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In-depth reviews

Renault Captur SUV - Engines, drive & performance

Supple suspension serves up a relaxing ride

Carbuyer Rating

4.3 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Engines, drive & performance Rating

4.0 out of 5

While many cars are gradually tweaked and improved, the Captur is genuinely all-new this time and now sits on the same underpinnings as the latest Renault Clio. So, despite being slightly larger, the Captur is also lighter and has a stiffer structure; two factors that add up to vastly improve the way it drives. Interior refinement, how well it absorbs bumps and the precision of its steering have all improved too.

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Unlike many rivals that are set up to feel very sporty, Renault has also been content to give the Captur soft suspension to boost relaxation. There’s a fair bit of body lean if you drive enthusiastically, but the car never feels as if it’s really wallowing. Its steering is very precise, making the latest Captur easier to thread along a narrow lane.

Renault Captur petrol engines

There’s now just one petrol engine available for the Captur, and it’s the 1.0-litre TCe – a three-cylinder turbo engine with 89bhp. There used to be a 1.3-litre turbo with 138bhp above it, as well as a 153bhp version, but both have now been discontinued.

The 1.0-litre is economical, but it also feels rather slow, taking 14 seconds to get from 0-62mph. A 99bhp 1.0-litre petrol Hyundai Bayon takes 10.7 seconds to hit the same speed, and that’ll feel noticeably quicker. On the motorway the Captur TCe requires plenty of revs and sometimes a lower gear to pass slower traffic, but the six-speed manual gearbox is good to use.

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We’ve tested both versions of the 1.3-litre and could see little reason to choose the top version, so we're unsurprised it's no longer available. The 138bhp engine had plenty of power for most Captur drivers, though, and was our pick of the range, so it’s a shame to see it go. With this engine, 0-62mph is dispatched in 10.3 seconds and the Captur feels more competent and refined.

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The 1.0-litre petrol comes solely with a manual gearbox, while the hybrid model is auto-only. The six-speed manual is easy to shift but lacks the precision of the gearbox in the Mazda CX-30, while the automatic is mostly smooth in town but it can be sluggish when pulling away from junctions or roundabouts; it can hesitate to change into a lower gear when required.

Diesel engines

A 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine was previously offered but was discontinued. It was a predictably niche choice compared with the petrol but it should suit higher mileage drivers and those who spend a long time on the motorway.

Hybrid engines

There is now just one Captur with an E-Tech badge, as the plug-in hybrid version was discontinued. The self-charging E-Tech Hybrid uses the same powertrain as the Renault Clio Hybrid, but has a smaller battery that is recharged by the petrol engine. You won’t get the same electric range as a plug-in, but it was always cheaper to buy, inexpensive to run and you don’t need to get a wallbox charger to keep it topped up.

The E-Tech Hybrid has a power rating of 138bhp from a 1.6-litre engine paired with a self-charging electric motor and is capable of a 0-62mph time of 10.6 seconds. This comes exclusively with an automatic gearbox.

For a limited time, Renault offered a plug-in hybrid version of the Captur E-Tech. This combined a 1.6-litre petrol engine, an electric motor and a 9.8kWh battery pack with an automatic gearbox. The plug-in can be driven in its fully electric mode at speeds of up to 83mph and takes 10.1 seconds to accelerate from 0-62mph, thanks to its combined 158bhp. While it's the most powerful Captur, this doesn't necessarily mean it always feels the fastest because it weighs around 400kg more than the lightest petrol models.

Pulling away silently helps the Captur E-Tech PHEV feel more upmarket than the regular model, and its six-speed automatic does a fairly good job of smooth gear changes. However, there's a more noticeable switch between electric and petrol power than in the Renault Clio E-Tech. Its handling is reassuring, with accurate steering and a fairly smooth ride. It’s unclear whether the plug-in hybrid will make a comeback following the arrival of a facelifted model in 2024.

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Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

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