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Brand New Renault Captur

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Save up to $4,075 on a new Renault Captur
Tim O'Brien | Feb 5, 2015 | 7 Comments

What's hot: Spunky style, superior comfortable ride, well-featured and fun at the wheel.
What's not: Interior plastics a bit naff, couldn't match fuel consumption claims.
X-FACTOR: Style in buckets, on-road ‘zing' and a surprisingly roomy interior - the Captur is the early surprise of 2015.

Vehicle style: Small SUV Crossover
Price: from $22,990 - $27,990 (plus on-road costs)

Engines/trans:
TCe 90: 66kW/135Nm 0.9 litre 3cyl | 5spd manual
TCe 120: 88kW/190Nm 1.2 litre 4cyl | 6spd twin-clutch EDC auto
Fuel consumption:
TCe 90 listed: 4.9 l/100km | tested: 7.4 l/100km
TCe 120 listed: 5.4 l/100km | tested: 8.2 l/100km

 

OVERVIEW

No doubt about it, Renault's new Captur crossover SUV is going to win hearts.

Small, upright, and easy on the eye, the Captur has become a bolting global success for Renault since its European launch in 2013.

We've had a two-year wait, but right-hand-drive stocks are apparently strong and this ripe plum has been worth the wait.

Filled with personality, the new Captur is one sweet-driving little SUV. Renault has hatched a good one here.

The two engines on offer, a frugal 0.9 litre and a zesty, also frugal, 1.2 litre, are as impressive in this car as in the equally impressive Clio.

How do such small capacities spin with such balance, and prove so satisfying at the wheel?

Priced right, the Captur is loaded with features - like sat-nav and reversing camera as standard even in the base $22,990 Expression TCe 90.

It's also fun to drive and surprisingly comfortable even on ratty roads.

We found a couple of things that could have been done better, and the coming Mazda CX-3 is going to monster this segment, but you'll be well pleased with your purchase if you settle on a new Captur.

 

THE INTERIOR

The Captur scores points for practicality, extra points again for interior and cargo space, and yet more points for a very strong feature list... but it loses points for a dashboard and cabin plastics that are a bit second-rate.

The problem with a bargain-counter dash is that it's ‘in your face' as a constant reminder and can too easily deflect from all the good bits, like the high-end technologies loaded into this car. (It's exactly the kind of thing Mazda does not do with an interior.)

And the Captur is loaded. Finding a seven-inch touchscreen with sat-nav and rear-view camera at this price-point, standard even to the entry Captur TCe 90 Expression, is a real bonus.

Also, for interior style, the Captur has just the right balance of funk and practicality, and there are lots of smart, thoughtful touches unique to this car.

It can be optioned with blue or orange or other trim-colour highlights, which then become a theme repeated throughout the interior.

In the more upmarket Dynamique model, there are some extra splashes of piano-black and chrome garnishes to lift the quality feel.

Expression or Dynamique, we like the breezy style to the accommodation.

The seats are a bit short in the squab and the driving position has a distinct ‘knees-up' Italian feel to it, but the soft-padding makes them nicely comfortable.

We also love the zip-off washable seat covers. Anyone who has had to clean ice-cream and mashed potato chips, or had to deal with the occasional ‘out-of-stomach-experience' from one or other of the kids, will love this feature.

You can also personalise the interior with a choice of colours and patterns for the zip-off covers. And, in case you're wondering, they zip easily back into place (we tried ‘em out).

The two-level boot is surprisingly spacious for such a small car. Drop the shelf to the floor and it will swallow 377 litres.

Slide the rear seats forward and that rises to 455 litres (and there is still knee-room for rear seat passengers).

Fold the seats flat, and you've got 1235 litres.

Count the cases in this photo (with the rear seats in place). There is ample cargo room there for the Saturday mega-shop or the weekend away, and all tucked under the rear shelf.

 

ON THE ROAD

Engines/trans:
TCe 90: 66kW/135Nm 0.9 litre 3cyl | 5spd manual
TCe 120: 88kW/190Nm 1.2 litre 4cyl | 6spd twin-clutch EDC auto
Performance 0-100km/h:
TCe 90: 13.0 seconds | TCe 120: 10.9 seconds

  • 16-inch alloys (Expression) or 17-inch alloys (Dynamique)
  • Braking: ventilated front discs, rear drums
  • Suspension: front, pseudo McPherson strut, rear torsion-beam

The great strength of the Captur is its superb ride. For such a small car, it is unusually compliant and settled over rough bitumen and rippled tarmac.

