Renault Captur SUV review
“The Renault Captur is one of the crossovers to beat, thanks to low running costs and plenty of style”
- Easy to drive
- Sliding rear bench
- Good value
- Untested reliability
- Imprecise gearbox
- Digital dials cost extra
The second-generation Renault Captur has a big job on its hands because, alongside the Nissan Juke, the original popularised the crossover class. The Captur’s spacious rear seats and generous boot space also helped it win over families; Renault went on to sell 1.5 million examples as a result.
To replace it, Renault has made the Captur slightly bigger inside and out, modernised its design and made it better to drive and sit in. In fact, there are noticeable improvements in every department, so that the Captur remains one of the best, and most sensible, small SUVs to buy. There's even a plug-in hybrid E-Tech version to appeal to business drivers and those looking to shrink their carbon footprint.
Customers loved the look of the first car, so the similarity of the latest Captur is unsurprising. It’s still curvy but also slightly more chiselled, and LED lights are now standard, with a C-shaped design similar to the Renault Megane. Two-tone paintwork remains a trademark look, with 90 combinations possible to help your car stand out.
Materials have jumped up in quality inside, with squidgy materials replacing most hard plastics and faux leather in Edition S versions. Analogue instrument dials can be replaced with a sharp 10-inch display, while the portrait 9.3-inch infotainment screen is slick and features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. Some other surprising features include adaptive cruise control and a suite of driver aids that can steer and accelerate the car in traffic.
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Space inside is abundant, both for passengers and luggage, and you can adapt the balance between the latter thanks to a sliding rear bench. This can move 160mm forwards and backwards to adjust boot space between 536 and 422 litres, even if legroom is almost non-existent with it slid fully forwards.
Shared with the Clio, the Captur’s underpinnings are slightly larger and stiffer than before, improving interior refinement and ride comfort. The suspension is fairly soft, so driving the Captur is more relaxing than more firmly sprung crossovers like the SEAT Arona, even if there’s a bit more body lean if you push the car in corners.
Two petrol engines and two diesels are offered, along with a plug-in hybrid Captur E-Tech that joined the range in mid-2020. With 99bhp, the 1.0-litre petrol will be popular and comes with a manual gearbox, while the 128bhp 1.3-litre gets the option of an automatic, and the range-topping 153bhp petrol has now been discontinued. A 1.5-litre dCi diesel with 113bhp will appeal to motorway drivers, thanks to its 58.9mpg fuel-efficiency figure, which is around 10mpg higher than the petrols. The E-Tech has an electric range of around 30 miles, helping it achieve an official CO2 emissions rating of just 33-36g/km. This will help it appeal to business drivers, but at just over £30,000, it's expensive to purchase outright.
As second-generation models have begun to arrive, the crossover class has become even more competitive, and buyers are spoilt for choice. Some have more interior space, and others, such as the Ford Puma, are sharper to drive, but the Renault Captur sets high standards in many areas, including value for money.