Hugely accomplished

family SUV

Renault Captur, 2020, front
Renault Captur, 2020, front, action
Renault Captur, 2020, side
Renault Captur, 2020, rear
Renault Captur, 2020, interior
Renault Captur, 2020, rear seats
Renault Captur, 2020, boot
Renault Captur, 2020, badge

IT often seems as though cyclists on narrower country roads have a death wish.

I'm a cyclist myself and would never dream of riding side by side with someone in such a situation, but many riders do.

Drivers held up for long periods eventually get angry and take a chance to overtake, putting not only the cyclists in danger, but also themselves and other road users.

A retired police sergeant who still rides 50 to 75 miles a week told me that riders who do this leave themselves open to a charge of riding without due care and attention.

Please riders - you have every right to ride two abreast when its safe but you're only going to cause an accident if you insist on doing it when there's traffic unable to get past.

My last few miles on the bike were alone and the car I was driving to get to my adventure on two wheels was the latest Renault Captur, which proved more than big enough to take me and said bike out to a little travelled area for a truly enjoyable few hours of exercise.

The Captur is a very good smaller four door SUV with five roomy seats and good load space under the rear hatch.

It is good looking and sleek for an SUV and this revamp has given it a new nose and splitter at the front with a larger Renault diamond badge.

There are a couple of new drivetrains too and I drove the 1.33-litre TCe petrol turbo, which - like all the others - is front wheel drive, in this case through a slick seven-speed automatic gearbox.

The engine is amazingly smooth and quiet - almost inaudible unless pushed - which it is perfectly happy about. The noisiest thing inside is the bump thump from the big wheels and tyres and the heater fan when its on high.

Acceleration is good from almost any speed, but the gearbox does take a second to catch up with a sharp prod of the right foot. This means that the manual setting - using paddles behind the steering wheel - is the best way to overtake or press on.

That said, the oh-so-quiet engine means that a bigger readout for gear numbers when in manual would be more than useful. The present one is far too small.

The automatic takes all the strain of town driving with marvellous ease and acquits itself well out on the open road apart from the slight kickdown delay.

The car was fitted with Renault's multi-sense system so that the driver can adjust engine and gearbox settings to Eco, Sport and or Mysense.

Eco simply reduces engine torque to help economy but makes the car more sluggish as you would imagine, while Sport livens everything up, making it feel more immediate and fun but at the cost of lower economy. Mysense is for those who like to have their own individual sttings.

Start-stop is standard but I found it annoying because it took a split second too long to get going again every time it stopped.

The steering is a delight, direct and with loads of feel, which is very impressive. This helps the car to be very agile through the corners. There's a tenacious level of grip and brilliant road-holding with little roll.

Good front/rear balance only adds to the mix and it is hugely enjoyable to drive along twisting roads.

This wide range of attributes also make it very safe. This is a car that will save you before you even realized you were heading for trouble.

The suspension setup also gives a pretty good ride out of the urban environment, soaking up the worst I could find to throw at it at 40 to 60 miles an hour.

But it does bump/thump a lot over imperfections in town, which would almost certainly be improved by fitting smaller wheels and higher profile tyres.

There's plenty of space for four and their luggage inside and a false boot floor can be removed to add another quarter to the size.

S Edition spec includes part leather upholstery, climate, sat nav, an excellent sound system with DAB radio, column stereo controls that are still the best and stability control.

It also has lane departure warning, cruise, voice activation for some functions, a reversing camera and a very good electric parking brake with auto hold and auto off.

FAST FACTS

Price: £24,295

Mechanical: 130bhp, 1,333cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 120mph

0-62mph: 9.5 seconds

Combined MPG: 44

Insurance Group: 15

C02 emissions: 142g/km

Bik rating: 31%

Warranty: 5yrs/100,000 miles

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