Renault has got this absolutely right.

The on-road feel of the Captur hearkens back, in a way, to Renault models of the 70s and 80s - like the R4 and R16 - with a long-travel suspension feel that can soak-up nearly anything a public road can throw at it.

And while it allows a fair degree of body-roll, it clings tenaciously to the tarmac.

Point it at a winding road, and the Captur - both the three cylinder manual, and four-pot auto - can be a bit of fun to row along quickly.

It turns in nicely - there is little weight in the front end - and it would seem untroubled by hollows and broken tarmac. Seriously, I did not expect such a good ride from such a compact, inexpensive package.

The feel at the wheel is very light, and lacking in a little feel for what's happening below, but the Captur is easily placed accurately on the road.

And is just right (you would have to think) for the urban target market of young singles and families.

The two engines on offer are similarly impressive. We enjoy them in the Clio, and we enjoy them here.

The 0.9 litre comes mated exclusively to the five-speed manual, the 1.2 litre ‘four'mated to the EDC twin-clutch auto.

The smaller three-cylinder is slower, natch, but that doesn't mean less fun.

It makes a really nice three-pot burble when given the beans, spins effortlessly to 5000rpm and beyond, and is old-fashioned fun being snicked forward and back through the five-speed box.

In the ‘burbs, it has no trouble running at the head of traffic, and will also sit comfortable at the legal limit on the highway - it's pulling less than 3000rpm at 100km/h.

Overtaking though takes a bit of planning, as there is not a lot to call on once up to speed, and dropping back a cog or two doesn't really advance the cause.

It also has a bit of trouble maintaining speed up long gradients; but don't let this sell it short, this is a surprisingly appealing package.

The 1.2 litre - while also listing reasonably modest power and torque figures - is much more lively on the highway, and you wouldn't think twice about loading up and heading to the snow.

The EDC twin-clutch box is not as rapid as Volkwagen's DSG units, but it's not too bad, and changes down pre-emptively when slowing for corners, putting the right gear underfoot.

Brake feel is good, but the pedals are a tad high and heel-toeing is a tad awkward in the manual (where you kind-of want it, so you can keep the revs up).

We really warmed to this little car. It was just a couple of hundred kilometres at the wheel in each model, but enough to be convinced that the new Captur is a welcome fresh breeze in this rapidly growing sector.

 

TMR VERDICT | OVERALL

The new Renault Captur is a ‘rock solid' four-star buy in this segment. It looks great, you will love the ride, it has a choice of two little jewels of engines under the bonnet, and it's a lot of fun at the wheel.

It has the Trax, EcoSport and Juke bested for driver enjoyment and, arguably, for value.

It also handles exceptionally well.

You can see evidence of a car ‘built to a price': it's there in the unrelenting hard plastic surfaces of the interior. But it's brightened up with a fun design, a nice funky feel, and a bulging feature list.

There are also a whole lot of colour packs - black roof, white roof, orange-this, blue-that - to customise the purchase… you can work that out with your dealer.

Overall, we think Renault is onto a winner here. There is something of a ‘puppy' appeal to the Captur. It will - as we said at the outset - steal a lot of young hearts, and you'll want to bring it home.

It's on sale now. (Better break the news gently to the mutt that he's no longer top dog.)

MORE: Captur News & Reviews | Renault | Compact SUVs

 

PRICING (excludes on-road costs)

  • Captur Expression TCe 90 manual - $22,990
  • Captur Expression TCe 120 auto - $25,990
  • Captur Dynamique TCe 120 auto - $27,990

The Captur comes with a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty and five-years roadside assist.

All models in the Captur range have one-year/15,000km servicing intervals.

Renault's Capped Price Servicing program applies, with the first three services capped at $299 each.

Save up to $4,075 on a new Renault Captur
Get the best deal on this car!
Get a great deal from our national accredited supply network. Fill in the form or call 1300 438 639
 
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