Renault has been building some very stylish cars lately, and the Captur is no exception. All this thanks to the masterful hand of Barcelona-born Spanish designer Julio Lozano Benlloch, who designed the dramatic looking Captur prototype. Of course, the final design was delivered by the design team, led by Laurens Van den Acker.
We liked the looks of this Captur from any angle, and you will agree just by looking at the accompanying photos. The car already made its mark in the compact crossover segment, and hit the sales success jackpot right away. We tested the smooth and frugal 90 Hp dCi version, and we found it a very captivating ride...
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Smooth and frugal power...
Our test car came with the 90 HP 1,5 litre diesel engine, and this unit is marvellously smooth with even a nice sound to it when not pushed or revved too hard. It develops plenty of pulling power from some 1500 rpm onwards, and indeed, maximum torque is 220 Nm at 1750 rpm.
One gets the impression that the engine is much more powerful than it actually is, and this means that in the vast majority of driving circumstances you can truly enjoy this unit.
Using the good torque and keeping the revs below 3000 rpm will get you also some quite amazing consumption figures. It was no trouble at all to achieve 4,2 litres /100 km even driving the car with some verve both in town and on the motorway.
Thanks to the pleasant 5 speed gearbox with excellent gear spacing and the progressive clutch, driving in heavy city traffic is no trouble at all and even a rather soothing and downright amusing experience. In our mega city world the Captur is certainly a great contender!
Of course the drivetrain is up to the job when it comes to cruising at 120-130 kph. The Captur is silent, effortless and there are no disturbing vibrations to mar the positive experience.
Performance is adequate with 0 to 100 kph being achieved in 13.1 seconds and a top speed of 171 kph. Average consumption is an official 3,7 litres with CO2 emissions a very good 95 g/km.
Surefooted, agile and comfortable
The Captur shares the new generation platform of the Clio estate, with a slightly wider track.
The ride height and ground clearance of 200 mm is the same as that of the Nissan Qashqai and that is one of the assets of this crossover.
The car corners quite surefooted, with good corner agility, comfort is good, with some harshness when driving over potholed city boulevards, but this is never obtrusive.
Stylish cabin comfort...
Not only the styling of the interior is captivating and lets you feel quite at home, the seats are surprisingly comfortable too.
They are also rather good looking and have detachable covers with zippers and are of course washable. You understood it: the Captur is a car built to truly live with. The backs of the front seats are also adorned with a styling gimmick which is as practical as it is good looking: diagonal elastic bands which can hold documents, toys and all thinkable items firmly in place. The Captur kept this item from the prototype stage....see photo below.
We liked the black lacquer finish of the dashboard, infotainment and navigation display and the steering wheel, giving an upmarket and premium cabin "ambiente" to the car. The overall styling of the dashboard reminds you of course of the present Clio generation.
The navigation system is easy and intuitive to use, you do not need a manual to set it up for a destination. Important when after partying you ask someone not familiar to the car to drive you home...a situation many designers and engineers seem to forget!
Also hooking up an Ipod (touch) was a breeze, only one has to remember to connect it before you start up the car and the system, otherwise things get more complicated...and it does not have much room on the front bin of the centre console either...
We still are very fond of the Renault typical sound controls at the steering wheel column, ergonomically perfect and enjoyable.
The all round visibility being only average as with many modern cars, the rearview camera installed in our test car was welcome indeed, and a necessary accessory.
The car has a split rear bench, which makes the loading space versatile. Total capacity is 377 litres.
It has also a very large glove box at the passenger side, which is also cooled, and this is indeed a marvelous practical accessory which we came to appreciate very much during summer drives.
The Captur is quite an impressive crossover, which has already won some awards:
The British magazine What Car? elected it as the best small crossover in 2014 below 16.000 pounds, and the French Association of Automotive Press chose it in 2013 as the "Car of the Year."
We can only agree. The car is endearing - or shall we say captivating - in many respects. It's an excellent car to live with, lively, roomy, practical and stylish. It is on top of all that also mechanically very sweet and above all very frugal.
We are curious to test the Captur with the new 1,2 litre 116 HP gasoline engine, coupled to the EDC automatic. But with this Diesel engine the Captur is certainly worth a close look already...
Hans Knol ten Bensel