It seems like every car maker offers a small SUV these days, but Renault was among the first with its Captur in 2013. Essentially, what we have here is a Clio with a higher driving position, smart styling and a big boot, not that the formula doesn’t work: Renault beat all of its competitors for European sales in 2016.
To keep the Captur fresh amongst newer rivals Renault updated the Captur in 2017 with mildly revised exterior styling and some higher quality interior finishes. The petrol and diesel engine line-up remains unchanged, as does the very stiff competition which includes the Mazda CX-3, Vauxhall Crossland X, Nissan Juke, Suzuki Vitara and Peugeot 2008 among others.Space 7/10
Flexible rear seating is a neat touch
What sets the Captur out from most of its rivals is that its rear seats are mounted on runners so that you can trade rear legroom for extra boot space. Set in the rearmost position there’s just enough legroom for taller passengers, but it’s still overly cosy to sit three abreast. Headroom is, however, ample.
A Vauxhall Crossland X has a bigger boot unless you slide the Captur’s rear seats all the way forwards. Having said that, the Renault is still roomy enough to house most baby buggies and the adjustable boot floor that lets you divide the space in two and raise the load level is also a neat touch.
Although the Captur doesn’t feel much more spacious than a Clio in the front, it’s still roomy enough for a couple of adults not to feel cramped. However, in-car storage is a little disappointing, with the glovebox particularly small.Comfort 6/10
Not perfect, but fine on shorter journeys
Regardless of whether you have 16- or 17-inch wheels the Captur’s suspension is at its best at town speeds, where it deals with potholes better than most rivals and generally feels quite soft and comfortable. Up the pace and things aren’t so good, with the Captur bouncing you around on poorly surfaced roads. Throw in slightly overly soft seats and it means that Renault’s smallest SUV isn’t a perfect companion for longer journeys.
The three available engines (two petrol, one diesel) are fairly quiet, with the diesel in particular being quite smooth for a small SUV. There is some wind noise and road at speed, but less so than in a Nissan Juke or Vauxhall Crossland X.Dashboard layout 6/10
Controls are more user-friendly in pricier versions
Opt for an entry-level Expression+ Captur and you have to make do with a fairly fiddly infotainment system. Move just one model up the range and you instead get a more user-friendly 7-inch touchscreen that also happens to make the Captur’s interior look much smarter. True, the menu system isn’t always entirely logical and some of the icons you need to press are rather small, but it’s still a better system than you’ll find in a Ford Ecosport. Smartphone users should note that while Android Auto features on higher-spec models, the Captur is not available with Apple Carplay.
Other than this, the Captur’s dashboard - and indeed its whole interior - feels trendy if not terribly upmarket in terms of soft-touch materials. The removable and washable seat covers on some models are a neat touch for young families though.Book a free Renault Captur home test drive
Easy to drive 7/10
At home in town driving
One of the reasons people buy small SUVs is for the raised driving position that gives a more commanding view of the road than you find in a normal car. The Captur doesn’t disappoint in this regard, yet because it is also relatively compact and has light steering it is still easy to drive in a busy urban environment.
Renault’s optional automatic is available on the more powerful 1.2-litre petrol engine, but it’s a rather hesitant unit which soon becomes frustrating. The view out of the back isn’t great when parking either, so rear parking sensors are a sensible idea.
The weakest engine is a turbocharged 0.9-litre petrol that’s best reserved for those who do mainly town driving. Even the strong 1.2-litre petrol engine can feel a little flat at low revs, but the 1.5-litre diesel is strong enough.Fun to drive 6/10
Composed enough in the bends
The Captur is competent enough when driven quickly; the steering is direct but lacks feedback, the body doesn’t lean over too heavily in corners and there’s enough grip for you to feel in control.
Having said all that, a Mazda CX-3 still runs rings around it for driver enjoyment, being much keener to change direction and having more responsive engines and a much better gear change than the Renault’s sometimes vague effort.Reliability 7/10
Four-year warranty is reassuring
Renault’s performance in the 2016 JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study wasn’t exactly shining, but nor was it terrible – it finished in the middle of the table, behind Ford, Volkswagen and Vauxhall, but ahead of Audi and Volvo.
The company’s warranty, however, is better than average; you get four years or 100,000 miles of cover on your Captur, as well as four years of breakdown assistance. That’s better than the three-year, 60,000-mile warranty you get with a Nissan Juke, if still behind the seven-year warranty that comes with a Kia Soul.Fuel economy 8/10
More efficient than most cars of this sort
The most efficient diesel Captur averages almost 79mpg in official Government tests. And while 56mpg is more realistic in the real world, that’s still more than you’re likely to get out of any version of the Nissan Juke, and only marginally behind the most frugal Mazda CX-3.
The petrol engines are also pretty efficient, if again falling behind Mazda’s contender in this class; you should average about 40mpg if you drive a petrol Captur with a manual gearbox, or 35mpg for the automatic.
Cheaper than many rivals
Renault would love for you to believe the Captur outsells all other similarly sized SUVs in Europe simply because it’s the best of the bunch, but actually price plays a factor too. That’s because the Captur is among the cheaper small SUVs to buy or lease, albeit still not as tempting as a Suzuki Vitara.
What’s more, it holds on to its value pretty well so will be worth a reasonable amount if you decide to sell it on after three years, and servicing costs are reasonable, particularly if you opt for one of Renault’s fixed-price plans.Safety 7/10
Performed well in tests, but misses some key equipment
The Captur comes with six airbags, including two that run the length of the car at window level, helping it to earn a five-star rating in Euro NCAP’s crash tests.
However, it’s odd that blind spot monitors should be an option, but not any form of autonomous emergency braking. The latter, which helps prevent front into rear impacts by automatically applying the brakes if the driver fails to react to a warning, is available on many of the Captur’s rivals. Similarly, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control are notable by their absence.
Standard spec 8/10
No weak spot in the range
The cheapest Captur is the Expression+, which comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, DAB, a Bluetooth hands-free phone connection and a USB socket that lets you connect your iPod to the stereo.
The Dynamique Nav version adds 17-inch alloys, climate control and a 7-inch touchscreen satnav system, while the Dynamique S Nav also has rear parking sensors, a leather steering wheel, driver’s armrest and power folding wing mirrors.
From here there’s a Signature X Nav model with all-season tyres and a grip control system that is intended to make the Captur more suited to light off-roading, or a Signature S Nav with blind spot warning, a reversing camera, hands-free parking assist and heated part-leather seats.Our favourite version
0.9 TCe 90 Dynamique Nav, list price £16,905
Options you should add: Metallic paint (£550) space-saver spare wheel (£110), rear parking sensors (£215), automatic folding door mirrors (£20)
The verdict 6/10
The Renault Captur might be one of the older designs of small SUV, and its 2017 refresh doesn’t actually change it very much, but it’s still an appealing car. For that you can thank its roomy interior, attractive pricing and low running costs, plus the fact it is decent to drive, if not outstanding in any particular area.
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