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Renault's sweet spot Captur(ed)

20.11.2017

It comes as no secret that the Captur has been a winner for Renault South Africa ever since it came to market in May 2015.

With some 6 500 units sold on local shores, combined with 215 760 sales in Europe last year alone, the small crossover has regularly been one of the marque's standouts alongside the Sandero, Duster and the Clio. Just over two years after making its debut, Renault has afforded the Captur a subtle mid-life revision aimed at improving what was an already accomplished package in terms of looks, price and standard equipment.

The challenge for a looker

The recent arrival of the updated Captur to the Autodealer office also provided an interesting challenge as the model in question happened to be most frugal of all, the 1.5-litre dCi turbodiesel in top spec Dynamique guise. With a range on a single tank likely to be close to 1 000km, a road trip of some 600km to the Free State and back seemed in order to determine whether the Captur has what it takes to remain an undoubted local favourite.

Easily one of the most stylish offerings in the burgeoning compact crossover segment, changes to the Captur have included a redesigned grille, Renault’s Pure Vision headlights with C-shaped daytime running LEDs, darkened LED taillight clusters and a satin silver front skid plate. Although sounding minor, the changes have resulted in the Captur keeping its reputation as one of the best looking offerings in class.

Modern and classy interior

Less prominent but still impressive, the interior continues to rate as one of the Captur’s standout features with soft-touch plastics on most surfaces, gloss black detailing around the seven-inch MediaNav touchscreen infotainment system and chrome finishes on the steering wheel, around the gear lever and on the gear knob itself.

Keeping in tune with current trends, a trait derived from the Clio, the aforementioned MediaNav system incorporates Bluetooth, USB and satellite navigation, and proved to be a doddle to use in terms of scrolling through the various menus and smartphone connectivity.

Enough space and toys

Despite its dimensions, interior space both front and rear is impressive with acceptable amounts of head and legroom, and a sizable boot that measures 377-litres or 1 235-litres with the rear seats folded down. Its biggest party piece is however a false floor where additional valuables can be stored.

As for toys, the Dynamique comes equipped with cruise control, full climate control, rear parking sensors, electric windows all around, folding electric mirrors, auto lock/unlock doors, rain sense wipers, cornering headlights, heated front seats, dual front airbags and side airbags, ABS with EBD, Brake Assist and ESC.

The economical power punch

While the top spec 1.2-litre petrol surprisingly accounts for the majority of Captur sales, the 1.5-litre dCi, incidentally also priced at R294 900, makes for impressive progress despite sounding a tad agricultural on start-up.

With 66kW/220Nm on tap, the diesel is some 22kW down on the equivalent petrol and only has a five-speed manual gearbox as opposed to a six-speed unit, yet it is the latter figure that makes the long-serving mill a true gem. Granted, while some turbo-lag is evident, the blower quickly spools up, unloading a healthy barrage of twist before you select another gear.

During my trek into the heart of South Africa, the Captur felt comfortable and took the poorly maintained Free State roads in its stride with no shudder or rattles being present, even after it returned following its weeklong stay and some 800km.

Of course the biggest the attraction of a diesel is economy and while range anxiety admittedly got the better of me in seeing whether 1 000km on a single tank was possible, the Captur’s best recorded figure came to 4.3-litres/100km, which still rated as excellent despite not coming close to Renault’s claimed 3.6-litres/100km.

Conclusion

With 1 401 units sold until October 2017, the Renault Captur has more than proved itself to be a worthy contender in one of the most crowed segments in South Africa. Add in the punch and economy of the diesel motor, updated looks and spec level, and you have a crossover that will both surprise and deliver.

Article written by Charl Bosch
20.11.2017
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