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Renault Captur review (2013 onwards)
2013 Renault Captur: summary
Class-leading efficiency, aggressive pricing and solid practicality makes the Renault Captur a compact crossover SUV to be reckoned with
What: Renault Captur
Where: Biarritz, France - San Sebastian, Spain
Date: April 2013
Price: £12,495 - £18,895
Available: on sale 1 May, arriving 1 June 2013
Key rivals: Chevrolet Trax, MINI Countryman, Nissan Juke, Peugeot 2008, Suzuki SX4, Vauxhall Mokka
We like: efficient engines, strong value, spacious, refined
We don’t like: choppy ride, petrol auto lacks punch
Renault Captur: first impressions
Another day, another rival for the Nissan Juke – this time it’s the turn of the brand-new Renault Captur. Effectively a fourth-generation Clio on stilts, the Captur could be just the thing if you’re after the height and practicality advantages of a compact crossover without the wacky styling.
Even Renault says the Captur is ‘inoffensive’ to look at. Just be warned, that’s not the same as suggesting it’s pretty. While the two-tone examples we were driving certainly attracted a lot of attention on the French coast, not all of the stares appeared to be complimentary.
Choose your colour combo – of which there are several – very carefully. Blue and ivory cream? Probably best left to the Italian police in our experience.
The mixed paint is just one example of the Captur’s extensive range of personalisation options, which also include trim parts and graphics inside and out, as well as the novel ability to unzip and swap the seat covers. Not to mention the R-Link infotainment system, where you can even customise the engine note.
Add in a fair degree of practical versatility, a small but efficient range of engines – CO2 emissions are as low as 96g/km – and some very attractive pricing, and you’ve got a supermini-sized pseudo SUV that’s really determined to take sales away from both its crossover competition and more traditional compact MPVs.
It’s pronounced ‘capture’, by the way.
Renault Captur: performance
The Captur comes in three engine choices initially: a 90hp 0.9-litre TCe turbo petrol that’s paired with a five-speed manual gearbox, a 120hp 1.2-litre TCe turbo petrol paired with a six-speed EDC automatic gearbox, and the latest version of the long-standing 90hp 1.5 dCi turbodiesel, available with both transmissions.
It is resolutely front-wheel drive only. There is no 4x4 option for the Captur
We sampled the 1.2 TCe auto and the 1.5 dCi manual.
The diesel is likely to be the most popular. Despite the recent introduction of a new 1.6-litre turbodiesel elsewhere in the Renault range, this little dCi shows no sign of going away – and with good reason. It delivers the diesel grail of smooth, torquey performance in combination with great refinement. An excellent choice.
The 0.9-litre petrol should prove an interesting alternative, however – especially given strong entry-level pricing of just £12,495, undercutting the segment-leading Juke’s base model by £500. We’ve recently driven it in the new Clio, and with just 100kg more to cope with here it should prove just fine.
The 1.2 TCe holds less appeal, unless you really want that petrol-auto combination. Don’t get us wrong, this engine is also smooth and refined – as you’d expect. But with no paddleshifters performance is a little flat, the dual-clutch gearbox making pulling out on to busy roads occasionally fraught.
Renault Captur: ride and handling
The Captur is based on the same basic platform as the Clio 4 – although the chassis has been overhauled to cope with the increased wheel size and the taller body, meaning some parts come from the latest Clio Sport Tourer estate rather than the regular hatchback, and the suspension is stiffer.
Depending on trim level, all of the seat covers can be unzipped and removed for easy cleaning
It is resolutely front-wheel drive only. There is no 4x4 option for the Captur, and nor will there be. But you do get 20cm of ground clearance, and a seating position that’s 10cm higher that the Clio’s.
The sense of command this brings over the road ahead is only slightly marred by steeply raked windscreen pillars. Which tend to get in the way as you negotiate corners. And you also can’t completely ignore the choppy ride – a side-effect of the firmer suspension that’s especially noticeable as a passenger.
This aside, the Captur is a highly agreeable car to drive. Being barely any bigger than the Clio, it’s wieldy around town and on country lanes and, while there is an inevitable increase in the amount of body roll, it never feels excessive or out of hand.
The steering weighting and the manual gearbox action are both encouragingly positive, and since the Captur weighs no more than the previous generation Clio 3, it’s certainly nimble and light on its feet.
Renault Captur: interior
Left-hand-drive Capturs don’t get a glovebox – they get an enormous 11-litre drawer, which slides out of the dashboard, Ikea stylee. Unfortunately for UK buyers, a bundle of electrics behind the dash means this can’t be done for right-hand drive, so we’re stuck with a regular five-litre glovebox instead.
A shame, but not the end of the world, for the Renault is a remarkably spacious small car. At its maximum, rear legroom matches the latest Laguna saloon, but because the rear bench seat slides forward and aft you can balance passenger comfort against boot space, as required.
The Captur is the most efficient car in its class, with CO2 emissions of just 96g/km from the diesel
The boot itself features a double-sided false floor – one side normal carpet, the other easy clean rubber – with a deep additional storage well underneath. At its minimum it offers 377 litres of space; slide the bench forward and this goes up to 455 litres; fold the rear seat backs down, and there’s 1,235 litres in total.
Other handy storage solutions include a cubby in the dash top, and optional elastic straps on the front seat backs. Depending on trim level, all of the seat covers can be unzipped and removed for easy cleaning, or swapped for new ones should you simply fancy a change.
Even base-spec models are generously equipped, and the Captur is available with two grades of satellite navigation. Top of the tree here is the R-Link infotainment system, which offers an app store where you can add increased functionality, including a choice of virtual engine sounds that play through the speakers.
However, some of the TomTom Live sat-nav features in the R-Link will require an on-going subscription. Other items of note include the trim personalisation options – grouped under Arizona, Miami and Manhattan themes, but available individually as well – and an Air Quality Management function.
Renault Captur: economy and safety
Renault says the Captur is the most efficient car in its class. Pick the diesel manual and CO2 emissions of just 96g/km are possible – meaning zero annual road tax and claimed fuel economy of 76.4mpg. Even the petrol auto officially rates at 125g/km with 52.3mpg, according to the usual EU testing procedure.
Has Renault done enough to capture customers’ imagination? We think so
Helping achieve this, all Capturs come with an Eco button on the centre console, which tweaks the engine software, the air conditioning and the shift patterns for the automatic gearbox – apparently enough for a 10% saving in fuel.
The Captur also features ultra-low rolling resistance tyres, active flaps that close the exterior vents to improve the aerodynamics whenever engine cooling demands are limited, and all manual gearbox versions come with stop-start as standard.
Safety kit includes the usual round of airbags and electronic stability control. But the Captur misses out on the very latest active safety devices such as autonomous low-speed braking. At the time of writing, it’s yet to be tested by EuroNCAP.
Renault Captur: the MSN Cars verdict
We like the way the Captur drives, and we think buyers will like the way it looks, the degree of personalisation it offers – and the price. It’s practical, the engines are excellent and it seems well built. All of which adds up to a strong debut for Renault in the compact crossover segment.
It needs to. This is a sector of the market that’s primed to explode in 2013, as other new cars such as the Peugeot 2008, the Chevrolet Trax and the Ford EcoSport all come gunning for the Nissan Juke as well. Has Renault done enough to capture customers’ imagination? On the whole, we think so.
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