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A chic, spacious crossover, Captur has a sporty twist

It may be odd to start a road test of a family crossover like this from a performance point of view. But that turns out to be a new Renault Captur strong suit. The R500K new car market is a very busy place. Cutthroat, it includes everything from entry double cab bakkies to little sportscars and entry hot hatches, half the Chinese car world and just about every ‘family crossover’ there is.

So to stand out here, takes some doing. Which is exactly what the Captur did. And it’s this car’s performance that perhaps surprisingly stood it out most. To break nine seconds to 100 km/h in our road tests seems to cost at least seven hundred grand. We test two or three cars a week, probably half of them are in that neck of the woods. So it’s easy to notice this car’s strengths. Even if that’s for just a rand under R500,000.00 as we wrote. A fair feat indeed.


Not just fast. Captur is frugal too

Surprisingly powerful, sporty, and enjoyable, yet economical, Captur’s zesty 113 kW 270 Nm 1.3-litre turbo four-pot actually gives credence to its Formula 1 inspired claims. A good balance of bottom end grunt evolves to a sprightly demeanour as the revs rise. Never mind, its claimed 6.6 litre per 100 km fuel consumption is pretty easily attainable too.

Captur’s e-shifter EDC semi-automatic 7-speed double clutch gearbox can be paddle shited from behind the multifunction steering wheel. Eco, Normal and Sport Multi-Sense Sport modes bring more driving fun, too. Off the boil, the chassis is fairly well sorted, if a bit hard. That said, it becomes comfier with two or three passengers, or a bit of a load abord.

Until we road tested it, the Captur proved a pretty well middle of the road offering for the money. Reinvigorated a few months back, Renault promised an easy-to-drive, multifaceted, multifunctional crossover that balances design and practicality. Nothing earth shattering, it’s elegant, current, and typically striking, perhaps a bit bulbous, but chic enough.


Makes no secret of its SUV genes

Captur makes no secret of its SUV aspirations, which are boosted by 174 mm ground clearance, an aggro bumper design and bold 17” wheels in pronounced arches. Front and rear skid plates are linked by full length underbody protection and our tester’s groovy bi-colour Passion Red get-up really made it pop.

Approach, and Captur’s key card senses your arrival. It unlocks extra crossover space and height in a neat and effectively rendered cabin with a floating centre console and digital dials. Subtly elevated driving position seats are comfy and automated and clever gadgets, cruise control and more, add to the appeal of a slick, smartly appointed space.

The dash is dominated by the slightly curved square screen 9.3” Apple and Android reflecting Easy Link Infotainment stack floating angled towards the driver. Fired by a touch of the start-sop button, Renault promises advanced, intuitive, and customised multimedia tech.


Easy to understand Captur cabin tech

Captur indeed, brings navigation, wireless smartphone charging, park distance control and a rear view camera to the party. It’s reasonably simple to operate. There are enough buttons, climate control is via proper knobs for, and is all quite easy to figure out. Yet audio volume is by unsteady touch control. And remarkably not available as a standard steering function.

Our test unit’s Easy Link system also seemed slow and glitchy in some areas of operation. Particularly around the reverse camera, an area where transmission delays are not really acceptable. Still, this system errs on the better side of average among ‘modern’ car systems, which are in general, confused at best.

Taller, wider, longer, and more modular, Captur is also more practical. Its 404 litre boot expands to 536 litres by sliding the rear bench seat 16 cm forward. And up to 1,275 litres by folding the bench flat. A versatile multi-position floor board bring more versatility. In a private compartment below the convenient flat floor it makes. Or remove it to increase trunk depth. 27 litres of goodie storage space includes a neat cubby in the sliding armrest.


It’s safe. It’s a Renault.

Being a Renault, Captur is 5-star Euro NCAP safe. It has lane departure, blind spot and tyre pressure warnings, GPS traffic sign recognition with a speed limit warning, park assist and an electronic parking brake. Add EBA and EBD anti-skid ABS brakes six, ESP, front, side, and curtain airbags with pretensioner and force limiter belts for the anti-submarining front seats. They have anti-whiplash head rests, and 3-point rear Isofix child seat mounts.

All of which presents a pretty capable middle of the road R500K family crossover. Until you take the Renault Captur’s brisk, Formula 1 inspired performance into consideration. And in that department, its untouchable. Which in our eyes, makes it a pretty compelling prospect. – Michele Lupini

Images & testing: Giordano Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Renault Captur 1.3L Turbo EDC Intens
Engine: 113 kW 270 Nm 1.3-litre turbo petrol I4
Drive: DC auto FWD
0-60 km/h:        4.24 sec
0-100 km/h:       8.48 sec
0-120 km/h:       11.61sec
0-160 km/h:       20.83 sec
400m:             16.4 sec @ 144 km/h
80-120 km/h:      5.47 sec
120-160 km/h:     9.07 sec
VMax:             193 km/h
Fuel:             6.6 l/100 km
CO2:              149 g/km
Range:            725 km
Warranty/Service: 5y 150K/3y 45K km
LIST PRICE:       R499K
RATED:            8
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