New car review
by Andy Enright
THE Renault Captur launches into a market of compact crossover vehicles such as the Nissan Juke and the Skoda Yeti but brings with it some genuinely clever interior touches and no small dose of style.
Expect the Captur to attract the sort of buyer who likes the way the Nissan Juke drives but who would prefer prettier styling.
The Captur’s pedigree can’t really be questioned.
The chassis it rides on has done sterling service for both Renault and Nissan alike. Likewise the engine selection has already received warm reviews in the Clio line-up.
There aren’t too many crossover vehicles that feature a powerplant capable of sub-100g/km emissions but the Captur can deliver this and although it clearly rides a little higher than the Clio, you just know that, this being Renault, it will handle better than a car of this kind probably deserves to.
The engine line-up comprises the Energy TCe 90 engine which will probably be the big seller.
The first three-cylinder powerplant ever produced by Renault, this turbocharged 899cc unit comes with Stop&Start and is designed to deliver the performance of a normally-aspirated 1.4-litre unit.
An ultra low-inertia turbo whistles into action from low engine speeds, developing 90PS and 135Nm at just 2000rpm. In fact, fully 90 per cent of peak torque is available from 1,650rpm to 5,000rpm.
There’s also an Energy TCe 120 TCe unit mated to six-speed manual or the EDC transmission (Efficient Dual Clutch).
This four-cylinder 1.2-litre engine gets direct fuel injection and turbocharging, contributing to a peak power of 120PS and a healthy 190Nm of torque from 1,750rpm. Diesel buyers can choose from a couple of versions of the Energy dCi 90 1.5-litre engine.
Don’t worry - the Captur’s nothing like as divisive as its cousin, the Nissan Juke.
In fact it’s a very clean design with some very slick detailing. Renault calls it an ‘urban crossover with an unpretentious look’ and that’s pretty much spot on. Its footprint is small at just 4.12m long and 1.77m wide, while the 200mm ground clearance gives it a nicely elevated driving position.
Don’t get any designs on off-roading though. The Captur’s not really into all that.
You only need to look at how snugly the wheels fit into the arches to figure that out. You do get sill protection mouldings to guard against urban and rural scrapes and the base of each door is shaped to prevent shoes and clothing getting dirty when climbing aboard.
The success of the Renault Captur might well be best summed up by a friend of mine who test drove a Nissan Juke, liked it and then showed a photo of it to his wife who nixed the idea on the spot because of the way the car looked.
The Renault shares many of the Juke’s attributes but it’s wrapped in a shape that’s a good deal less divisive and also features an interior that’s a lot smarter. We liked the Clio IV a great deal and the Captur looks like a good idea waiting to happen.
I’d have liked to have seen an all-wheel drive version with a diesel engine but that doesn’t seem to be in Renault’s immediate plans and even with drive just going to the front wheels, the Captur looks a fun and appealing thing with a wholesomely practical side too.
Cheeky, versatile and cost-effective, with smart engine tech and a stylish interior, the Captur looks to have put quite a few of its immediate rivals in a tight spot.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
CAR: Renault Captur range
PRICES: £12,495 - £18,895
INSURANCE GROUP: 9-15
CO2 EMISSIONS: (1.5 dCi 90) from 95g/km
PERFORMANCE: [1.5 dCi 90] 0-62mph 15s Top Speed 106mph
FUEL CONSUMPTION: [1.5 dCi 90] 76.4 mpg (combined)