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
- Slow TCe 90 petrol engine
- 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. It was bigger than the Renault Clio it was based on, but not much more expensive to buy or run. 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; it has few rivals at a similar size or price.
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.
Renault’s showrooms are full of sleek looking machinery, and the launch of the new Renault Arkana means that the Captur might have a stylish rival from within. Some parts are shared between the two cars but the Arkana is slightly bigger and swoopier, sitting below the Kadjar in the brand’s SUV line-up.
Materials have jumped up in quality inside the Captur, with squidgy materials replacing most hard plastics and faux leather in S Edition versions. Analogue instrument dials can be replaced with a sharp 10-inch display, while the infotainment screen is slick and features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. The upgraded portrait-oriented infotainment system looks like something you might find in a Mercedes or something similarly premium. Some other surprising features include adaptive cruise control and a suite of driver aids that can steer and accelerate the car in traffic.
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 422 and 536 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 are offered, along with a plug-in hybrid Captur E-Tech that joined the range in mid-2020. Two diesel engines have also been offered in the past, but now they’ve been replaced by a second hybrid engine, which you can also get in the Renault Clio. With 99bhp, the 1.0-litre petrol will be popular and comes with a manual gearbox, while the 138bhp 1.3-litre comes with the choice of manual or automatic. This engine equipped with the auto gearbox is the fastest Captur in the range, managing 0-62mph in 9.2 seconds. The old range-topping 153bhp petrol has now also been discontinued.
The new E-Tech hybrid offers diesel-like fuel efficiency, while the E-Tech plug-in hybrid (they’re two quite different options despite the same name) has a pure-electric range of around 30 miles, helping it achieve an official CO2 emissions rating of just 34-36g/km. This will help it appeal to business drivers, but at just over £30,000, the plug-in hybrid is 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.