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Renault Captur 2015 review

EXPERT RATING
7
It's all about the look with the Renault Captur, from the optional two-tone exterior styling to the dimpled surfaces, coloured zippers and bright plastic highlights in the cabin. But there's a method behind the interior-designer madness. The surfaces will be easy to wipe down, which will endear them to parents with

It's all about the look with the Renault Captur, from the optional two-tone exterior styling to the dimpled surfaces, coloured zippers and bright plastic highlights in the cabin.
But there's a method behind the interior-designer madness.

The surfaces will be easy to wipe down, which will endear them to parents with young kids and 20-somethings who tend to live in their vehicles on weekends away. The same applies to the zip-off cushion covers standard in the top-end Dynamique and a $600 option for the Expression.

While the looks will grab the most attention, it's the underpinnings of the Renault that will appeal to diehards used to the brand's hot hatches.

The Captur is destined to be a hit in the same way as the Clio light car it is based on.

The stiffened suspension definitely puts it at the sporty end of the light SUV brigade. The occasionally jumpy ride is compensated for by secure roadholding and one of the better steering feels in the class. Unfortunately the pace, in either 900cc turbo three-cylinder manual guise or 1.2L turbo four-cylinder auto guise, is at the more moderate end of the scale.

The Captur is destined to be a hit in the same way as the Clio light car it is based on. This baby SUV is a smart mix of stylish looks and decent standard features that justify adding it to the list when shopping for a high-riding crossover.

Value

The pricing lands the Captur in the heart of an increasingly competitive segment. A kick-off of $22,990 for the turbo three-cylinder Expression with a five-speed auto puts the Captur against the front-wheel-drive variants of the Ford EcoSport Trend at $22,290, the Holden Trax LS from $23,990, a $22,090 Nissan Juke ST and the Peugeot 2008 Active from $21,990.

Standard gear includes a seven-inch touchscreen with satnav and a reversing camera, auto lights and wipers, keyless entry and a sliding rear bench seat that can mix and match rear legroom with cargo capacity. With the seats in their most forward position, cargo space is a very impressive 445 litres.

The next step up gets the same interior features but with a six-speed twin-clutch automatic matched to a 1.2-litre four-cylinder for $25,990.

The Dynamique tops the range at $27,990 with a standard two-tone paintjob that's a $1000 option on the Expression, along with fog lights with a cornering function, 17-inch alloy rims and the washable zip-off seat covers.

There are, however, two notable omissions: the Captur doesn't have rear side airbags. Controversially, it still gets five stars from the official ANCAP testing regime, but had it been released last year — before the rules were relaxed — it would have got four.

Driving

The Captur rides 163mm off the ground and its hip point — the level of the seat squab — is 100mm higher than in a Clio. That makes it easier to get in and out and the doors open wide enough to allow that.

The in-car entertainment is handled by a seven-inch touchscreen with satnav. The graphics are functional if not first rate.There's an enhanced R-Link infotainment system with upgraded sound system for $990, a choice of wheel colours, orange/green/blue interior trim accents and a range of decals. Personalisation is a trend brands are looking to leverage.

Carsguide's first experience is in the triple-cylinder with a five-speed manual box. The sliding rear bench seat means four adults can squeeze into the Renault without needing to dislocate limbs. The back seat position is upright and the pews are flat but the essentials, head, leg and shoulder room, are all catered for.

The ride itself is choppy at urban pace over sharp-ridged bumps and expansion joints, especially in the back where the torsion beam rear end can crash over hits. It handles faster, open roads with shallower ruts with far more decorum.

Momentum has to be maintained on the 0.9L model by regular applications of the gearshift. It's a light throw and the five forward ratios are well spaced to match the rorty, snarly nature of the engine, which effectively winds out of puff at 5000rpm.

Acceleration is acceptable and it rolls easily along the freeway at 110km/h, though overtaking moves would need to be well planned.

The 1.2L is just on a second quicker to 100km/h and feels it both off the mark and during in-gear acceleration. The six-speed dual-clutch auto hesitates off the mark and isn't as crisp on the changes as more advanced models.

It does help keep fuel use down to 5.4L/100km, though on a hard test we saw mid-sevens on both engines.

Verdict

Differences in design and layout should capture fans for this mini SUV. It has the price, packaging and high-riding position to earn a slice of the fastest growing segment in town.

Pricing guides

$14,990
Based on 34 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$10,989
Highest Price
$17,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Dynamique 1.2L, PULP, 6 SP AUTOMATED MAN $9,200 – 13,860 2015 Renault Captur 2015 Dynamique Pricing and Specs
Expression 0.9L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $8,800 – 13,200 2015 Renault Captur 2015 Expression Pricing and Specs
Expression + 1.2L, PULP, 6 SP AUTOMATED MAN $11,000 – 16,170 2015 Renault Captur 2015 Expression + Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7