Familiar looks but mostly new Renault Captur aims to captivate

As a measure of the importance of the compact SUV sector, reports Iain Robertson, since the original Captur’s launch in 2013, it has sold 1.2m units and is the European best seller in class, a factor that Renault intends to reinforce with Chinese production.

Based on a largely new (less than 15% retained components; also used by the latest Clio) CMF-B platform, the much-revised Captur is an essential part of the Gallic company’s forward plan. It has always been a charming and practical model, which goes a long way towards explaining why its design is more evolution than revolution; no car company possessing such a strong seller in its range can afford to put its status in jeopardy, with a complete restyle.

The newcomer is so important that it will be the first to receive Renault’s new E-Tech plug-in hybrid engine, when it arrives next year. However, it is equipped with the latest upgradable connectivity and will be among the pioneers of fully autonomous driving features (by 2022; its architecture is ready to accommodate them). With a 110mm longer body and higher waistline affording it a more rugged profile, several aerodynamic enhancements reduce drag and aid greater fuel economy.

An all-new LED daylight running lamps signature, including all-LED headlamps, as well as revised tail-lamps, provide an impression of greater width on a car to which customisation is a fresh central pillar. With a vibrant new colour palette, including four different contrasting roof colours (or an all-glazed alternative) means that around 90 different combinations are feasible. The interior also benefits from 18 colour combinations, with no less than eight ambient lighting choices.

Most noticeable inside the Captur is the new portrait style centre touchscreen and markedly higher quality trim detailing (from which the Clio has also benefited). Both comfortable and spacious, it is a flexible cabin layout, complete with sliding rear seats, that incorporates a huge 536-litres of boot space that can be almost trebled by folding them forwards. It is also home to a much-improved BOSE in-car hi-fi system.

Powering the new Captur is a choice of 1.0-litre, 97bhp, 3-cylinder turbo-petrol and either 127bhp, or 152bhp 1.3-litre units, while clean 1.5-litre turbodiesels in 92 and 112bhp forms are also available. The punchiest petrol and diesel units are available exclusively with the 7-speed twin-clutch, automated-manual transmission (EDC), while a 6-speed manual is the standard fayre.

New Captur boasts some of the highest safety standards in the class, which include a 360-degree camera, active emergency braking and fully active cruise control (on models equipped with the EDC), which monitors and maintains a safe distance from the vehicle in front, without driver intervention. Automatic stop:start works within a program known as ‘Highway & Traffic Jam Companion’, which is designed to reduce driver stress in high pressure situations.

Stated as being stronger, better built and of greater assistance to the driver, the much-revised Captur also benefits from a more compliant ride quality, better brakes and quicker steering. Renault intends to broaden the reach of the Captur by making it available across five continents.

FCD Summary

Much of Captur’s appeal lies in its compact but attractive dimensions and prices of the new model line-up will be announced imminently.

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