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Renault's Captur a worthy crossover contender

13.07.2015

I REMEMBER when a hatchback was a hatchback and when an SUV was an SUV. Now, in true Robin Thicke style, the lines have been blurred and we have crossover vehicles. The Renault Captur is just one of several B-segment crossovers to be launched or updated this year. So how does it stack up? I spent a week with the brand's Captur 1.2 EDC to find out.

Exterior proportions

The French have a way with designing cars, especially of late, that look the part. The Captur seems to blend a degree of urbanity with a hint of off-road/country into its exterior design.

There are many sweeping lines; that massive corporate grille up front, diamond-cut alloy wheels, a contrasting roof colour (on my test unit there was an orange body with a white roof a-la-Mini), while the rear looks a bit more off-road ready with a black-clad bumper. Overall it looks like the type of vehicle that we’re after locally and that showed in the sales charts with the Captur racking up over 400 sales in its first month.

Crossing live inside

For those of you familiar with the Clio you’ll be right at home inside the Captur. It uses the same switchgear, infotainment system, steering wheel, instrument panel and generally exhibits a slightly higher level of quality than its hatchback sibling.

What you do get that the Clio cannot offer is a more capacious interior, better head and leg room as well as the added ride height that the general public crave. The Captur is also more comfortable than a hatchback although with its emphasis of ride height and comfort it has lost some of the dynamism that its platform is known for.

What’s it like to drive?

I had the range-topping 1.2-litre turbo petrol mated with Efficient Dual Clutch (EDC) transmission which, on paper sound like the model to have however, I did find a few issues. Firstly, there’s the lag, you can mash your foot to the ground and nothing really happens. This leads to the second problem…consumption. When I was trying to navigate my way around the load-shedding-ridden traffic of inner Johannesburg I was forced to keep the car in boost most of the time, which sent the consumption up to 8.2 litres/100km (claimed 5.4 litres/100km).

After you get over the lag, the Captur is a great car to drive; it’s refined, the 88kW/190Nm on offer comes on song and the EDC gearbox starts to make sense. I went to a local dealer and drove the 0.9 litre turbo manual Captur and I feel that this variant makes more sense, especially for urban driving, which is surprising considering its third pedal.

The rivals

The Captur stacks up well against its rivals such as the Citroën Cactus, Peugeot 2008, Opel’s Mokka and the sales chart leader, the Ford EcoSport, especially in terms of price/specification and in the service plan and warranty area.

Verdict

The Captur should continue to sell well; it builds upon an already impressive Clio package and adds more practicality and comfort. The EDC gearbox needs to be updated to form a more harmonious relationship with the 1.2-litre turbo motor though. Until then, if you want a Captur I’d recommend the 0.9-litre turbo Dynamique manual.

 

Article written by Sean Nurse
13.07.2015
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