Renault Captur review
Compact crossovers are big these days - at least the idea of them is, even if their footprints remain small. Renault was one of the first to get in on the fast moving market with its Captur, and now it's had a mid-life refresh to keep it competitive. We review the new Captur to see how it gets on.
Review by Chris Lilly
The Captur tested was fitted with Renault's compact four-cylinder 0.9 litre TCe petrol engine, producing 90hp in this specification. With 140 Nm of torque also on tap, one could confidently expect the Captur not to set any speed records - and the 0-62mph time of 13.2 seconds back that initial though up. It's a small car with a compact engine, and the performance on offer matches these attributes. There are more powerful units on offer, but even the fastest Captur available still takes 10.6 seconds to complete the 0-62mph sprint. That said, it's not a bad engine at all, and is eager to rev to offer you what power it does have. Those that cover longer journeys regularly would be better off picking a more powerful petrol or diesel in terms of driving experience. But stick to short trips and the Captur 0.9 TCe 90 has enough about it let you thread it through traffic confidently.
Matching the Captur's performance, the handling is well designed to be used around built up areas. Light but direct steering means the piloting the Captur about a car park for example is a doddle. With compact dimensions and wheels pushed into wach corner, the Captur is agile and driver's need not worry unduly about front or rear overhangs, making it very easy to place the Renault on the road. The steering lacks feedback, but body roll is kept well under-check considering the Captur is essentially a Clio on stilts. You're not going to enjoy a drive down a country road as much as a Mazda CX-3 for example, but we've established that that's not what the Captur is about. As a practical small car, it does everything you need of it in terms of handling - particularly for regular runs like driving to the supermarket, school, or work. It deals with the detritus and road furniture easily, using the increased ride height to shrug off speed bumps and the like/
This is one area where we see the biggest changes over the older Captur. Refreshed styling makes certain elements sharper and more in line with the current Renault design language. It's still clearly a Captur though, and the only real changes are a revised front end - headlights and grille - and the new LED running lights that make the Renault particularly stand out when it's dark. Largely the rest of the car remains the same, so buyers get a supermini with a taller ride-height. Interior space is good for a young family, with a couple of adults able to fit in the back - they wouldn't want to go on a cross-country trip though. Boot space is decent too, and one of the Captur's party tricks is a sliding rear bench. This makes the boot/rear seat space flexible and can come in handy. The boot is easily accessed via a wide hatch and floor without a load lip. There's a false floor to create storage options for owners. Cabin storage space isn't a particular strong point, though it's not bad either, but those up front will have few complaints about space available for them. Visibility is also pretty good considering the Captur has quite an aggressively rising window line and seemingly shallow rear window.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
Sticking to a bit of a theme, the Captur's seats are comfortable enough for short to medium trips, but I wouldn't want to complete long journeys while perched atop them. There is enough support but there are more luxurious pews on offer in the compact crossover sector. The rest of the cabin benefits from the refresh, with it much improved upon over the previous version. There are a number of soft-touch plastics used, and a glossy panel on the dashboard does much to project an air of quality. Rivals such as the VW T-Roc have a more premium feel, but they also have a price tag to match. As such, the Captur scores pretty highly in this regard. There are some hard, cheaper materials used, but these are kept to rarely used areas, or those that are likely to be subjected to scuffs - it's par for the sector really. Controls feel well built and are largely damped. Basically everything is kept in or around the central touchscreen too, freeing up space further down the central console for storage bins.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
Renault traditionally scores highly in this section, and the Captur is no different here. It has some of the best fuel economy figures in the crossover class - showcasing the strength of its engine line-up. The 0.9 TCe 90 performs well, with an official figure of 55.4 MPG. After a mix of driving styles and conditions, the Captur averaged 43.7 MPG after my time with it, which is on a par with what you would expect in this class. Those that need to travel longer distances will likely pick one of the diesels that have quoted fuel economy figures as good as 79 MPG. Having driven the same 1.5 dCi 90hp diesel in different models, it is a very frugal option, but perhaps not as well suited to the Captur as other cars since the Captur isn't set-up as a mile-munching ling distance machine. In terms of car tax, the Captur will cost Â£140 per year no matter which model picked. The 0.9 TCe tested will cost Â£160 for the first year, with the lowest first year cost available in the Captur range Â£120. The first year cost is included in a car's OTR price though.
Renault continues to score strongly in terms of green credentials too, with the Captur offering a few party tricks to maximise efficiency. There is engine stop/start to cut the engine in traffic on all manual models, and the Renault is also fitted with an ECO driving mode from the entry level trim. This restricts throttle response and optimises the car's auxiliary systems to minimise their drain on the engine. An Eco menu is included with the Renault R-Link multimedia system, to give drivers information and scores on economical driving. A driving indicator changes from green to yellow and orange, giving drivers feedback as they drive, and manual models have a gear shift indicator to keep the car in the optimum ratio. The Captur also an energy recovery system that tops up the battery under braking and deceleration on all models. According to our calculations, the model tested has a Next Green Car Rating of 39.
With this updated Captur, standard equipment levels across the range are good. Entry level Expression+ includes 19-inch alloys, hill start assist, air conditioning, DAb radio with Bluetooth and USB, Eco mode, cruise control, automatic headlights and wipers, and a split-level boot floor. It's hardly poverty-spec then, even at the bottom of the ladder. Dynamique S tested featured 17-inch alloys, leather steering wheel and gear stick, rear parking sensors, and 7-inch MediaNav infotainment system. Options fitted included metallic paint, the Techno Pack which includes a Bose audio system, rear camera, hands-free parking, and Renault R-Link with TomTom live sat-nav.
Those behind the Captur's refresh have done a good job, focusing on key areas where there the Renault had slipped behind in the last few years. As such the Captur remains a good choice for those in the market for a compact crossover. The styling is more accessible than the Nissan Juke - which is based on the same platform - and equipment is very good. Running costs will be low no matter which model picked, and the Captur is practical enough for most. It doesn't have any particular strength to make it stand out from the pack, but Renault's Captur is a good all-rounder.
Model tested: Renault Captur Dynamique S TCe 90
Engine / CO2: 0.9 litre petrol engine / 114 g/km
Trim grades: Expression+, Dynamique Nav, Dynamique S Nav, Signature X Nav, Signature X Nav
On-road price: From £15,615. Price as tested £20,915 (inc. options).
Warranty: Three years / 60,000 miles
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 3.5 Stars