Road Test: Renault Captur Dynamique S dCi 110
MPV flexibility in fashionable SUV form, updates to the Captur are predictably light, says Alex Grant.
SECTOR Compact SUV PRICE £21,075 FUEL 76.4mpg CO2 98g/km
Mixing Modus-like MPV practicality with bulked-out Clio styling, the Captur gave Renault an early entry into what’s become a growing supermini-derives SUV class. JATO figures show it’s still the best-seller, and a fifth of the brand’s volume in Europe, at 212,000 units, last year – that’s only 2,000 behind the ubiquitous Ford Focus. Good going for a car that’s almost five years old.
Of course, the Captur wasn’t just an early entrant in its own segment. In the UK, this was the car that paved the way for a full line-up of Renault SUVs; Kadjar and Koleos have launched since, and this updated version has adopted a few of their design cues to strengthen the family ties. It’s a neat redesign; subtle satin silver skid plates, and C-shaped daytime running lights, all offered with the same level of vivid-coloured personalisation as the outgoing car.
Not that styling was its only reason for being. The outgoing car was a great downsizing option while the last-generation Megane was still around, as well as catering for those who needed something bigger than a Clio. It offers practicality good enough to question how it could be platform-shared with the pokey Nissan Juke; a flat roofline giving headroom for adults in the back (three, just about) or a pair of car seats, on a bench which can slide to extend an already generous boot with a reversible floor. For £100, it even gets removable, washable seat covers.
The flip side of that, is that the interior perhaps shows the most obvious signs of this car’s age. It’s colourful enough to avoid being drab, and not poorly made, but there’s an abundance of hard, shiny black plastic inside, and the R-Link system, although feature-rich, isn’t as easy to use as the infotainment in rivals. Renault has added Android Auto with the update, but not Apple CarPlay. At this point, it’s also a £600 option.
Petrol power is still king in this segment; the 90bhp petrol turbo is the UK big-seller, though there’s an alternative diesel engine at the same power level. This 108bhp version of the same 1.5-litre diesel was added to the range a couple of years ago, and tailored towards those viewing the Captur as a high-riding alternative to a conventional hatchback.
Performance benefits aside, the dCi 110 is quiet for a small diesel engine, and should prove more fuel-efficient at motorway speeds, both owing to a sixth gear that the 90bhp diesel doesn’t get without opting for the automatic transmission. But, for regular long-distance drivers, the Kadjar and Megane aren’t a significantly more expensive option, and neither suffer the same over-firm, Clio-like ride as the Captur.
Renault has gone through a remarkable reinvention since it added its first new-generation SUV to the line-up in 2013. But with only minor updates needed to fend off a slew of newcomers, signs are that it got its multi-talented compact right first time around.
What We Think:
The Captur packs surprising flexibility into a compact, fashionable, and easily-personalised SUV. But, even with an upgrade, there are some aspects that are starting to show up the Renault’s age.
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