The Renault Captur is an extraordinarily successful small quasi-SUV from the revived French company, bringing taller crossover cool to the Clio supermini platform. It’s Europe’s best-selling small crossover, better even than the trendsetting Nissan Juke, and will soon been enhanced for summer 2017 with a mild makeover including a set of de rigueur LED running lights.
Did you know? Sales of the Captur have grown every since its launch in 2013: in 2016, 215,000 were registered by eager Europeans.
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It’s easy to see the appeal of the Renault Captur. It’s a high-rise model with elegant curves and haunches, distinctive colour combinations and a friendly, classless look. Europeans love them and buy them by their hundreds of thousands. It’s a bit more plain inside, but equipment levels are OK and include a few surprises, while the practical interior has been very well thought out, even down to coming with removable seat covers. Calming to drive, choose the right engine and you’ve a stylish alternative to a normal family hatch, one that gives a more confident feel and more manageable nature on the road. It’s not one for families that are too large – we’re talking toddlers rather than teens (they might want to look at the Renault Kadjar instead) – but growing kids will love it and consider you that bit cooler for choosing it over a mainstream Megane.
Design & Exterior
Interior & Comfort
Technology & Connectivity
Performance & Handling
Spec & Trim Levels
Running Costs & Fuel Economy
Looks good and is highly customisable
Flexible and well-equipped interior
Very flexible and commodious boot
We Don’t Like
Interior is plain
Prices can quickly become steep
Majors on comfort rather than dynamics
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Design & Exterior: (8/10)
It’s easy to see the appeal of the Renault Captur. Wearing the firm’s latest smooth and voluptuously-surfaced design language, it builds upon the look of the Clio with an even broader stance, fulsome shapes and, of course, that raised-up crossover profile that so many find so appealing. The extra height gives it a bit more authority on the road, and helps make it a more convincing family car alternative.
With its family focus in mind, the sides are taller than the Clio and the rear glass area is a bit bigger. It also has regular rear door handles, rather than the supermini’s concealed ones. Those in the rear are considered a bit more than the are in the Clio, which itself makes the Captur look a bit more grown up.
Renault will let you spice things up further with contrast roof colours, different-coloured side trim panels, plenty of chrome upgrade packs and a broad choice of alloy wheels. Pick a particularly vibrant metallic and you’ve a car that will really stand out on the road. This or a basic Ford Focus? You can see the appeal, alright…
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Interior & Comfort: (7/10)
The Captur’s interior is a bit more appealing than the somewhat humdrum Clio, but it’s still not outstanding. It’s a bit too dark and plasticky, and the surfaces lack much visual appeal – move up the range and you do get a few colourful highlights, but it all seems a bit like add-on tokenism. A Peugeot 2008 has more elegance and tactile appeal – interiors are something Renault still needs to work on.
That’s not to say it’s entirely without appeal. The high seating position really does feel that bit more special than a plain old supermini, and decent seats plus a multi-adjust seating position helps you get comfortable without too much sliding and adjusting. A deep windscreen helps forward visibility, and over-shoulder visibility is better than the Clio, but it’s a pity the windscreen pillars themselves are so thick and steeply angled.
There’s a cute set of instruments hiding behind a sweeping binnacle and, once you move up from base Expression+ trim, a colorful 7-inch touch screen mounted high up on the dash. This helps lift the Captur’s interior, as does the chrome gloss finish applied to the centre console itself. Pick a Dynamique Nav model and you get the choice of some reasonably colourful removable seat covers, if the standard charcoal gloom is too much.
In the rear, the Captur has more space than the Clio supermini, boosting its family-friendliness. It’s not quite up to family hatch standards, but again, the higher seating position and brighter, airier rear is better for kids than the Clio. That’s only when the sliding rear seat is positioned as far back as possible though: move it forward to maximise boot space and legroom disappears (although this will be less of an issue if you have small children in child seats and large pushchairs to lug about…).
The Captur has a commodious boot. 377 litres in its smallest seat-up guise is almost as good as a Volkswagen Golf: slide the rear seat forward and it expands to 455 litres, which is seriously impressive for a 4.1-metre-long car. 60:40 split-fold rear seats are standard and dropping them both down expands the boot to 1235 litres, again a very good figure.
