In-depth reviews

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 and three power outputs 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 128bhp, while a 153bhp version has now been discontinued.

The 1.0-litre is economical, but it also feels rather slow, taking 13.3 seconds to get from 0-62mph - a figure that's higher than most rivals. On the motorway it requires plenty of revs and sometimes a lower gear to pass slower traffic, but the five-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 is also available in S Edition trim. It comes with an EDC automatic gearbox as standard and 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 128bhp 1.3-litre can be manual or automatic and the top-of-the-range model is auto only. The six-speed manual is easy to shift but lacks the precision of the gearbox in the Mazda CX-3 or Honda HR-V, while the automatic is mostly smooth in town 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 is also offered, and while it’s likely to be fairly niche compared with the petrol, it should suit higher mileage drivers and those who spend a long time on the motorway. This four-cylinder engine produces 94bhp and comes with a six-speed manual gearbox, managing 0-62mph in 14.4 seconds. The dCI 115 diesel engine was discontinued at the end of 2020.

Hybrid engines

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 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.

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