Renault Captur Privilege 1.3T TCe Review
Captur-ing Your Attention

Words and Photos by Clifford Chow
13 Apr 2021
 

Renault seems to have found that sweet spot between enough firmness for spirited driving around corners, and long-distance cruising comfort.

We live in a time where the SUV has become the ubiquitous go to vehicle for many. Imagine that just 20 years ago, the bare minimum was that you needed to find yourself a C-Segment SUV, if you wanted one; and there were just a handful of offerings.

With changing times, cars have generally gotten bigger. In-fact, a large European sedan from the sixties wouldn’t dwarf a current compact. and saying this has its reason. You see, the B-Segment has grown in size, and with it, the cars we get now, at-times can even rival those in the category above.

The Renault Captur is the French manufacturer’s smallest SUV offering, and with its versatility, it is quite the ideal first car for those with a growing family.

Renault’s design language can be clearly seen in their small SUV. Its petite grille is flanked by its signature C-shaped headlamps, while rear tail lights also C-shaped, sit high complementing the Captur’s bulging rear haunches. In ensuring that there is reduced buffeting from the wind, Renault has included pleasantly sculpted intakes inthe front bumper, to channel air past the front wheels.

Our higher-spec Privilége model can be differentiated from the base car, with its chrome accents, and slightly different 17” Bahamas rims. 

Inside

The Captur, compared to the rest of Renault’s current offerings, does boast an interior that is actually better-built. While I am personally not much of a fan of French interior quality, this small Renault on the other hand, is worth taking a look at, since it sports pretty good fit and finish. Touchpoints that are important, are padded, while there are still some bits of hard plastics, in harder-wearing areas. One gripe that I have though, is the frosted silver trim, which not only cheapens the dash, but does reflect light unnecessarily.

The new dashboard layout features piano key switches sitting just below the infotainment screen, and fit snugly within their brackets, almost like what you could expect from something German-engineered. Similar switches nestled between the air-conditioning adjuster knobs are a different story, as there is plenty of play when you shake them… a small gripe of mine, which does not at all affect how the car functions.

The gearshift lever which is now a shift-by-wire unit, sits on the floating centre console, with a tray in-front, meaning additional room for you to place things like your mobile device, keys and maybe your daily apple to keep the doctor away; or that daily onion if you are an introvert.

The Captur is the first car to receive Renault’s revamped infotainment system, which has a more user-friendly interface, with movable widgets, allowing you to put in just the right functions you need, without overcrowding the screen.

Our higher-spec Privilège test car gets a larger 9.3” portrait-style touchscreen, while the base car makes do with a 7” unit. The Privilège variant also benefits from Renault’s Smart-Cockpit, fronted by a 10.25” TFT customisable digital instrument cluster. 

Both cars are fitted with a premium Arkamys SoundStage audio, with the Privilège receiving their premium-er ‘Auditorium’ version. While I do not cover much about audio systems, this one is actually very good.

Once in the SUV, you will realise that the Captur’s driving position is rather high, and the seat cushions are slightly on the firmer side. Rear legroom would be best described as average, with sufficient space for two+ adults. Rear passengers benefit from rear-facing blowers and two USB ports.

Versatility is definitely high up in the Captur’s design brief, as the boot in its normal state, already boasts an impressive 536 litres. The floor board can also be lowered to accommodate larger and taller items, and the rear bench can also be pushed forward for even more room. While the intent was to make it easier for the rear bench to be moved forward with a catch from within the boot, the way it juts out would potentially get in the way of large and bulky items. Cargo space can be further increased with the seats folded, giving you 1,275 litres in all.

The Drive

It is no secret that Renault has a long-standing engine sharing agreement with Mercedes-Benz, and for the Captur, it uses the same 1.3 litre turbocharged engine as the GLA small premium SUV. Unlike the baby Merc which produces 163hp, the Renault Captur delivers a more humble 129hp, just narrowly missing the Cat B COE mark. Drive is provided to the front wheels via a dual-clutch 7-speed.

Performance is decent, with the Captur clocking 100km/h in 9.6 seconds. I have to say though, that its 240Nm which kicks in at 1,600rpm, is akin to a steep slope of “nothing much”, to suddenly “way-plenty-much”, and it does take some time to get used to. While Renault claims official fuel figures as 16.4km/l Combined, I averaged 10.9km/l, even after a few tries of resetting the consumption counter; quite a far cry from what the manufacturer claims.

Gear changes with that dual-clutch transmission are not the smoothest, and releasing the throttle while the car is in first does produce a jerk. Overall, the gears are well spaced-out, and you would hardly need to work that engine hard.

Renault seems to have found that sweet spot between enough firmness for spirited driving around corners, and long-distance cruising comfort. The suspension soaks up bumps decently well, though the rear-end with its simple semi-rigid axle does make the rear wheels skip about when going over rougher-bumpier surfaces.

Interestingly, Renault has chosen a pair of drums for the rear brakes, as-opposed to discs, which are today’s norm, but they do not significantly affect the car’s stopping ability. 

I appreciate that thought has been put into the Captur’s sound insulation, where that small 1.3 litre under hard acceleration, does not intrude much into the cabin (I am comparing this to how the same engine on the GLA behaves, which is truly quite a night and day experience); this is also a plus for those who would look forward to enjoying that very lovely sound system. 

The Captur is equipped with a rear-view camera, complete with guide marks to help you with ‘aiming’ the car into the lot you are backing into. However, I have come to realise when shifting the car into reverse, the infotainment is a little laggy, with only half the view displayed, and there is a pause before the rest of the widgets clear off.

Our Thoughts

Overall, the Captur does check many boxes with features that are appealing in a small SUV, and entertains with its spunky design, both inside and out. 

In a now-crowded segment, there are many options to choose from, like the Toyota Yaris Cross with its fuel-sipping hybrid drive; the Skoda Kamiq with similar versatility, and a high-powered 1.5 and a gearbox that allows the car to coast, further saving fuel; the Volskwagen T-Cross; SEAT Arona and Mazda with its “re-introduced” CX-3, now with a smaller, more sensible 1.5 litre engine.

While it is true that you are guaranteed to be spoilt for choice today if you are looking for a B-Segment SUV, you should take a look at the Renault Captur, as its truly an attractive offering. This small French SUV definately 'captur-ed' my attention, but will it 'captur' your heart? 

In Summary

We Like

Most power for a Category A COE. Good equipment list. Unique styling. Versatile cargo carrying ability. Quality sound system, that benefits from a well-insulated cabin.

We Don't

Slow infotainment interface. Rear disc brakes could be a good idea. Fuel efficiency could be better.

Verdict

Renault has done a fine job in developing the Captur. From quite excellent insulation, to pretty good fit and finish. In-fact even with it sharing the same engine as the Mercedes-Benz GLA, I easily attained more driving satisfaction, thanks to the Captur’s refinement.

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Engine

Engine Capacity 1332cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Power 129bhp @ 5000rpm
Torque 240Nm @ 1600rpm
Power to Weight 102.5 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 9.6s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 193 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 16.4 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 7 -speed DCT
Drive Type FF
Steering Electric

Measurements

Body Type SUV
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4227 x 1797 x 1576) mm
Wheelbase 2639 mm
Turning Circle 11.1 metres
Kerb Weight 1259 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 48 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Discs
Brakes (Rear) Drums