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Technology & Connectivity: (8/10)
The basics are ticked on all Capturs. USB socket, 12v socket and Bluetooth are all standard. Moving just one trim up from base adds sat nav too, a feature that’s still something of a standard-fit rarity on smaller cars. The Navteq system operates through the 7-inch touchscreen, which also adds DAB radio.
An optional Techno pack for Dynamique Nav models brings TomTom Live navigation, a more powerful stereo, voice control, a set of vehicle apps operated through the touchscreen, and Europe-wide mapping (this is a cost-option on the standard nav setup). This system is standard on Signature Nav and Iconic Nav models; it also includes a reverse parking camera and optional Renault R-Link connectivity for an even broader array of apps.
The Captur currently lacks the Clio’s option of Renault’s clever R&GO system, which turns your smartphone into an in-car touchscreen. This would be useful for basic Expression+ models, so let’s see if it’s introduced come facelift time.
An interesting piece of tech is the Renault Grip Xtend traction control system, which is standard on Signature Nav and Iconic Nav. This uses special algorithms in the electronics to help boost front-wheel traction during a spot of light off-roading, helping you make the most of that raised ground clearance. It doesn’t turn the Captur into a Land Rover, but does help out when crossing muddy fields or doing an impromptu bit of green-laning to please the kids.
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Performance & Handling: (7/10)
The Captur is set up proudly for comfort, making good use of its longer-travel suspension to deliver a supple, compliant ride that’s very able and composed when grumbling down broken British streets. It’s the ideal city car in this respect – potholes don’t faze it quite like they do a supermini. And Renault’s excellent suspension engineers have ensured that, while it’s supple, it doesn’t get too floaty on faster roads.
Handling is a bit less crisp than in the Clio, and you do feel a bit more roll because of the body height, but it’s still decent enough. It doesn’t seem ragged and, if you’re in a laid back mood, you’ll probably rather enjoy its easygoing nature, even if the steering is disappointingly artificial and lacking in feel.
As for engines, the 0.9 TCe that performs so surprisingly well in the Clio does struggle a bit here. Our tip is to go for the more powerful 1.2 TCe 120 – it has considerably more pulling power and is more than three seconds faster 0-62mph – and there’s only a 4mpg fuel economy penalty, one that may even reduce further once the reality of how much harder you have to drive the smaller engine sets in. Diesel choice, meanwhile, is the familiar 1.5 dCi 90 and 110; it pulls well and cruises quietly, although it’s rattly when accelerating and the power band is narrow.
Recommended engine: 1.2 TCe 120
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Safety Features: (7/10)
In 2013, Euro NCAP awarded the Captur a full five-star safety score. It was rated at 81% for adult occupant protection and 79% for child occupant safety. Pedestrian safety was more average, probably because of the higher front end, but safety assist scored a reasonable 81%.
Things have moved on now, though. It’s unlikely the Captur would perform so well today, because it lacks any form of autonomous emergency braking, driver alertness monitor, lane-keep assist or other active safety features Euro NCAP considers so important these days. It does, however, have a hill start assist function, which holds the brakes on momentarily as you perform a hill start: rolling back into the car behind will be a thing of the past.
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Specs and Trim Levels: (7/10)
Renault certainly offers plenty of choice on the colours front. Instead of a normal colour chart, the various combinations of body and roof are split into ‘colour collections’. Chose from New York, Manhattan, Arizona or Miami. You need to sit down with a price list to work it all out: Miami alone, for example, only offers a base colour choice of either Tahoe blue or Boston blue, but there are still six different combinations, depending on whether you want a white, black or body-colour roof.
Arizona majors on the same-name paint colour, with a choice of roof hues; you can also have an Arizona roof on Diamond Black, Ivory, Oyster Grey or Mercury Silver colours. Our favourite is the Flame Red and Diamond Black combination, from the New York colour collection. It looks really rich.
The Captur opens with Expression+, which has the basics covered: air con, cruise control with speed limiter, LED running lights, 16-inch alloys, Bluetooth, electric door mirrors and all-round electric windows. Most people trade up to Dynamique+ though: this includes 7-inch touchscreen with nav, climate control, cornering fog lights and bigger 17in alloys. A leather steering wheel is nicer to the touch.
