THE Captur has been an unqualified success for Renault since it hit the road seven years ago, shifting more than 1.2 million units on its way to becoming the best-selling compact SUV in Europe.
Arriving earlier this year, the second-generation model looks to build on that success with a bold new look, inside and out, as well as plenty of personalisation possibilities.
Based on the same platform as the new Clio as well as the latest iteration of popular competitor, the Nissan Juke, the revamped Captur also offers improved space thanks to slightly larger dimensions - being longer than its predecessor by some 11 centimetres.
This larger body has been buffed up considerably too, with the fashionable SUV features dialled up to the max thanks to a prominent higher waistline, tough-looking front and rear protection skid plates, chunky protective mouldings running the length of the lower body and muscular wheel arches.
For a compact car, the Captur certainly has presence and cuts a modern and stylish figure parked on your driveway. A range of bright colours and the option of specifying a contrasting roof adds further youthful appeal.
Three familiar Renault trim grades are available - Play, Iconic and S Edition - all of which come with decent equipment levels as the French car maker seeks to give its baby SUV a more upmarket look and feel.
Soft-touch plastics are used extensively around the cabin and build quality is solid, while all cars come with a touchscreen infotainment system, digital radio, Apple and Android smartphone connectivity, air-conditioning, a hands-free keycard, cruise control, automatic emergency braking and lane keep assist.
Our car, in range-topping S Edition spec, also boasted a larger 9.3-inch tablet-style touchscreen, navigation, rear view camera, blindspot warning system and a wireless phone charger.
Prices, starting from £18,295, remain competitive, however, and a choice of three petrol and two diesel engines as well as, for the first time in this class, a plug-in hybrid are available variously with five or six-speed manual transmissions or a seven-speed dual clutch automatic.
Our car was powered by the 130ps, 1.3-litre TCe petrol unit, also seen in the new Clio as well as the larger Kadjar SUV and Megane hatchback, which is likely to prove a popular choice thanks to an appealing balance of performance and fuel economy.
Mated to the smooth automatic gearbox in our car, it offers almost 45 miles per gallon while being capable of shifting the Captur from 0-62mph in less than ten seconds and with a top speed of 120mph.,
The automatic start-stop system suffers from a split-second hesitation when moving off, which might irritate those who can't abide not being the first away from the lights, but otherwise progress is smooth and prompt.
Throttle response is good once on the move though, the steering is light but accurate and the Captur proves nimble and nippy in urban traffic but has enough power to cruise comfortably at motorway speeds - where it is also pleasantly refined.
A soft suspension gives the car a relaxed character and the focus is certainly on comfort rather than sportiness. Nevertheless, body lean is well controlled for an SUV, you can push on confidently and the drive is enjoyable enough without being overly engaging.
Practicality is often at a premium in smaller cars but the Captur impresses in this department. The increased dimensions mean improved rear legroom while the boot has also increased in capacity by 81 litres to at least 422 litres.
A sliding rear bench adds a little extra versatility, though, offering 160mm of movement that allows the cabin space to be prioritised towards either passengers or loads and boosts boot capacity to 536 litres. This rises further to 1,275 litres with the 60/40 split rear seat backs folded down.