Renault calls the Captur ‘an urban crossover’, though in industry parlance it’s a ‘B-segment crossover’.
In the flesh, the Captur is certainly an eye-catching car. Go for the duo-tone roof and body option and the car stands out even more, partly because the contrasting colour extends to the A-pillars. It’s all the more striking with the exterior trim Gloss Pack fitted around the fog lights and to the sills and grille.
There are five core trims to choose from, with the entry-level Expression+ model coming with cruise control, air conditioning, automatic lights and wipers, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth and USB connectivity as standard.
Upgrade to Dynamique Nav and the Captur gains 17in alloy wheels, climate control, chrome interior details and Renault’s 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system with sat nav and DAB radio included.
The mid-range Dynamique S Nav adds rear parking sensors, contrasting roof and body colour combination, tinted rear windows, and electrically adjustable and heated wing mirrors, while the Signature Nav models come with an advanced traction control system, Renault’s R-Link infotainment system with TomTom-powered sat nav, part leather upholstery and heated front seats.
Those wanting a little bit more exclusivity can opt for the Iconic Nav Special Edition trim which equips the Captur with all the goodies found on the Dynamique S Nav plus the advanced traction control, mud and snow tyres, a reversing camera, Renault’s R-Link infotainment system, an Arctic White paint job combined with a blue roof and mirror caps, leather upholstery and heated front seats.
There are 24 exterior colour combinations along with four matching interior and exterior trim packs, called ‘New York’, ‘Arizona’, ‘Miami’ and ‘Manhattan’. There also also three different roof decals.
The Captur is based on the same platform as the out-going Clio estate, although it has been modified with a wider track. It is quite compact, measuring just 4.1m in length and 1.53m high, including a useful 200mm of ground clearance. The decent 2.6m-long wheelbase works with a 60/40 split rear bench seat that also slides to allow up to 215mm of kneeroom.
Inside, the fresh-looking dash plastics are finished in a modern dimple pattern and there are some usefully deep cubby holes in the centre console. Renault has also patented the removable seat covers.
With the sliding rear seat set right back, you get a reasonable 377-litre boot, extending to a healthy 455 litres with the bench slid fully forward. There’s also a double-sided (carpet and rubber) hard boot floor that splits the rear luggage space and creates a substantial – and hidden – storage space.
Renault offers the Captur with its new, sweet and punchy small petrol turbo engine, which drives through a six-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic gearbox. The 118bhp unit has the legs for twisting hill roads while proving to be very smooth on the motorways. The engine is a good match for the company’s new dual-clutch ’box, which was almost complete viceless unless you stamped on the accelerator.
The 89bhp dCi diesel engine is impressively refined, although it becomes vocal in town on a trailing throttle and on long uphill roads, the driver needs to stay on the ball and drop down a ratio to keep the car’s speed up. It can manage a relaxed relaxed 12.6sec 0-62mph time but the upside is a claimed combined economy of 76.4mpg, which should mean nearly 60mpg in the real world. There is also a three-cylinder, turbocharged 0.9-litre unit with 88bhp propping up the range and a 108bhp 1.5-litre oilburner completing the engine line-up.
Certainly, the Captur isn’t going to whet the appetite of the keen driver. It has lightly weighted controls and is easy to punt around. That said, it could be made to flow along rather nicely on A-roads.
However, the Captur’s biggest flaw is its ride quality on ruinous surfaces, it would glide along on smooth roads, on patches of typical A-roads, where it encountered broken surfaces, the wheels crashed and pattered to a surprising degree.
The Captur is very much a style and lifestyle statement. You’ll find similar interior versatility in an MPV, but the Captur is much more about showmanship and the ability to completely customise the car inside.
Buyers are also given some strong practical reasons to buy the car. Renault offers a comprehensive ownership package including a four-year warranty, four years’ servicing and four years’ roadside cover.
Overall, the Renault Captur is not a captivating driving experience, but that’s not the point. Its style, freshness, value (compared to, say, Mini’s line-up) and overall buying package should ensure that it is a success.