Then it’s Dynamique S Nav, which is mainly a styling exercise. Rear parking sensors and electric folding door mirrors up the spec, the rear glass gets a deeper tint and black inserts feature on the 17-inch alloys (pick ivory inserts if you don’t like black). You can have the contrast roof colour and complementary Arizona, Miami or Manhattan coloured interior trim packs.
Signature Nav is posher. This gets the extended Techno pack with R-link multimedia, part-leather seats, more chrome and black gloss, painted lower bumpers and aluminium pedals. Floor mats are standard too. Iconic Nav is a fancy special edition that ups the luxury trim even further – pick out out from the exclusive Renault i.d. Arctic white metallic paint colour, blue decals and blue logos on the alloys.
Size and Dimensions
The Renault Captur is a little larger than the supermini norm, slotting in between them and family hatchbacks. It’s still reasonably compact though, with a 4122 mm body length, although the 1778 mm body width is beefier.
Max towing weight without brake
From 590kg (0.9 TCE 90) – 635kg (1.5 dCi 90 EDC)
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Running Costs & Fuel Economy: (8/10)
Diesel Capturs offers striking fuel economy. Up to 78.5mpg from the dCi 90 S&S is claimed, which equals 95g/km CO2. Whether you’ll get that in the real world is another matter, of course. Even an EDC auto dCi 90 can do 74.3mpg, while the faster dCi 110 takes it back up to 76.4mpg. Do note, the Grip Xtend pack’s all-weather tyres do knock a few mpg off the overall figure.
As for petrols, things are a bit more average. 55.4mpg from the 0.9 TCe 90 is OK, but it’s a bit light on performance, making the 1.2 TCe 120 a better real-world proposition with 51.4mpg combined with 125g/km. Here, the EDC auto delivers exactly the same fuel economy, and the all-weather tyres on Signature Nav and Iconic Nav have less of an impact on combined economy.
Reliability and servicing
Some Capturs are not without their niggles, mainly electrical, but owner satisfaction generally seems good. Being based on the well-proven Clio helps here. Renault also adds reassurance with a frequently-overlooked four-year, 100,000-mile warranty. Any niggles that do arise should be sorted for free.
Servicing is required every 18,000 miles, with biannual oil changes and annual vehicle health checks. Renault sells service packs that helps mitigate the cost of these. There’s no difference in service intervals between petrol and diesel models. A dashboard countdown indicator illuminates every time you start up to show how many miles it is until the next service, so you can’t forget.
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The basic Captur is competitively priced at just under lb15,000. Not bad for a car with a decent turbo-assist engine, air con and alloys, although a diesel engine is a hefty lb1800 more. The step up to Dynamique Nav is a more manageable lb1200, or just over lb2000 for the preferable 1.2 TCe 120 engine.
As you move up through the range, things start to get rather pricey. Dynamique S Nav is lb1400 over the regular car, Signature Nav starts from over lb19k and Iconic Nav can cost over lb22k with ease. These prices aren’t too far removed from rivals such as the Peugeot 2008, but they’re still sa step up over something like a Clio.
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0.9 TCe 90 Expression+ – decent spec and nice turbo engine for a sub-lb15,000 price tag
Dynamique Nav – Loads of stowage cubbies and it’s so family-friendly, you can even unzip the seat covers so you can wash them
Iconic Nav – full R-Link infotainment, part-leather seats, chrome gloss interior trim and a beefed-up stereo give a lux overload
The Captur’s arch-rival: these two are very closely matched. 2008 has a nicer interior, Captur drives better
Vauxhall Mokka X
A sales success that’s now crisper-looking since its facelift. Strong on-board infotainment tech too
The inspiration behind this class of car and still a popular model despite its age – it certainly doesn’t look dated
Refined and sophisticated, the understated Honda HR-V is a well-developed all-rounder that’s winning lots of friends
Bit pricier than the Renault but it’s much more car too: bigger and with plenty of BMW engineering
What others say
“The Renault Captur, the sister car to the Nissan Juke, offers an appealing ownership package, but it isn’t the last word in driving engagement.”
“The Renault Captur was one of the first small SUV rivals to Nissan’s groundbreaking Juke, and it remains one of the best offerings in the class.”