The French firm cashes in on the flourishing SUV/Crossover market with what appears to be a beefed-up Clio. It possesses bags of French style, a hefty dollop of practicality and a couple of efficient engines.
It’s Renault’s first real stab at the Crossover market (discounting the disappointing Koleos) that fuses the everyday practicality of a hatchback with the raised driving position and rugged styling of an SUV. Potential customers can opt for either a 1.4-litre diesel or 0.9 and 1.2-litre petrol engines mated to a manual gearbox or a relaxed automatic.
The Captur is designed to ferry passengers, sports equipment, buggies and pets around in comfort so fans of all-out performance will likely be disappointed. The diesel lacks torque and will frustrate drivers of a vehicle laden with surfboards etc. but the 1.2-litre petrol with 120bhp offers a much smoother drive, though it doesn’t quite achieve the same impressive 74mpg fuel efficiency figure. Steering is light around town but nicely weighted when the route gets twisty but most importantly, the chassis and suspension soak up road imperfections nicely, albeit on the smooth French roads of our test route.
Renaults used to feature interiors that felt cheap and lacked imagination but the French firm has really upped the anti recently. It's also loaded with kit, with even basic models being equipped with cruise control, a decent stereo, hill start assist and an fuel-saving Eco function. The interior, along with the outside, can be specified to personal taste, with a dizzying array of different customisation options. We'd advise caution, however, particularly if you plan to sell your Captur on in a few years.
The Captur boasts clever stowage areas in the dash, doorsills and rear console as well as seat covers that zip on and off for ease of cleaning and replacement. The rear bench slides backward and forwards to create greater space in the boot or provide increased legroom for passengers and the seats split and fold flat. The boot also hides a clever stowage area that can be flipped to reveal a plastic surface that’s perfect for transporting wet towels, muddy boots and other mucky accoutrements.
Those with expanding families looking to upgrade their little Clio or similar family hatchback will find little fault with this car. It’s stylish and is offered with bags of personalisation options; it drives well and swallows an impressive amount of people and things inside its seemingly compact interior. The diesel will appeal to those covering plenty of motoring miles but an easier and more satisfying drive is found in the petrol models.
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Renault Captur Dynamique Media Nav TCe 120
Engine: 1.2-litre, 4-cylinder, turbocharged, petrol
Top speed: 119mph
0-62mph: 10.9 seconds
Fuel economy: 52.3 mpg (combined)
Emissions: 125g/km CO2
April 25, 2013