A funky little crossover vehicle, the Renault Captur offers spaciousness and versatility in a beautiful but practical package. Stephen Smith takes it for a spin…
A few years back my wife and I were in Paris, and I noticed Renault Capturs all over that grand city. This was before they were available locally and they caught my eye, to the extent that I began wondering when they would arrive here in SA. This they did in early 2015, and since then they’ve been selling to the tune of 315 a month.
Despite being spacious, having a fair-size boot and an impressive ground clearance of 200mm, the Captur is compact enough to drive in the city (it must be if it’s popular in a city like Paris!) and have low running costs.
Up until now the Captur has been available locally with only a 900cc turbocharged petrol engine (in two variants – 66kW or 88Kw), but a fantastic little 1.5-litre turbodiesel has now been added to the range, which Renault calls the Captur dCi. Also producing 66kW, but with 220Nm of torque as opposed to the 135Nm of the petrol model, it works beautifully with the Captur. If you have doubts about this engine, put them behind you – it is Renault’s must-sold engine worldwide and is also used in various Nissan and even Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Over one million of these engines are sold every year!
And the best thing about it? Renault claims the Captur dCi can achieve fuel consumption figures of just 3,6L/100km! That is incredible. We didn’t manage quite that, but we weren’t trying to save fuel and still used only a fraction over 5L/100km. Perhaps surprisingly, the Captur 1.5 dCi uses a five-speed manual gearbox where many other modern diesels use six-speed boxes. That said, it’s a nice little ‘box and we don’t have any complaints about it.
The turbodiesel Captur is available in Dynamique trim, which is a mid-level level featuring some very interesting items. One of the cleverest is zip-off seats. Since the Captur is a lifestyle vehicle, there are times when you’re going to get mud on the seats. Or a kid is going to drop an ice-cream on the seat. With the Captur, you can unzip the seat covers, slip them off and then pop them in the washing machine. And under the zip-off seat is another seat cover so you can carry on driving while they dry!
The Dynamique vehicles also have a media system with navigation, Bluetooth, a 7-inch touchscreen and USB port. Then there is an Eco mode, which saves fuel, a hands-free key, climate control, auto lights and windscreen wipers, electric windows all round and even tyre-pressure sensors. Then there’s cruise control and speed limiter, parking sensors with a rear camera and electric windows all round.
Safety wise, all models Captur range achieve a 5-Star EuroNCAP rating, thanks to Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) coupled with Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and Hill Start Assist (HSA). Standard passive safety features include front and head/chest side airbags, while three ISOFIX 3-point child seat anchor seat attachments are fitted to the front passenger and rear seats.
The crossover market is an important one – people who want the looks of an SUV don’t necessarily want the 4×4 capabilities, but would choose lower running costs instead. And it’s growing every year, even when the car market as a whole is shrinking. The leader of the pack is the Ford Ecosport, a great little car, but the Captur currently sits in second place and is a very worthy rival. If you’re looking at a B-segment crossover, drive both and then choose the one that you like – neither will leave you disappointed.
And if you want something unique, Renault has also introduced a limited-edition Sunset Captur in black and orange (inside and out), and with the diesel engine. Just 100 units will be available in South Africa and it will be priced at R292 400.
The Captur offers a good value package, priced as it is from R249 900 for the Expression 66kw Turbo petrol model. Even the 88kW Dynamique automatic model at R304 900 looks reasonable when compared to some rivals. But the new dCi diesel model is the pick of the bunch, priced at R289 900, and when you take into account the 5-year/90 000km service plan and a 5-year/150 000km warranty the value gets even better.
- Name: Renault Captur 1.5dCi
- Body type: Compact crossover
- Engine capacity: 1.5-litre turbodiesel
- Power output: 66kW
- Fuel consumption: 3.6L/100km
- Torque: 220Nm
- Price: R289 900 – R304 900
Words: Stephen Smith