Renault Captur

24 Apr, 2013 12:30pm Tom Phillips

We get behind the wheel of the new Renault Captur. Can it match the Nissan Juke for desirability?


The supermini-SUV market is about to get a lot more crowded, yet the Renault Captur has what it takes to be among the class leaders. It’s no driver’s car, but it looks great – particularly if you opt for the two-tone roof – and has stacks of space inside. Neat touches like the zip-off seat covers and sliding rear seat boost its showroom appeal, too. A price hike of £1,800 over the equivalent Clio seems a little steep, though.

Lots of crossovers have tried to recreate the formula of the big-selling Nissan Juke, but the Renault Captur – set to hit dealers in June – comes closest The two cars share the same platform and both feature eye-catching styling, but does the Captur have that desirability that sets the Juke apart from every other model in this class?

It doesn’t take long to realise that fun has been traded for a comfortable, forgettable drive. You sit up high – 100mm higher than a Clio – which gives you a decent view of the road, although the slicked-back A-pillars can get in the way at junctions. The steering is light and fairly direct, but doesn’t really tell you much about what the nose is doing. Grip is reasonable – the Captur is front-wheel-drive only – and the brakes do a decent job of slowing the car, which weighs around 100kg more than the current Clio.

The 1.5-litre diesel is pretty smooth, although can be a bit noisy at higher revs and on a trailing throttle on the motorway. But while it delivers some spectacular claimed fuel economy figures, it’s no performer and struggles a little, particularly if you’re driving a hilly route or carrying lots of heavy stuff. The five-speed gearbox is lovely and slick, but the ratios are quite long and take some getting used to – most notably with the lack of engine braking when descending a steep hill.

The suspension set-up has been tuned for comfort, too, so bodyroll in the bends is fairly pronounced. However, while the Captur can jiggle around over smaller bumps – particularly when fitted with 17-inch wheels - it settles down nicely on the motorway. It’s a quiet cruiser, too, helped by standard-fit cruise control on all models.

But while it might not be the most engaging drive, the Captur has other talents. For a start, there’s the way it looks. While the Juke’s styling is pretty polarising, Renault’s latest design language seriously suits its new crossover.

Like the Clio, it features a large, upright Renault badge on its nose, swept-back rather feline headlights and neat gloss trim around the foglights on our top-spec test car. If you can stretch to it, we’d recommend the £300 extra it costs to get the two-tone roof, which gives the Captur an extra classy edge.

Renault Captur dimensions

As the Captur effectively replaces the Modus, it features a number of MPV-inspired touches to the interior, including stacks of storage in the doors and on the dash, a solidly-built dashboard, and a sliding rear seat bench. In its rearmost position, you get lots of head and legroom, as well as a 377-litre boot. Slide it 160mm forward and you get just enough space for an adult to take a short trip in the back, but boot space jumps to 455 litres. The seat backs fold 60-40, but don’t go fully flat. The boot floor has two levels, and the divider is plastic on one side, making transporting muddy boots easy.

The Captur also features Renault’s patented removable seat covers. The base and back seat faces zip off easily and can be machine washed at 30 degrees, freshening up the cabin. You can change them when it comes time to sell, too.

Disqus - noscript

Why does the title say Captur 4X4 but in the story mentions its FWD only?

I was hoping for a lot with this car, being a fan of the Juke and Countryman but this does have a wiff of pensioner about it (obviously why it's replacing the Modus)

Might change my mind if there ends up being a RS 4WD version with the DSG box or manual (please dont borrow nissans CVT)

Is it me or do all the white bits look like a stuck on after thought very tacky &cheap looking

Sigh... another SUV clone...

I do like the two-tone roof treatment, but agree with Skelly about the other white bits looking tacky.

I agree. The white trim looks questionable, but I quite like car though.

Nice car - shame about the name. Captur - french for captured...ermmm..good for a film title perhaps.

I seem to remember a year or so ago Renault announced that they were going to stop producing normal cars & only produce electric vehicles - whatever happened to that idea, did they realise what a waste of time electric vehicles are and go back on that decision?

I feel sorry for Tom Philips. He so highly recommends the two-tone paint-job that you so lightly deride as "white bits".
One man's treasure is another man's trash. I like the car too but certainly not in this colour. And no. It's no Juke.

Why do all Renault interiors stink of dated design. It could be from a '99 Clio.. They need to catch up with their rivals. Even a Fiesta looks better than this..

"It’s no driver’s car, but it looks great"
Great, so as long as we would rather have it sat on the drive than being driven it's worth money. I've never seen such a ridiculous statement about a car.

All of these car are for idiots in any case, why bother to review them?

So Renault have invented cruise control that makes the car quieter - that's an interesting piece of technology care to explain how that works?

To all the nay sayers and repeaters of received "wisdom" and opinion below, have you ever tried one? This is an exceptionally good car and it drives really well, all it lacks is the badge to appease the snobs.

Some of the colour combinations may not be appealing to everyone but ivory / black roof and blue with ivory or black roof should look good to most folks.

Key specs

  • Price: £17,895
  • Engine: 1.5-litre 4cyl turbodiesel
  • Power: 89bhp
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 12.6 seconds
  • Top speed: 106mph
  • Economy: 76.4mpg
  • CO2: 95g/km
  • Equipment: 17-inch alloys, gloss exterior pack, rear parking sensors, heated front seats
  • On sale: Now