Late but best dressed the new Renault Captur
Normally a company that can spot a niche sector from 100 miles away, the new Captur only arrives after cars such as the Nissan Juke have been around for a while.
When you consider that the Renaults Espace and Scenic introduced the world to the idea of the MPV and mini-MPV respectively, the fact that the new Urban Crossover from Renault has only recently been released is somewhat surprising.
I suppose one of the reasons for this delay is that the soft-roader is based on the latest snappy looking, Renault Clio – a car with a new and versatile platform, designed specifically to be adapted in multiple ways. The Captur is, I’m sure, just the beginning of the Clio based models.
So is this latest Renault any good? Entering an emerging market of the over sized supermini. These new crossovers are now regularly seen throughout the UK with the Juke and MINI Countryman the most popular.
To start with it shares the increasingly familiar Renault family face, with bold features all over the place. From some angles it looks slightly bulbous and awkward but, on the whole, I rather like the design language, if you’ll pardon the corporate phrasing.
The inside is similar in the fact that it is a pleasant place to sit with one central console controlling all but the heating system. It is clean, simple and uncluttered, leaving the dash to have highlights of colour along the various swoops and creases should you wish.
The seating position is, as you would expect from a car set up for family driving, high and comfortable, though there is not much side support from a driving perspective. The rest of the car is spacious and practical but you feel that Renault has missed a trick a little with the Captur’s interior.
The main rivals for the new Renault are the Nissan Juke and the Vauxhall Mokka. The Juke is unashamedly a driver’s car with the feel of a hot-hatch and the height of a 4×4. The Mokka is a family car that has been given a bit more ride height so you would have thought that Renault would have created a bit more of a USP with the practicality inside, especially considering the previously mentioned pioneering MPV history.
The Captur has few of the tricks and clever ideas associated with practical Renaults, though it is far from lacking in storage solutions. The interior will comfortably seat four adults and still hold plenty of luggage.
The simple fact is that this car will mostly be carrying children to school and food home from the supermarket and, in the world of family workhorses, the Captur should prove to be extremely adept.
There is for example the ability to unzip the seat covers so that you can shove them in the washing machine and have a clean interior in no time – an excellent idea, as those of you who have tried scrubbing the ground-in chocolate biscuits of a considerate infant out of a back seat can testify.
The rear seats can also slide backwards and forwards to change the ratio between luggage and rear leg space, again a good shout since the rear will mostly contain little-legged people.
The fact that the Captur is a family car is reflected in the driving experience. The engines available are two TCe petrol units of either 90 or 120hp or the dCi 90 diesel which also produces 90hp.
None of these are going to set the tarmac alight as they are all small but clever powerplants that offer excellent fuel efficiency. The lowest quoted combined mpg figure is 52.3 and the Captur should be able to achieve an excellent 76.4mpg with the diesel unit.
Emissions are low too with some models being tax free since they produce less than 100g/km.
The car I tested had the dCi 90 diesel engine which made the most of its torque to pull it out of corners and up hills but the power ran out of puff a little after the turbo cut out. The engines are shared with the Clio range and I have driven all of them. All are capable and hard-working.
The ride in the Captur is a comfy affair with the focus on protecting occupants from pot holes and the like. Try to swing the Captur around a corner in the same vein as a Juke though and you will exit it surprisingly flat and even but only after a little protestation. The handling is not fun but it isn’t poor either – in fact it is well set-up for family driving.
All in all, the Captur more than warrants consideration should you be looking at practical family cars. The starting price of £12,495 is extremely competitive and the Renault, with its up-to-date look, is a strong performer.
Drive Verdict – Stylish Looks, low emissions, a roomy and practical spacious alternative
Price £13,895 on the road. The range pricing starts at £12,495
Max Power: 89 bhp @ 4000rpm
Max Torque: 162 Lb ft@ 1750rpm
Max Speed 106 mph
Acceleration: 0-62 mph in 12.6 seconds
Claimed MPG: Urban 54.3, Extra Urban 83.1, Combined 76.4
CO2 Emissions 96 g/km
VED Band E VED – Zero first year and thereafter
NCAP Safety Rating – Five Stars
Read More Renault News and Reviews at Drive.co.uk/RENAULT
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