The Renault Captur, launched in 2013, is now a familiar sight on Britain’s roads. Indeed, not only was it Renault’s best-selling vehicle in the UK in 2016 with 25,841 sold, it was also Europe’s best-selling B-segment SUV in 2016, with sales of 215,670.
Renault’s successful small crossover has recently received a refresh, featuring a cabin which is claimed to be more refined, and now offering a wider range of safety and connected features.
Stylewise, the looks of the Captur have been brought more into line with Renault’s bigger Koleos and Kadjar. The internals have been given a makeover to make them more luxurious and refined, whilst as with all new and refreshed models these days, a raft of safety and “connected” features are either standard, dependent on model, or optional. These include blind spot warning, hands-free parking, emergency brake assist, LED headlights, and Renault’s R-Link connectivity system which includes Android Auto.
All this has been achieved at a notably reduced weight, the Captur tipping the scales at an impressive 1182kg in base trim.
Sounds good, so we borrowed one to find out if these updates are good enough to keep the Captur at the top of its game in a market which sees new compact SUV models appearing on almost a daily basis.
The model supplied for test was the mid-range Dynamique S Tce 120, retailing at £19,355 – the range starts at £15,615. As usual these days, the addition of a few select options increases prices significantly: metallic paint, TomTom sat nav, parking sensors, an improved sound system and a fixed panoramic roof together with a couple of other items inflated the price to £22,080.
Base models are offered with a 90hp 3 cylinder 900cc petrol engine and 5-speed gearbox. However, as the name implies, the test car features a 120hp 1.2-litre petrol engine matched to a 6-speed manual gearbox. The power unit feels and sounds impressively quiet and refined, particularly when cruising. However, acceleration feels less than sparkling despite the claimed 9.9 second 0-62mph time, and the engine soon seems to get a touch out of breath when hill-climbing. On this basis, if performance is important to you, we would suggest that the base 90hp engine would struggle in some situations, particularly with only a 5-speed gearbox and much less torque (140NM v. 205Nm) than its bigger sibling. Given that the claimed fuel consumption and emissions figures are little different for the two engines, we would plump for the 120hp unit given a choice.
Otherwise, on the road, the Captur generally rides very comfortably, even on the 17” wheels fitted to the test car (16” rims are standard). The ride is helped by the seats being quite soft, although their very softness results in there being little side support to keep you in place during enthusiastic cornering. However, the handling is smooth and uneventful at normal speeds, tending to understeer safely when pushing hard.
So, for a small car, the Captur generally feels quite refined to drive, although, possibly because of the hushed nature of the engine, the squeaking noise which serves as the indicator audible warning can be mildly irritating.
Against that, the facia is rather nice, with the all-important speedo right in front of the driver, and features a clear digital display. Another nice touch is a large, but not too intrusive economy light directly below the speedo, which changes colour from red to green depending on how the car is being driven. The central multimedia screen is not particularly large, these days, at 7”, but the TomTom maps fitted to this model are nevertheless easy to follow.
Increasingly unusual in these electronic days, the handbrake is a conventional manual item, still preferred by many.
In terms of practicality, entry and exit to all four seats of the Captur is very easy, thanks to large, wide-opening doors and the SUV-like height of the Captur of 1566mm which is some 70mm taller than the benchmark VW Golf. A feature we particularly liked is that the doors extend down over the sills, avoiding the inevitable soiling of clothes when they come into contact with dirty sills on most cars. Despite the car’s modest 4122mm length, the rear seats offer decent legroom for adults, whilst luggage space is not compromised, at a maximum of 455 litres, bigger than the 370 litres of the Golf for example. Unusually in this sector of the market, the rear seat slides back & forth to maximise either rear seat or luggage space as desired. Usefully, the boot features a big and deeper than usual hidden underfloor compartment ideal for keeping valuable goodies out of sight.
Interior trim generally feels of good quality, much use being made of soft-feeling plastics, the only discordant note to remind you that this is a small, lightweight model is that the doors shut with a bit of a clang, rather than the reassuring “thunk” of more upmarket brands. Storage inside the car has not been forgotten either, with plenty of cubbies to keep a family’s odds and ends securely stowed. Almost uniquely, many versions have removable upholstery for easy cleaning.
One area where Renault steals a march on some of their competitors these days is in warranty provision, where 4-year 100,000 mile cover is standard together with three years European breakdown cover.
Should you buy one? Generally, yes: the Captur is easy to live with, comfortable, spacious and not too expensive to buy, or lease.
Interested? Find out more here: https://www.renault.co.uk/vehicles/new-vehicles/new-captur.html