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.
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.