Over the last few years Renault have introduced several new models and the latest model launched by the French manufacturer is the all new Renault Captur, a crossover model combining the attributes of an SUV with the spaciousness of an MPV and the convenience of a hatch, all wrapped into one good looking package.
The Renault Captur has been designed by Renault’s top car stylist Laurens van den Acker, it encompasses quirky but interesting lines, optional two-tone paint finishes and 17″ alloys rims on the Dynamique models, 16″ alloys for the Expression, LED daytime running lights, and of course Renault’s trademark diamond-shaped centre piece mounted on the crossover’s front grille, yet the Captur still retains the traditional French flair.
In addition to the front LED daytime running lights, the two Dynamique models also feature cornering fog light activation under specific conditions. Side mirrors and door handles are body-coloured with all additional exterior finishes in chrome.
Renault has launched three derivatives of the Captur, all petrol-powered. At the top of the range is the Dynamique EDC featuring Renault’s new generation 1.2 litre 88 kW EDC Turbo power plant, followed by the Dynamique 66 kW Turbo and the Expression 66 kW Turbo. Renault tells us that these new generation Turbo engines are a direct result of Renault’s renowned adaptation of Formula One technology being transferred to their road cars.
With its flexible, modular layout, Captur’s interior is spacious. There’s plenty interior room for four adults without those in front having to make any real sacrifices in the way of legroom and there’s adequate legroom for adults in the second row. Headroom is plentiful and the seats are at a good height for easy entry and exit.
An eye-catching feature is the innovative shell-shaped seats featuring trendily designed, practical zip collection covers on Dynamique models that are easily removed and washable – quite a unique feature. Both Dynamique models have leather bound multi-function steering wheels, with leather seats available as an option.
The Captur’s deep boot is really large. It will swallow 377 litres of luggage in standard configuration, has a false floor that can hide objects, be positioned at 45 degrees to stop your shopping rolling everywhere or be placed on the boot floor to open the entire area. In the two Dynamique models, the boot floor is reversible – smooth on one side with an anti-slide surface on the other.
Conveniently, the rear seat also slides 160 mm forwards to expand the boot to 455 litres using levers in the cabin and in the boot, and can be pushed flat forward to create 1 235 litres of load space.
Inside, the fresh-looking dash plastics are finished in a modern dimple pattern and there’s a large cubby hole in the centre console. With chrome and gloss interior finishes, quality and innovation abound throughout the cabin’s flexible and modular MPV-like layout.
Other standard features include automatic headlights and wipers, rear parking sensors, electric exterior mirrors, electric windows front and rear, keyless entry and ‘walk-away’ locking, push-button start, cruise control and climate controlled air-conditioning.
Also standard is Renault’s MediaNav integrated onboard multimedia system with 7″ touch screen, Satellite navigation and Arkamys radio plus USB port, Bluetooth phone connectivity with all features easily accessed via fingertip controls alongside the steering column. To find all these features in a vehicle at this price-point is a real bonus.
An ECO mode function is available, which at the push of a button electronically modifies the engine’s response to automatically optimise fuel consumption by up to 10%.
The Renault Captur is packed with safety features and achieved a 5-Star Euro NCAP rating in 2013. Passive safety features include four airbags and three ISOFIX 3-point child seat anchor seat attachments including the front passenger seat.
In the braking department, the Captur has vented disc brakes in front and drums at the rear, ABS with EBA and ESP. Also standard is Hill Start Assist, which prevents any backwards movement for pull off without having to use of the handbrake.
The Captur Expression and Dynamique 5-speed manual derivatives are powered by Renault’s new generation 899 cc turbo petrol engine with over boost. Delivering maximum output of 66 kW at 5 250 rpm and peak torque of 135 Nm at 2 500 rpm, it will propel the two models from 0 to 100 km/h in just over 12 seconds and on to a top speed of 171 km/h, with fuel consumption given as an impressive 4.9 litres/100 km’s in the combined cycle and a CO² rating of 113g/km.
The flagship Captur Dynamique EDC with the dual-clutch 6-speed automatic transmission brings to South Africa, Renault’s new 1.2 litre Turbo engine. The new engine makes 88 kW at 4 900 rpm, and peak torque of 190 Nm at 2 000 rpm. According to the spec list, the Dynamique EDC has a top speed of 192 km/h, is said to use just 5.4 litres/100km in combined cycle, although on the test drive we averaged 6.4 litres per 100 km which is still very good, with CO² emissions of 125 g/km.
At the launch for the ride and drive Renault had prepared the flagship Captur Dynamique EDC 1.2 litre turbo models with the dual-clutch 6-speed automatic transmission for us to drive. Seated behind the wheel for the first time, with the multi-adjustable driver’s seat and steering wheel, it was easy to find a comfortable driving position, plus the Captur’s higher seating position provides good all round visibility.
On the road, the Captur delivers effortless performance and the 1.2-litre four-cylinder turbo is a good match with the six-speed dual-clutch auto transmission. The small thick-rimmed leather covered steering wheel feels good to hold and the electric power steering, although on the light side, is excellent, accurate and consistent.
On fast take off the auto-transmission hesitates at first, but once moving it gains speed quite rapidly and runs smoothly right up to the redline on the tach. The motor has the legs to power the crossover up twisty hills, and will select a gear appropriate to the climb, then runs quietly on the freeways.
Like Renault models of the past, the long-travel suspension soaks up the bumps very efficiently and was especially good on the gravel roads we covered on the test drive. Also, the handling and road holding on the gravel was most impressive.
On the tar, while it does allow a small degree of body-roll, it clings tenaciously to the road, and on a winding road, the Captur four-cylinder auto is quite fun to push quickly through corners. I didn’t expect such a good ride from this compact, competitively priced package.
For overtaking, the EDC twin-clutch box is not as rapid as some of the opposition, but it’s still fairly quick and changes down pre-emptively when slowing for corners, putting the right gear underfoot. Also in an emergency stop from high speed, stomping hard on the pedal and the powerful braking system brought the Captur to a stop in seconds.
I enjoyed driving the Captur, enough to be convinced that it brings a welcome breeze into this popular market segment. The recommended retail prices at launch are R219 900 for the Renault Captur 66 kW Expression, R239 900 for the Captur 66 kW Dynamique and R279 900 for the 88 kW EDC Dynamique. Prices include a 5-year/150 000 km mechanical warranty; a 3-year / 45 000 km service plan and a 6-year anti-corrosion warranty with service intervals at 15 000 km or 1 year.