By Bill McCarthy
Even the best things must evolve and Renault’s top-selling first crossover/compact SUV Captur has been completely refreshed, offering a more premium finish, efficient engines and a new five-year warranty.
Like its predecessor, it is a good looking car with a wide choice of engines, including a new plug-in hybrid, which deliver good economy and is both practical and surprisingly refined for this type of vehicle.
There are three trim levels, including Play, Iconic and S Edition, driven here, and a choice of three petrol, two diesel, plus the plug-in hybrid engine. Starting at just over £19k, offer an attractive package.
Based on the firm’s CMF-B platform, (Common Module Family) which is shares with the Clio, it comprises 85 per cent new parts compared with the previous-generation and is longer than before by 110mm.
In true SUV style it offers a hint of ruggedness with rear protection skid plates, protective mouldings that run the length of the lower body and the prominent wheel arch extensions.
It is also very well equipped for the price, with even the entry level model offering high levels of kit including smart alloys, cruise control, a split-folding and sliding rear bench seat, stability and traction control, electric windows front and rear and electrically adjustable door mirrors.
It has slightly curvaceous appearance, while the large diamond Renault badge, which dominates the grille, separates neat LED light clusters, which are standard across the range. The trademark C-Shape daylight running light signatures remain, while the base of the doors are shaped to prevent shoes or clothing being soiled when getting in or out.
The interior is a big leap forward on the previous model, with the layout angled towards the driver. It is what Renault call the ‘smart cockpit’ and is dominated by a 9.3-inch tablet style touch screen, which is effectively the brains of the car, with the EASY LINK multimedia platform featuring Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and 4G connectivity.
It now features a ‘floating’ centre console for better access to the gear change and more storage space which features a wireless smartphone charging pad. In general, the interior has a much more premium feel, solidly built, with good quality soft touch to dash and doors.
It is practical and spacious enough to accommodate four people in comfort, but for a fifth it is much tighter, despite the extra 17mm of legroom and the sliding rear bench seat which can also be folded down in a 1/3 or 2/3 pattern. Headroom to the rear is also not that great however, but boot capacity has been increased by a significant 81 litres, up to an impressive 536 litres.
A moveable boot floor to split the payload over two levels adds to the practicality, as do a number of bottle holders, pockets and container bins throughout the cabin.
This model featured the relatively small, but pretty powerful 1.3 litre petrol engine. It is a refined unit with 130 hp and 240 Nm of torque on tap, but still delivering real world fuel consumption figures of more than 44 mpg. The torque gives extra grunt when overtaking on the motorway and the vehicle is a refined cruiser.
It’s quick enough, hitting 60mph in just over 10 seconds. This model was mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, it’s also available with a new 7-speed EDC dual-clutch gearbox that features steering-wheel mounted gearshift paddles.
It also handles well, taking sharp bends with ease and never feeling unsettled, even on the roughest roads despite its higher stance.
Renaults have always been one of the safest brands and the Captur offers a comprehensive range of safety kit, including on this model a 360° camera and active emergency braking with cyclist and pedestrian detection.
Adaptive cruise control is available as is traffic sign recognition, alert is also included, as is cruise control with speed limiter function. Automatic high beam functionality is also available with the standard LED headlamps, while six airbags, hill start, ABS braking, Isofix child anchors and stability programme help to achieve five stars in the Euro NCAP tests.
An impressive evolution from Renault with a top selling model and don’t forget the latest five-year warranty for peace of mind.
Renault Captur S Edition TCe 130
Mechanical: 130bhp, 1,333cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via six-speed manual gearbox
Max speed: 121mph
0-60mph: 10.6 seconds
Combined mpg: 44.1
Insurance group: 14E
CO2 emissions: 127g/km
Warranty: 5yrs/100,000 miles