2016 Renault Captur Dynamique TCe 120 Road Test and Review.
The 2016 Renault Captur is charming, engaging and ever so functional.
Renault’s entrant into the fastest growing segment in the Australian automotive market is a convincing one. Built to tackle an onslaught of Crossovers (Mini SUV’s) from pretty much every manufacturer in town,
Aimed at the younger end of town, Renault has taken cues from the folks at MINI offering a host of options to personalise the Captur, helping to reinforce a real ownership of the car, and at the same time, cement those younger buyers to the Renault brand.
It’s as cute as a button from the outside, the test car coming in a stylish Ivory with Black roof, some great daytime running lights and attractive 17″ “Explore” alloy wheels.
The seats in the Renault Captur are big and comfortable; the driving position has you up high with a commanding view, only occasionally hindered by the big swoopy A-Pillars.
The dash is functional and logical with a big central screen dominating the dash. A reasonably high-resolution screen displays the standard reverse camera, standard sat-nav, audio and climate controls.
The instrument cluster is unlike anything else in its layout, but everything you need is there. Trip computer, speedo, tacho and a function to display messages.
The cruise control is operated via steering wheel mounted buttons, on either side of the wheel. I need to admit it took a couple of days to figure out the button on the right hand side of the wheel labeled R and O is actually associated with the cruise control.
To flip between cruise and speed limiting functions you need to look to the centre console near the hand brake for that switch, while the volume controls and telephone answer and reject button are hidden behind the steering wheel. They work just fine…once you find them.
It’s reasonably airy up front, the back seats however are a bit snug and rear headroom is OK, as long as you’re not too tall. There’s plenty of room in the cargo area.
The big surprise is the engine. It punts along nicely propelling the 1200kg + Captur with relative ease. It’s happy to rev smoothly to the red line, and the spread of torque makes it really useable, available from 2000rpm.
The surprise is the capacity…it easily feels like a 1.6 litre, maybe even a 2.0 litre.
In fact, it is a 1.2 litre turbo producing 88kW and 190Nm.
It’s hooked up to a dual-clutch automatic gearbox that unlike a lot of other dual-clutch gearboxes is brilliant at low speeds, devoid of the usual lurching around while reversing up your driveway or negotiating tiny city car parks.
It’s not the most decisive unit when you bury the right foot for an overtaking move, but there are many worse examples of this technology on the market.
As a “crossover” the Renault Captur isn’t entirely sure whether it’s an SUV, MPV or jacked up Clio hatch (the car it’s based on).
Whatever it is, the high ride position, while great for visibility, lets down the dynamics. That said, it’s as competent as anything else in the segment.
There’s a little body roll when you change directions quickly, the steering provides some feedback even though it is a little on the light side. The ride is compliant, noise levels could be better, but it’s not intrusive.
Fuel economy wasn’t quite up to the standard I would have expected from a 1.2 litre engine, although I never did attempt an economy run. Renault claims 5.4 litres of premium unleaded per 100km…the best I saw was 7.3 litres, still a respectable figure.
The Renault Captur has a achieved a full five-star ANCAP safety rating.
Renault Captur Dynamique TCe 120 is the top of the range priced at $30,000. As tested with the optional metallic two-tone paint and leather seats the price jumps to $32,290 before on road costs. It’s sharply priced against its competitors.
If you’re keen to jump into the increasingly popular small SUV, or Crossover, or pumped up hatchback segment, you have a huge range to choose from.
While there are a lot of cars to choose from in this segment, some are genuinely worthy competitors to the Captur, many however are not. Just be sure to drive the Renault.