The Captur gets off to a good start in this section simply by being more natural-feeling and intuitive in its handling than a great many of its crossover-class rivals.

Instead of doing some doomed impression of a bigger, softer-sprung SUV, or setting out to deny its raised ride height entirely and pretending it’s a warm hatchback, the Captur is an agreeable moderate. It’s got medium-paced steering with progressive on-centre response that makes it easy to guide along the road, and moderately sprung suspension that, while probably placing it towards the sportier end of the class’s dynamic spectrum, simply makes for good body control and fairly clean, crisp chassis response.

Each transmission bump elicits quite a nasty thwack from the rear axle, although the electronics ensure stability is maintained under lateral load.

There’s a little bit of weight in the steering, but only just enough to push against and feel reassured by. By and large, the car goes where you point it with a pleasing sense of accuracy and linearity; is predictable in most respects; maintains good vertical control of its mass, even at speed; and is governed by stability and traction control electronics that, while always on, intervene discreetly enough so as not to intrude.

Dynamic qualities such as these may seem fairly elementary but they’re not common among a lot of the Captur’s rivals, whose softened, jacked-up suspension and over-assisted controls can make for quite an unintuitive driving experience by comparison.

The Captur’s lateral body control is good, and it avoids the tendency to tumble quickly onto its outside wheels that can afflict cars of this type and make them feel a little unsteady on turn-in. Even on optional 18in wheels, it doesn’t have much in the way of handling agility or a particularly high outright grip level, though, and it stops some way short of conjuring lasting driver appeal.

The Captur is plainly one of the better-handling cars of its ilk yet it still isn’t one an interested driver would really seek out and it stops a way short of engaging its driver when driven quickly.

Like the related Clio, the Captur steers with an intuitive pace and weight that’s well matched to the rate of handling response of its chassis and that makes it easy to place in corners. With the vast majority of drivers in mind, that’s as it should be – although the car’s grip level is pretty ordinary and its outright agility likewise; and while that grip level is quite nicely balanced and the chassis seems potentially playful at first, the non-switchable stability and traction controls wield an ultimately suffocating hand.

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The suspension prefers smoother surfaces to broken and uneven ones, riding bumps in a slightly wooden and brittle fashion that would make it less than ideally suited to quicker cross-country driving.

COMFORT AND ISOLATION

In a similar fashion to its Mk5 Clio sibling, the Captur’s ride seems to have lost some of the easy-going fluency of its immediate predecessor.

Its vertical body movements now feel as though they’re being monitored far more closely than before, which admittedly makes for a usefully taut primary ride when travelling quickly on rolling stretches of road.

However, the by-product of this additional control is a firm, slightly brittle town ride. The car frequently shudders and trips its way over poorly maintained surfaces, all the while transferring a considerable amount of suspension thump back into the cabin. The Ford Puma and Volkswagen T-Cross both do a considerably better job of isolating their occupants from these sorts of intrusions, although the larger 18in alloys that had been optionally fitted to our test car wouldn’t have played to the Captur’s favour.

Nevertheless, the driving position is generally pretty good (slight lack of headspace aside), thanks to abundant adjustability in the steering column and seat base. The seats themselves err on the softer side of things but provide decent enough support over lengthier drives.

There is a bit of notable wind and road noise at motorway speeds, but not enough to warrant particular criticism. At a 70mph cruise, our microphone returned a reading of 67dB, which is actually quieter than the 70dB we measured in the 94bhp Seat Arona back in 2017.

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