By Patrick James on 2014-03-23 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
dCi 90 Stop & Start
IF there's one thing Renault is particularly good at it's building small cars and MPVs.
The Clio is a fine example of the former and the Espace and Scenic the latter.
So good in fact that when the French firm looked to build its first mini-MPV Crossover, the Clio was the template.
Enter the Captur, a car which seems to take styling cues from many areas, but certainly does look like a beefed up Clio with extra practicality and looking to make a big impact in one of the fastest growing areas of the new car market, the crossover
It is a good looking car with a wide choice of engines which deliver good economy and is both practical and surprisingly refined for this type of vehicle.
It is also very well equipped for the price with even the entry level model offering high levels of kit including 16-inch alloys, cruise control, a 60/40 split-folding and sliding rear bench seat, stability and traction control, electric windows front and rear, electrically adjustable door mirrors.
It has slightly curvaceous yet rugged appearance, with its high ground clearance and large alloy wheels.
The large diamond Renault badge which dominates the grille which separates neat light clusters while at the rear Renault says a split light cluster design has allowed a wide tailgate opening to be created and helped avoid a boxy look.
The base of the doors have also been shaped to prevent shoes or clothing being soiled when getting in or out.
The interior, particulary in the tested Dynamique Media Nav is a case of less is more. It is fitted with an easy to use colour touch-screen that incorporates key functions like the excellent TomTom navigation, sound system, Bluetooth and phone functions it has a simple to use generally uncluttered dash.
Athough based on the Clio the Captur is longer creating more interior and stowage space and is designed to accommodate five people in realtive comfort.
That clearly is the case for four people, but for a fifth it is much tighter, despite a sliding rear bench seat.
The seats split 60/40 and can be folded flat to increase basic capacity of a generous 455 litres up to a maximum of 1,235 litres.
A moveable boot floor adds to the practicality as do a number of bottle holders, pockets and container bins throughout the cabin.
There are a choice of turbocharged petrol and diesel engines all incorporating Renault's ECO system for maximising fuel and emissions efficiency.
The 90bhp 1.5 diesel delivers huge economy, a claimed 76.4mpg and sub-100g/km CO2 emissions which exempts the car from road tax and puts it in the lowest diesel bracket for benefit in kind taxation.
Mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, with Renault's Stop & Start technology and brake energy recovery, the vehicle was certainly economical over a 1,200 mile journey with more than 450 miles on a full tank of diesel with the best part of a quarter left.
More would have been capable in economy mode, but the engine frequently ran out of steam when overtaking so the eco button was frequently disabled.
Having said that the engine is a refined unit with diesel clatter all but absent and pick up through the gears is smooth.
It also handles well, taking sharp bends with ease and never feeling unsettled, even on the roughest roads.
Renaults have always been one of the safest brands and the Captur has six airbags, hill start, ABS braking, Isofix child anchors and stability programme to ahieve five stars in the Euro NCAP tests.
The car also comes with a reassuring four years/100,000 miles warranty, four years roadside cover and a four year routine servicing and finance package.
Renault Captur Dynamique MediaNav dCi 90 Stop & Start
Mechanical: 90bhp, 1,461cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 106mph
0-62mph: 13.1 seconds
Combined MPG: 76.4
Insurance Group: 12
C02 emissions: 95g/km
Bik rating: 14%
Warranty: 4yrs/100,000 miles
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