The Renault Captur is the latest of a growing breed of compact crossovers, which do without four-wheel-drive and lots of ground clearance, but retain the butch SUV styling and raised driving position of a typical off-roader.
The Captur competes with everything from Nissan’s zany Juke to the sensible Suzuki SX4 S-Cross, which sit between ordinary small cars and small off-roaders. Other similarly sized rivals include the Peugeot 2008 and the Vauxhall Mokka.
The Captur is Renault’s compact crossover, which shares similar dimensions to the Clio supermini but gains off-roader styling cues and gives drivers a better view of the road ahead.
The Captur also shares a number of engines with the Clio including turbocharged 90bhp petrol and diesel engines. The diesel model is available with an automatic gearbox too and there is an automatic-only 120bhp petrol model available.
The Captur feels like a larger Clio to drive. With its raised driving position the Captur offers good forward visibility, though the extra size and weight does dent acceleration somewhat.
In dCi 90 form the Captur hasn’t got a lot of power and isn’t particularly responsive when you want to overtake on dual carriageways. The engine also takes a moment to respond to throttle inputs.
This means that if you regularly carry a number of passengers or heavy loads the car may struggle to maintain speed on inclines. Even without any passengers on board you sometimes have to change down a gear to keep up with traffic on dual carriageways.
Once up to speed however, the Captur is very refined. There is little wind, road or tyre noise and the engine is quiet too, making the Captur a competent motorway cruiser. When accelerating you can feel some vibrations through the pedals though. The ride is soft, though some of the larger bumps do percolate into the cabin.
Take to smaller roads and the car isn’t particularly enjoyable to drive. The soft ride means that the Captur is comfortable to ride in but results in the body rolling around if you take corners at speed. However, the steering is direct and does have enough weight to give you confidence in how much grip the front tyres have. Around town however, the steering is still light enough for most drivers.
We found the gearchange a little notchy and the gear lever located a little too far down to use comfortably. The clutch also takes a bit of getting used to, being slightly tricky to engage smoothly. The brakes seem powerful enough but can cause the front of the car to dive dramatically if you brake hard.
The Renault Captur is available from £14,195.
The Captur’s shapeless front seats are neither particularly comfortable nor supportive around bends. As they are positioned quite high, they should be easier for less mobile passengers to access though.
The dashboard design is pretty simple and the driver has an analogue rev counter and a digital speedometer in front of them. Both of these are located slightly too far down though, meaning that you have to look quite a long way down from the road to read them.
The sat nav display is also located lower than in some rivals, meaning that you can’t glance at it as easily as with a number of other cars. This is compounded by the unit’s touchscreen controls, which mean you have to take your eyes off the road for seconds at a time to adjust settings.
The Captur offers a good view of the road ahead and has large wing mirrors for a good rear view. However, the rear pillars are large and the back of the car is high, meaning that reversing sensors may be a wise investment – especially as it’s hard to see where the extremities of the car are.
We drove the car in very warm conditions and on maximum power the air conditioning just about had enough power to keep the car cool. The controls for the air conditioning are very simple, meaning that the temperature and fan speed are easy to adjust on the move.
The interior materials in our car felt solid, but didn’t feel as high quality as in a Ford Fiesta for instance.
The Captur offers a reasonable amount of space for passengers. There is a good amount of space in the back seats for two adults for the size of car, however, you would struggle to fit a third adult passenger in the middle seat, due to the transmission tunnel.
Legroom for rear passengers is good, though taller passengers may find their head touching the ceiling. Most of the materials feel hardy and like they should stand up to years of family use.
The boot is relatively large for the size of car and though it is a little shallow, there is some additional underfloor storage, or you can lower the boot floor for additional space.
The hatchback on our model was very highly sprung meaning that if you’re not gripping it strongly it could open and hit you in the face, if you were carrying shopping and using one hand to open it, for instance. Similarly it can be difficult to pull it back down again.
The Captur is affordable, refined and mostly comfortable, offering a reasonable amount of interior and boot space for its external dimensions. However, it isn’t particularly enjoyable to drive and the dCi 90 can feel underpowered – especially if you load the car with passengers and luggage.
If you’re after a car with a raised driving position and aren’t concerned about on road handling or performance, the Captur could be a good option. Other conventional rivals such as the Ford Fiesta, do give a better combination of ride and handling though.
Don't want to buy new? You can browse for a used Renault Captur in our classifieds here.
Renault Captur Dynamique MediaNav ENERGY dCi 90 Stop & Start
List price: £16,395
Engine: 1.5-litre, four cylinder diesel
Top speed: 106mph
0-62mph: 13.1 seconds
Fuel economy: 67.3mpg (urban), 83.1mpg (extra-urban) 76.4mpg (combined)
Emissions: 95g/km CO2
Euro NCAP rating: Five-star
July 25, 2014