The Renault Captur, the sister car to the Nissan Juke, offers an appealing ownership package especially after its mid-life facelift, but it isn't the last word in driving engagement

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Its manufacturer describes the Renault Renault Captur ‘an urban crossover’, though in industry parlance it’s a ‘B-segment crossover’.

In the flesh, the Renault is certainly an eye-catching car. Go for the duo-tone roof and body option and the car stands out even more, partly because the contrasting colour extends to the A-pillars. It's all the more striking with the exterior trim Gloss Pack fitted around the fog lights and to the sills and grille.

The Captur is pleasant, cheerful, undemanding and potentially very frugal

And that eye-catchiness, has certainly paid dividends in the market, with Renault shifting more than 215,600 Capturs in 2016, making it Europe's best-selling B-segment crossover ahead of the Kia Soul and sibling the Nissan Juke. So significant its success, that Vauxhall, Kia and Volkswagen are all eyeing a piece of Renault's pie, however the French manufacturer refuses to sit still and has updated the small crossover for 2017.

Capturing the small Renault's vibe

The Renault Captur facelift offer two new colours and one roof colour to the range, while external changes were largely limited to a new front end resembling its bigger brother Renault Kadjar and sharing C-shaped LED day-running lights similar to the Renault Megané

The largest change was the increase in standard equipment across the board over the outgoing model. There are still five trims to choose from - Expression+, Dynamique Nav, Dynamique S Nav, Signature X Nav and Signature S Nav.

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Entry-level models get 16in alloys, electrically adjustable and heated wing mirrors, LED front fog lights, tinted rear windows, hill start assist, cruise control, and auto lights and wipers as standard on the outside, while inside there is air conditioning, height adjustable driver's seat, electric windows and keyless ignition.

Upgrade to Dynamique Nav and you'll find luxuries such as 17in alloy wheels, climate control, chrome interior trim and Renault's MediaNav infotainment system complete with sat nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and a 7.0in touchscreen display. Those wanting a bit more tech are well catered for with the Renault Captur Dynamique S Nav trim, which adds rear parking sensors, automatic folding door mirrors and full LED lights to the package.

Topping the range are the Renault Captur Signature X Nav and Signature S Nav trims. The former includes front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, an advanced traction control system, heated front seats, a leather upholstery and Renault's R-Link infotainment system complete TomTom-powered sat nav with live updates and European mapping. The Renault Captur S Nav derivative includes much the same minus the traction control system and includes blind spot monitoring, hands-free parking system, a part Nappa leather upholstery and a Bose stereo system.

The Captur is based on the same platform as the out-going Renualt Clio estate, although it has been modified with a wider track. It is quite compact, measuring just 4.1m in length and 1.53m high, including a useful 200mm of ground clearance. The decent 2.6m-long wheelbase works with a 60/40 split rear bench seat that also slides to allow up to 215mm of kneeroom. 

Getting the Renault Captur out on the road

Inside, the fresh-looking dash plastics are finished in a modern dimple pattern and there are some usefully deep cubby holes in the centre console. Renault has also patented the removable seat covers.

With the sliding rear seat set right back, you get a reasonable 377-litre boot, extending to a healthy 455 litres with the bench slid fully forward. There’s also a double-sided (carpet and rubber) hard boot floor that splits the rear luggage space and creates a substantial – and hidden – storage space.

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Renault offers the Captur with its sweet and punchy small petrol turbo engine, which drives through a six-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic gearbox. The 118bhp unit has the legs for twisting hill roads while proving to be very smooth on the motorways. The engine is a good match for the company’s new dual-clutch ’box, which was almost complete viceless unless you stamped on the accelerator.

The 108bhp dCi diesel engine is impressively refined, although it becomes vocal in town on a trailing throttle and on long uphill roads, the driver needs to stay on the ball and drop down a ratio to keep the car’s speed up. It can manage a relaxed relaxed 12.6sec 0-62mph time but the upside is a claimed combined economy of 76.4mpg, which should mean nearly 60mpg in the real world. There is also a three-cylinder, turbocharged 0.9-litre unit with 88bhp propping up the range and a 108bhp 1.5-litre oilburner completing the engine line-up.

Certainly, the Captur isn't going to whet the appetite of the keen driver. It has lightly weighted controls and is easy to punt around. That said, it could be made to flow along rather nicely on A-roads.

However, the Captur's biggest flaw is its ride quality on ruinous surfaces, it would glide along on smooth roads, on patches of typical A-roads, where it encountered broken surfaces, the wheels crashed and pattered to a surprising degree.

The Captur is very much a style and lifestyle statement. You'll find similar interior versatility in an MPV, but the Captur is much more about showmanship and the ability to completely customise the car inside.

Buyers are also given some strong practical reasons to buy the car. Renault offers a comprehensive ownership package including a four-year warranty, four years' servicing and four years’ roadside cover. 

Overall, the Renault Captur is not a captivating driving experience, but that’s not the point. Its style, freshness, value (compared to, say, Mini’s line-up) and overall buying package should ensure that it remains a sales success.


Renault Captur 2013-2019 First drives