Renault Captur SUV - Engines, drive & performance
Supple suspension serves up a relaxing ride
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.
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 are two engines if you go for a petrol, and it’s the 1.0-litre that’s likely to be most popular in the UK. This is a three-cylinder turbo engine with 99bhp, while above it there’s a 1.3-litre turbo with 138bhp, while a 153bhp version has now been discontinued.
The 1.0-litre is economical, but it also feels rather slow, taking 14 seconds to get from 0-62mph - a figure that's higher than most rivals. 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.
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 128bhp engine has plenty of power for most Captur drivers. With this engine, 0-62mph is dispatched in 10.6 seconds (9.6 with the EDC automatic) and the Captur feels more competent and refined.
A 138bhp version of the same 1.3-litre petrol engine has now replaced both of them. When fitted with the optional EDC automatic gearbox, it is the fastest of the standard Captur line-up, covering 0-62mph in 9.2 seconds.
The entry-level petrol comes with just a manual gearbox, while the 138bhp 1.3-litre can be manual or automatic and the hybrid models are auto only. The six-speed manual is easy to shift but lacks the precision of the gearbox in the Mazda CX-30 or Honda HR-V, 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.
A 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine has been offered but is no longer offered. 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.
For the first time, Renault is offering a plug-in hybrid version of the Captur. This combines a 1.6-litre petrol engine, an electric motor and a 9.8kWh battery pack with an automatic gearbox. Badged ‘E-Tech’, it 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 Capturs.
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 hybrid Renault Clio E-Tech. Its handling is reassuring, with accurate steering and a fairly smooth ride.
There are now two Capturs with E-Tech badges, but only one needs to be plugged in. The E-Tech Hybrid uses the same powertrain as the Clio hybrid, but has a smaller battery that is recharged by the petrol engine. You won’t get the same electric range but it’s cheaper to buy and still inexpensive to run.