From £15,7357

Renault’s market-leading crossover supermini is back in more sophisticated second-generation form

The first-generation Renault Captur was one of those uncommon, enduringly successful cars. The Renault managed to find more buyers in its final year of production than during its first.

Surprised? We were. We liked the original Renault Captur of 2013 because it was undemanding to drive, attractive to look at, decently frugal if you went for the right engine and generally more mature than the Nissan Juke, which lit the touchpaper for this sort of car but has always been a highly divisive product. But we didn’t like the Captur that much, its poor body control, light steering and a remote driving experience in general blotting its copybook.

As is the trend on all new Renaults, an oversized ‘lozenge’ badge dominates the Captur’s gently restyled front grille. Chrome brightwork lends it an appealingly upmarket appearance.

No, the reason this car can boast about that sort of sales statistic is because that sort of sales statistic is indicative of a rapidly and inexorably growing class, which the B-segment SUV – small crossovers, in other words – continues to be and in which the Captur’s mix of style and value made it particularly successful.

Which is why we now have the second-generation Captur. Unlike the original, whose only true rival was the Juke, this one will enter a pool teeming with strong alternatives, including the new Ford Puma, Volkswagen T-Cross and Peugeot 2008.

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Renault has not simply refreshed this car’s aesthetic, though. The Mk2 Captur is built on the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance’s new supermini platform and has been engineered from the start to take hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains, although traditional options will persevere alongside those low-carbon options for the foreseeable future. The car is substantially longer than before, too, with an enlarged interior that hints at the same uplift in comfort and opulence seen in the latest Renault Clio, with which the new Captur shares so much hardware. This platform also ushers in a suite of driver assistance systems reserved until very recently for larger, more expensive cars, and its increased stiffness in theory paves the way for improved road manners.

In other words, Europe’s bestselling small crossover by far might just have become even harder to beat as an all-rounder. We’ll now discover whether any incoming sales records are truly deserved.

Renault Captur design & styling

The original Captur shared its underpinnings with the contemporary Clio and that is still the case here, although this 85%-new CMF-B platform is substantially more advanced than its predecessor.

It can facilitate modern safety and assistance systems and can house a broad range of powertrains, including those with substantial battery packs. Engine insulation is also said to have improved noticeably, despite the platform weighing 50kg less than its predecessor. More weight has been saved by using an aluminium bonnet and a composite bootlid.

At its launch, the Captur will be offered with three petrol turbo engines and two diesels, all of which are new. The entry point is a 1.0-litre TCe petrol triple with a respectable 99bhp and 118lb ft, although a four-cylinder petrol is available with either 129bhp or 153bhp and as much as 199lb ft. The diesel options, both powered by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine, develop either 94bhp or 113bhp, and each touts the best fuel economy of the traditional options, at 58.9mpg combined. However, when the 158bhp Captur E-Tech arrives (for which 150 patents were registered), with its two electric motors, dogclutch gearbox, 9.8kWh battery and 29 WLTP miles of electric range, it will become the first plug-in hybrid available in this class and will head the range for spec-sheet efficiency.

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Our test car comes in 129bhp 130 TCe trim and with an optional seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox in place of the standard-fit six-speed manual.

The Captur has grown considerably in length – by 110mm, with the wheelbase accounting for 20mm of that. It is also taller and wider than the car it replaces and will be one of the largest cars in the class. The design itself, with its ‘floating’ roof, is an evolution of the original (which, for the record, was one of the first cars of its kind with a floating roof), although every body panel is new and the belt line higher.

Beneath the body, the suspension is carried over from the Clio, with a torsion beam at the rear and pseudo-MacPherson struts (in which a lower wishbone is fitted and the anti-roll bar done away with) at the front. Wheel sizes range from 16in to 18in.

The Renault Captur line-up at a glance

Renault offers plenty of choice on engines and, with rivals having phased out diesels and limiting choice on power much more, that could be a selling point for the car.

The UK range is kept very simple, with three equipment levels (Play, Iconic and S Edition) mirroring Renault’s offering on other models. A Launch Edition model is available for a limited time as well.

Price £23,395 Power 129bhp Torque 177lb ft 0-60mph 9.4sec 30-70mph in fourth 11.3sec Fuel economy 39.8mpg CO2 emissions 124g/km 70-0mph 46.3m

Renault Captur First drives