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First drive: Renault Captur. Image by Renault.

First drive: Renault Captur
The Renault Captur has been a big seller since it was introduced. Can the new version follow suit?

   



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Renault Captur 130 TCe

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

Renault's new Captur sticks closely to the styling template of its predecessor, but shows real improvements in terms of cabin quality and space. Exciting to drive? Not really...

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Renault Captur 1.3 TCe 130 S-Edition
Pricing: 21,795 as tested; starts at 17,595
Engine: 1.3-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol
Transmission: six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Body style: five-door compact crossover
CO2 emissions: 127g/km (VED Band 111-130: 170 in year one, 145 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 44.1mpg
Top speed: 121mph
0-62mph: 10.6 seconds
Power: 130hp at 5,000rpm
Torque: 240Nm at 1,600rpm
Boot space: 536-1,334 litres

What's this?

This is the new Renault Captur. No, honestly, it is. I know we've become used in recent years to car makers not making great stylistic leaps from one model to the next, but the new Captur arguably takes the biscuit (and cake... and pavlova, too) when it comes to sticking to the same styling. Even side-by-side, the old and new are damned near impossible to tell apart. Really, the only tell-tales are that the new car has different, LED headlights that now incorporate the C-shaped daytime running light; a new a rear pillar treatment that creates more of a 'floating roof' effect; and entirely new rear lights, that swoop around the edges of the boot like bright red boomerangs. You could certainly not accuse the new Captur of being anything other than handsome, but it is perhaps a tad predictable.

It's much less so inside. I mean, it's predictable in that it uses the same interior as the Renault Clio (the two cars are closely mechanically interlinked) but the difference here is that where the old Captur's cabin was cheap and pretty cheerless, the new one reeks of quality and soft-touch materials. It's genuinely nice in here, with comfy seats, a big (9.3-inch) touchscreen, digital instruments (on a ten-inch screen) and, in our top-spec S-Edition test car, lashings of nice, soft leather.

Ah, but there's a 'but'. S-Edition is the top-spec, so lesser Capturs (and the mid-spec Iconic is expected to make up the bulk of sales) come with less impressive cabins - analogue dials, or an optional seven-inch digital instrument screen, and a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen. Still, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard, as does autonomous emergency braking, a speed limiter, lane departure warning, and those LED lights.

We do have one quibble with the overall-impressive cabin. While it's made from nice things, it's not necessarily that well screwed together. We noticed some loose, or at least wobbly, fit on some components, so a second-hand Captur, in a year's time, might end up feeling a little tired inside.

It will be spacious, though. The new Captur is longer, wider and a little taller than before. Cabin space is generous, with rear legroom up by 17mm, making it now officially adult-friendly. The boot can stretch to 530 litres too, albeit only with the sliding rear bench pushed fully forward. Slide it back on its full 160mm travel, and the boot shrinks to a still-useable 422 litres.

How does it drive?

The Captur's engine line-up is pretty familiar - the mainstays of the range will be the 100hp 1.0 TCe three-cylinder petrol turbo, and the 1.5-litre dCi diesel in a choice of 95- and 115hp outputs. Next year, from April, a new plug-in hybrid version (with electric range of around 28 miles, and CO2 emissions of less than 40g/km) will go on sale. For this launch event, Renault let us drive only the 1.3-litre 130hp four-cylinder petrol turbo (an engine shared with Mercedes-Benz and Nissan) and the results were... mixed.

On the whole, it's a good engine but it suffers from slightly inconsistent power delivery which, at times, can make it feel slower and more sluggish than it actually is. That's not helped by a six-speed manual gearbox that feels a little rubbery in its shift quality, and which really doesn't like to be hurried.

That said, when the 240Nm of torque does come on line, the Captur feels reasonably brisk. Certainly, there seems no point in trading up to the 155hp version of this engine - we took one of those for a brief spin and it didn't seem, subjectively, much quicker, although the optional seven-speed DCT gearbox feels better here in the Captur than we've ever found it in any other Renault.

In terms of handling, you don't come to a car like the Captur expecting dazzling chassis responses, and you're right not to - they are absent. But, within the bounds of the small crossover class, it's actually pretty decent to drive, with well-weighted steering, an understeer-y but fundamentally safe chassis, and a ride quality that would probably have been a lot better if we'd had a car without the optional 18-inch wheels. Basically, the Captur does well at the things you'd expect it to - pootling around town (although the turning circle seems especially broad), and cruising with ease along dual carriageways and motorways. It's not a back-road thriller, but who the heck ever bought a small SUV for that?

Verdict

We'll be honest - the Captur isn't really our cup of tea. It's a car bought by those trading out of family five-door hatches because they fancy something taller, or more fashionable, or both. Its chassis is adequate to its undemanding tasks, its engines are decent, and it's the kind of car that will slot painlessly into many, many lifestyles. Yet, while it may not be our preferred poison, what's obvious is that it's stylish, decent to drive, sufficiently roomy, and has made terrific strides in terms of sophistication and cabin quality. Existing Captur customers will be pleased, and its impressive interior might be enough to tempt buyers out of rival models.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

4 4 4 4 4 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Luggage Space

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Safety

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Comfort

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Driving Dynamics

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Powertrain


Neil Briscoe - 25 Oct 2019



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2019 Renault Captur 130 TCe S-Edition. Image by Renault.2019 Renault Captur 130 TCe S-Edition. Image by Renault.2019 Renault Captur 130 TCe S-Edition. Image by Renault.2019 Renault Captur 130 TCe S-Edition. Image by Renault.2019 Renault Captur 130 TCe S-Edition. Image by Renault.

2019 Renault Captur 130 TCe S-Edition. Image by Renault.2019 Renault Captur 130 TCe S-Edition. Image by Renault.2019 Renault Captur 130 TCe S-Edition. Image by Renault.2019 Renault Captur 130 TCe S-Edition. Image by Renault.2019 Renault Captur 130 TCe S-Edition. Image by Renault.








 

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