Renault Captur is a stylish small SUV that’s built on the same platform as the Clio hatchback but with a little extra length and height. When it was launched in Europe in 2013 it was one of the first of the small crossover SUVs which have subsequently sprung up everywhere.
It has been a big seller in Europe right from the get-go, but unfortunately for Renault Australia by the time it arrived here in early 2015 many of its competitors had launched their equivalent models and this, together with limited supply, meant that Captur has always struggled to compete.
The standout feature of Renault Captur is its cute and quirky styling with interesting lines and designs both inside outside and in. There’s a large choice of bright colours, many of them with two-tone paint schemes. Our test car had this latter feature and it certainly drew plenty of positive comments.
There are deeply sculpted lines on the lower part of the doors together with a neat kick up in the rear window line that butts up against the roof-mounted rear spoiler.
You can choose from different colours in the cabin as well, both on the major surfaces and the detailed trim on the dash and doors.
Even better the seat covers can zipped off for easy cleaning or even be replaced by new ones in different colours.
Although it’s relatively small on the outside, Renault Captur has space for four adults in comfort and with a surprising amount of rear legroom enhanced by the ability to slide the rear seat slides back and forwards to let you choose between passenger and cargo space.
There’s also a two-level boot floor with one level at the same height as the rear seats when folded and a lower one to cater for taller items. The floor can also be set at a forty-five degree angle that gives support to items such as grocery bags. When set at the higher level it also provides below for out-of-sight storage.
There’s plenty of headroom in all seats despite the encroachment from a sunroof in the Intens model.
Renault Captur wouldn’t be French if it didn’t have a few annoying bits. The two drinkholders in the centre are too small for most typical 370ml cans or a standard coffee cup. Even when the drink does fit the holders are right alongside the driver’s seat and a little awkward to use.
Initially there’s no clock display in either the multimedia screen or the dashboard although it was eventually restored by referring to the owner’s handbook and pressing a combination of buttons on the steering wheel stalk.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
Renault Captur is powered by either a 0.9-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine or a 1.3-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol.
Our test was in the 1.3-litre which was added in November 2018 to replace the previous 1.2-litre turbo four. Originally available only in the limited edition Captur S-Edition it now also comes in the six-speed automatic Zen and Intens spec models.
It generates more power (110 kW compared to 88 kW) and torque (250 Nm vs 190 Nm) at lower revs (1600 from 2000 rpm ) but is more efficient at 5.4 litres per 100 km compared to 5.8 L/100 km), with emissions down from 130 g/km to 120 g/km).
The three-cylinder Captur comes only with a five-speed manual gearbox, others with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Renault Captur gets the maximum five ANCAP points with standard features across the range including six airbags; enhanced ABS brakes; stability and traction control; anti-slip regulation; hill start assist; emergency braking lights; rear foglights; rear view camera and rear parking sensors; and Isofix child seat fixing points on the outer rear seats.
The higher spec Intens adds extended grip control; LED headlights, and front foglights with cornering function; front and side parking sensors; easy park assist; and blind spot warning.
Infotainment features are displayed on a seven-inch colour touchscreen. Satellite navigation is standard with the Intens getting an enhanced R-LINK system as well as an Arkamys 3D sound system with the option of upgrading to Bose premium sound.
Bluetooth pairing was intuitive and quick with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto both available.
In its natural urban environment the Captur is reasonably quiet and pleasant to ride in. The seat position is higher than the Cleo for extra vision and the seats are comfortable and supportive.
On the motorway segment of our normal test route it cruised in a relaxed and easygoing manner even on moderate hills. Handling is safe and competent, but nothing to get excited about – that’s the job of Captur’s Clio sibling especially in its exciting sports models.
Engine performance from the 1.3-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol unit is good and generally gets the car moving promptly. The automatic transmission is generally in the right gear for the conditions and works well with the characteristics of the turbo engine.
Fuel consumption is listed at 5.4 litres per 100 kilometres. We averaged in the low sixes.
Impressive and more than compensates for the moderate performance.
At last count there were 27 different models in the Australian small SUV category with Renault Captur struggling around the lower end. Which is a pity because it’s a well-priced, capable and economical little vehicle with quirky, interesting lines that make it stand out from the crowd.
Captur Zen 0.9-litre turbo-petrol: $21,990 (manual)
Captur Zen 1.3-litre turbo-petrol: $24,990 (automatic)
Captur Intens 1.3-litre turbo-petrol: $28,990 (automatic)
Captur Intens S-Edition 1.3-litre turbo-petrol: $30,490 (automatic)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Renault dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Renault Captur Intens 1.3-litre turbo-petrol five-door wagon)
Capacity: 1.332 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 110 kW @ 5250 rpm
Maximum Torque: 250 Nm @ 1600 rpm
Fuel Type: Premium unleaded
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 5.4 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 120 g/km
DRIVELINE: Six-speed automatic
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4122 mm
Wheelbase: 2606 mm
Width: 1778 mm
Height: 1566 mm
Turning Circle: 10.4 metres
Kerb Mass: 1215 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 45 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Five years / Unlimited kilometres