Renault Captur 2015 Review
Peter Barnwell road tests and reviews the Renault Captur SUV ahead of its arrival in Australian showrooms.
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We never warmed to the Mini Countryman and can't nail the reason why. Perhaps it's too big for a Mini, too puffed up, plain ugly.
Whatever the reason, it's not on our wish list but drive it we did last week - the Cooper S automatic front-wheel drive version with a few options (of which there are too many).
It comes in at $45,000 plus on roads which is a fair old ask for a small SUV-style vehicle, albeit one pitched by Mini as a 'premium' model.
They pushed a Mini out in all directions to make Countryman, and it looks a bit like a fish at the front.
That's offset by some deft add-ons like roof rails and other body add-ons plus the green colour is a stand out. The inside is excellent in every way, looks, style and function.
ENGINE / TRANSMISSION
Mechanical revisions earlier this year brought more kit and a more powerful 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine. It's the very excellent PSA/BMW engine in this case with 140kW/240Nm hooked up to the front wheels via a six-speed conventional automatic transmission.
In this guise, the Countryman is capable of sipping premium unleaded at a claimed 7.8L/100km. The diesel Countryman gets down to nearly half that.
So, they gave Countryman more performance this time around, more refinement (smoother, quieter), more tech and more spec. Some driver assist features are included but more are available as options.
The model tested scores a decent navigation system, 6.5-inch info screen, an upholstery upgrade to leather, better interior fascia materials, round LED daytime driving lights and heated exterior mirrors.
There's a lot more too, including the impressive optional service offer for 70,000km that costs only $850 and a three-year unlimited kilometre warranty.
It's a five-door, five-seater wagon with rear tailgate and a reasonable amount of luggage space.
A Sport button sharpens up the reflexes but fails to make an impact on troublesome torque steer effect that kicks the front wheels off line under hard acceleration - especially over bumps.
But with all that power in a smallish vehicle, the Countryman gets moving rapidly with the slick auto box aiding and abetting.
Sounds good too blatting away through a twin outlet exhaust.
The ride is a good compromise with plenty of feel through the wheel and the ability to smooth out rough roads without jiggling too much.
On the freeway the Countryman whizzes along at the limit without any stress at all. Same around town where the nippy point and squirt nature of the car comes into its own, however the turning circle is too large.
|Cooper S Chilli Red L.E.||1.6L, PULP, 6 SP MAN||$24,100 – 32,670||2014 Mini Countryman 2014 Cooper S Chilli Red L.E. Pricing and Specs|
|Cooper SD Chilli All4||2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$26,500 – 35,090||2014 Mini Countryman 2014 Cooper SD Chilli All4 Pricing and Specs|
|Cooper S Chilli All4||1.6L, PULP, 6 SP MAN||$23,900 – 32,450||2014 Mini Countryman 2014 Cooper S Chilli All4 Pricing and Specs|
|Cooper D Chilli||2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$18,500 – 25,740||2014 Mini Countryman 2014 Cooper D Chilli Pricing and Specs|