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Driven: Renault Captur 110 dCi. Image by Renault.

Driven: Renault Captur 110 dCi
Renault adds another 20hp to the 1.5-litre diesel Captur.

   



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Renault Captur 110 dCi

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

Good points: pleasing looks, visually interesting cabin, spacious, refined and comfortable to cruise in.

Not so good: not that quick, interior feels cheap, chassis lacks sparkle.

Key Facts

Model tested: Renault Captur 110 dCi Dynamique Nav
Price: from 14,295; 110 Dynamique Nav 17,695; car as tested 20,019
Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel
Transmission: front-wheel drive, six-speed manual
Body style: five-door crossover
CO2 emissions: 98g/km (Band A, 0 VED)
Combined economy: 72.4mpg
Top speed: 113mph
0-62mph: 11.4 seconds
Power: 110hp at 4,000rpm
Torque: 260Nm at 1,750rpm

Our view:

Renault was a latecomer to the crossover market, with its tardiness nowhere more evident than when the C-segment Kadjar SUV was launched only last year. It is a fine machine, however, benefitting from Renault's association with Nissan by borrowing the Qashqai's underpinnings to get the job done to a high standard. In that respect, it's a lot like the Captur. This smaller, B-segment crossover appeared in 2013, sharing a lot of its mechanicals with the Nissan Juke. However, the solitary diesel engine from launch was the 90hp/220Nm iteration of the Renault-Nissan Alliance's 1.5-litre dCi unit, whereas the more powerful 110hp/260Nm motor was held back.

Until now. The 110 dCi promises to bring a little more gumption to the French firm's chic offering, while maintaining the inexpensive running costs of the 90 dCi. The engine is available with a six-speed manual transmission only, unlike the 90, which can be had with a six-speed automatic as an option, and the 110 isn't offered as an entry-level Expression+ model either, the more powerful diesel instead beginning at the Dynamique Nav specification as tested here. Like all Capturs, despite its upright appearance it is front-wheel drive only, so don't go thinking you can go adventuring off into the wild blue yonder in the Renault.

Upgrading to a 110 dCi from the 90hp model brings a number of benefits without any real drawbacks save for a 600 or 700 (specification dependent; it's 700 extra on a Dynamique Nav) purchase premium, which isn't exactly a lot. The 110 has an extra ratio in its manual gearbox compared to the equivalent 90, while it shaves the best part of two seconds from the 0-62mph time, recording 11.4 seconds in relation to the 90's 13.1-second effort. Top speed also increases by 7mph to 113mph and while the economy/CO2 numbers aren't quite as impressive as the 90's 76.3mpg and 95g/km, 72.4mpg and 98g/km are still excellent - and crucially, the emissions allow the 110 to be free from road tax.

So is it worth opting for the 110 over the 90, then? We'd say yes. The financial penalties, both in terms of the slightly higher list price and the only marginally decreased economy, are more than made up for by the extra mid-range clout the additional 20hp and, more relevantly, 40Nm the 110 brings to the party. It's still not a quick car, though. Like a lot of these small-capacity, forced induction diesels, there's a low-revs urgency about the Renault that suggests it'll feel decently rapid once you start depressing the throttle further towards the bulkhead, yet if you work the Captur dCi harder there's no discernible upswing in accelerative force. Odd. What performance it does possess is fit for purpose, of course, so this lack of pace isn't a huge issue.

Nor is the inert chassis, because while Renaults are often entertaining cars to drive quickly, crossovers - largely - are not and it would seem it's the crossover side of the Captur's personality that has won the day. It's perfectly refined and quiet, and the major controls - steering, brakes, throttle, gearbox - are all calibrated in an acceptable manner. It even has plenty of grip and a healthy resistance to understeer, but there's no joy to be had in sailing close to the wind when it comes to the Renault's dynamic limits. Much better to just saunter around in it, making progress but not 'making progress', if you know what we mean. On which note, in reality we saw 51.8mpg across 215 miles at 29.7mph, which isn't terrible but is also a long way off the quoted stats... as usual.

Despite this, the 1.5-litre 110hp dCi proves itself to be the pick of the Captur range, but is it what you should plump for in this sector? Debatable. There's nothing to identify the 110hp from the 90hp externally so it's as you were for the Captur, which is a pretty little machine, certainly when compared to its cousin the Juke; but by the same token its inoffensiveness makes it less eye-catching than the Nissan, and also some key rivals like the Citroen C4 Cactus and Kia Soul. It does look good when finished with the contrast black roof colour (399) and a bright hue, while the 17-inch wheels are attractive.

Without touching it, the interior looks good too, although when your fingers do come into contact with the dashboard and controls, it feels alarmingly cut-price in relation to competitor cabins and, strangely, other Renaults. There's plenty of passenger and cargo space, however, and also a good amount of standard kit on the Dynamique Nav, although a few choice options on our test car (Renault i.d. metallic paint at 495, the upgraded Renault R-Link infotainment package that incorporates a rear-view camera for 600 and tinted rear windows and screen for 250, among more) pushed it just past the 20,000 mental barrier, which seems a lot of money for a car like this.

With the 110hp engine, the Renault thus proves to be an all-rounder that is competitive in all areas, but exceptional in none. There are vehicles that will better cater to extroverts in this sector, and there are vehicles that have a sharper, more invigorating drive. The Captur 110 dCi is definitely up there with the main pack, but the addition of power hasn't made it a class leader.

Alternatives:

Citroen C4 Cactus: much more appealing in terms of visuals and interior, and it's a light machine too. Striking Airbump-riddled appearance is not to all tastes, however.

Nissan Juke: another car whose looks aren't to all tastes. Like the Renault, fine to drive sedately, but not that exciting otherwise; nevertheless, it's hugely successful in terms of sales.

Vauxhall Mokka: 'Whisper Diesel' has improved the Vauxhall B-segment offering no end, but it's an expensive car and the company's trim lines are confusingly all over the place.


Matt Robinson - 16 Jan 2016



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2015 Renault Captur. Image by Renault.2015 Renault Captur. Image by Renault.2015 Renault Captur. Image by Renault.2015 Renault Captur. Image by Renault.2015 Renault Captur. Image by Renault.

2015 Renault Captur. Image by Renault.2015 Renault Captur. Image by Renault.2015 Renault Captur. Image by Renault.2015 Renault Captur. Image by Renault.2015 Renault Captur. Image by Renault.








 

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