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. Some super-economical engines also feature. 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 is a small crossover vehicle that’s spun off the same chassis that underpins Renault’s own Clio range and its partner Nissan’s big-selling Juke. Renault might be late to this particular party but, with the track record it has, you wouldn’t bet against it making a solid fist of things.
The Captur’s pedigree can’t really be questioned. And there aren’t too many crossover vehicles that feature a powerplant capable of sub-100g/km CO2 emissions. Yet the Captur delivers 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 should.
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. A 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.
Renault calls the Captur 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.
Inside, in place of a glove box, Renault has installed an 11-litre handled drawer that’s about as capacious as an Ikea bedside cabinet. There are other smart ideas as well, such as the zip-off seat coverings that can be washed or changed. The removable, multi- position boot floor is reversible, with carpeting on one side and rubberised plastic on the other. There’s a sliding rear bench seat, the boot can take from 377 to 455 litres (depending on rear sliding seat position), you get a removable 1.6-litre bin located between the front seats and there’s also a large lidded stowage area set atop the dash.
Furthermore, and very much on trend, the Captur features some interesting ways to minimalise the chances of ever seeing a vehicle identical to yours on the roads. You can specify two-tone paintwork to provide a contrast between the roof and pillars and the rest of the body. You can also change the colour of the wheels, specify decor graphics for the bonnet, roof or tailgate, and choose from a range of themed decor packs to decorate the steering wheel and upholstery.
There are also light or black interior trim colours and a choice of several interior decor colours: grey, ivory, chrome, orange, blue or green for the air vent, centre console and loudspeaker surrounds.
The Captur’s TCe 90 unit, a three-cylinder 899cc petrol engine, returns 56.5mpg and emits just 113g/km of CO2. The TCe 120 is no slouch either, getting 52.3mpg and 126g/km. Go diesel and you’ll be looking at 76.4mpg and 95g/km from the dCi 90 engine.
I’d have liked to see an all-wheel drive version with a diesel engine, but that doesn’t seem to be in Renault’s immediate plans. Yet 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 has put its rivals in a tight spot.