Road Test: Renault Captur Dynamique S MediaNav dCi 90
Sector: B-crossover Price: £17,895 Fuel: 76.4mpg CO2: 95g/km
The Captur may be a newcomer in Renault’s range, but it’s a cross-breed of familiar DNA. Claiming the best bits of an MPV and crossover in one package, it’s more of a downsized sibling to the likes of the Scenic RX4 and XMOD than it is as a sibling to the Koleos – which is still on sale across most of Europe.
Its ability to fill niches goes even further, though. This is Renault’s alternative to the ever-popular Nissan Juke, a car with which it shares bits of its platform. It’s also able to cater for the buyers left wanting after the Modus departed the UK in 2011, and like the MPV it’s related to the Clio supermini.
That platform sharing is a good start point. The new Clio drives well, and despite a predictable increase in high wind vulnerability that agility has rubbed off onto the Captur too. Wider front and rear tracks help give it good high speed stability.
Drivetrains are closer to the Clio than the Juke, however. Diesel versions use the 90bhp 1.5-litre unit, rather than the more powerful 110bhp version used to good effect in the Nissan. It’s a modest power drop, but these are two very different engines. The Captur feels smooth and progressive, where the Juke feels punchy and aggressive.
However, CO2 at 95g/km weights things back in the Renault’s favour, and fuel economy at 55mpg is very respectable for a segment which is aerodynamically compromised by design.
The Captur also does without four-wheel drive, in line with segment tastes. That Renault hasn’t offered the same grip-boosting traction control system as the Scenic XMOD is an odd decision, especially as the Peugeot 2008 has this as an option, but it’s unlikely most buyers will miss it.
Styling counts for a lot in the crossover sector, and here it’s a good compromise between rugged plastic-cladded off-roader and practical MPV. It’s a looker from the front, but the MPV-like square back end is less attractive. The trade-off is a practical boot shape, extended by a rear bench which folds flat and flush with the boot floor. It doesn't get the Modus's split tailgate, though.
Undoubtedly aware this will be a popular model with young families, the seat covers unzip and are machine washable. It’s a simple, but very practical, alternative to a food-stained interior. Renault’s R-Link infotainment system is available as an option, with TomTom navigation and an expanding range of useful and novelty apps to download. The standard MediaNav system is just as intuitive, though, with a clear display and tablet-esque controls.
So the Captur shapes up to be a likeable package, combining the style and agility of a Clio with near-Scenic MPV flexibility and the chunky styling of a small SUV. All the ingredients to make it work whether you’re choosing with head or heart.
Taking elements of other models and combining them in a modern-looking, good-to-drive package should make the Captur a popular model. It’s just a shame it can’t offer the traction or performance to go with the styling.