. This makes it that bit easier to step in and out of, and means the boot is a bit easier to load too.

It’s a roomier car than the Clio too, an ideal stepping-stone between superminis and larger family hatchbacks or crossovers. Even the door pockets are big – the front doors will store 1.5 litres and there are door bins in the rear doors that will swallow 0.5 litres. The stowage box on top of the dashboard will also hold 1.6 litres.

Size

Despite being larger than the Clio, the Renault Captur remains a compact car. It is 4,127mm long, compered to the Clio’s 4,063mm, and is only 46mm wider at 1,778mm. The key jump is height: at 1,566mm tall, it is a full 118mm taller than the Clio, giving a more SUV-like stance and also seating occupants higher off the ground for added confidence.

Renault does make very good use of these extra dimensions too, particularly the additional height. It feels appreciably roomier than the Clio inside, yet is still usefully smaller than a traditional family hatchback: a Volkswagen Golf, for example, is well over 4.2 metres long and almost 1.8 metres wide.

Leg room, head room & passenger space

The Captur feels like a more appealing Clio from behind the wheel, thanks to the extra confidence given by the higher-set seat. It’s not actually that much roomier, but it feels like it is because of the seating position and more upmarket dash. All models come with a standard height- and reach-adjust steering wheel.

The big advance over the Clio is in the rear. All Captur models have a 60:40 split rear seat – which also slides back and forth so you can vary rear passenger space and boot space (slide it forward the full 160mm and the boot expands to 455 litres with the seats up.

With the seats folded, there’s a flat floor that Renault says will swallow a full-size mountain bike with ease: all you need to do is quick-release the front wheel. 

Naturally, given its extra height, headroom is ample. Rear legroom is better than in the Clio too and that’s hardly a cramped car, so the Capture scores well here overall. Some may prefer the conventional rear doorhandles rather than the Clio’s fiddly ‘hidden’ rear handles as well.

Boot

The Captur has an excellent boot. With the seats up, it is a voluminous 377 litres, which compares very well with the 380 litres offered by a Volkswagen Golf. By way of comparison, a Renault Clio offers 300 litres, and a Ford Fiesta has a 295-litre boot.

Seats folded the Captur boot extends to 1,235 litres, compared to the 1,146 litres of a Clio. Seats folded, a Volkswagen Golf from the family hatch class has a 1,270-litre boot, proving how competitive the Captur is here. A split-level boot floor is also standard on all models, for those who value easy slide-in access above overall space levels.

Reliability and Safety

4
Renault has been improving in recent years and basing the Captur on the well-proven Clio is a smart move. It has a five-star Euro NCAP score too

The Renault Captur is derived from the Clio Mk4, a model that’s proving to be reasonably dependable in service with reliable engines and not too many technical gremlins. The Captur benefits from this dependability, although the sheer amount of standard onboard technology does mean niggles can arise: as we’ll see though, the warranty should deal with these.

Results from the Driver Power survey back offer further reassurance as to the Captur’s reliability. The build quality niggles don’t seem to translate into in-service hassles. 

A full five-star Euro NCAP crash safety score is another tick. The Captur scored an impressive 88% for adult occupant protection and 79% for child protection.

Helping safety, all Captur models come with standard ISOFIX on the front passenger seat and rear outermost seats, and there are safety locks for the rear doors, seatbelt warning indicators for all seats and whiplash-reducing, height-adjustable SRP front headrests.

Renault also fits its ‘Renault Anti Intruder Device’ automatic door locking function to all Captur – and every model up from the base Expression has standard front fog lights with cornering functionality, which helps you see into dark corners as you turn the wheel.

Warranty

Renault’s improving reliability and dependability means the firm is happy to offer a four-year warranty on all its cars these days. Perhaps it’s the influence of Alliance partner Nissan: either way, it means the Captur is guaranteed not to cause any unexpected in-service repair bills for a crucial year extra than its key rivals – ironically, including Nissan…

What’s more, the Renault 4+ warranty offers coverage for 100,000 miles rather than the regular 60,000 miles – and the first two years are unlimited mileage, which will be of interest to those who cover big distances. It means you can drive a Captur hard for three years, then perhaps transfer it to a less-intense user in the family and still enjoy a full manufacturer warranty for an extra year.

Renault’s 4+ warranty comes with four years’ Renault Assistance breakdown cover too.

Servicing

The Captur requires servicing every 18,000 miles or two years. These extended intervals are a function of the car’s mainstream engine range and non-performance characteristics; onboard indicators advise the time and mileage to the next service.

Renault offers service plans on the Captur; there’s a 3-year, 30,000 mile plan which costs £399, or a 4-year, 40,000 mile plan for £599. 

Last updated: 11 Feb, 2016