Out of all the cars thatll be present in Renault showrooms, its perhaps the firms new offering the Clio-based Captur crossover that has the biggest weight upon its two-tone shoulders.
After all, whilst the mini-SUV market has proven to be a successful one for some manufacturers (Skodas Yeti is a prime example), there are now so many on sale in the UK now, so the Captur really needs to stand out if its to attract enough buyers.
Now we have a rough idea as to what the Captur has to offer, does the on-paper package have what it takes to worry the best in class?
Whilst well leave you to make up your own mind about the Capturs looks, theres no denying that its a pretty striking design, with that bold Renault logo stamped proudly on the front fascia, the sharp headlights and those rather snazzy alloys shown in the pictures.
However, whilst the front and the sides are all sculpted and such, the rear of the Captur does look from the press pics, at least to be a bit bland in comparison with the rest of the car for out liking.
At least the inclusion of a two-tone paint scheme where the roof and A-pillars are offered in a different colour to the rest of the body panels as standard on all cars helps even things out a bit, and (we assume) give buyers the ability to personalise the looks of the Captur to their preference.
Just as with the exterior, Renault claims the cabin of the Captur can be as vivid as the exterior, with the French firm giving you the option of choosing from an array of trim pieces in various colours. Though, given the car isnt set to make its public debut until March, we dont know what these colours are as of yet
Look beyond that, though, and from the images weve been provided with its mostly standard Clio fare here, bar some differences with the design of the centre console and the dial binnacle. Which given most of the critics who drove the new Clio hatch reckon the build quality is very good indeed can only be a good thing.
And, whilst we dont know exactly how practical the Captur is, Renault says that, despite being a slightly shorter than the Nissan Juke, the new crossover has a well-sized boot, generous interior dimensions and what it calls innovative stowage solutions.
Under the skin
The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed weve been comparing the Captur quite a lot with the Clio so far, and its all for a good reason: under the unpretentious skin, theyre almost identical underneath. Both share the same platform, albeit modified and stretched for the Capturs requirements, and interestingly its also very similar to the one that underpins the strikingly styled Nissan Juke.
As a result, Renault claims that as its based on the Clio the Captur will have all the qualities that make that car an appealing choice, with the press release stating the Captur will boast about having best level dynamics, and be one of the class leaders when it comes to road holding.
We have no idea, though, if the Captur will be any good off-road Renault hasnt said anything about the car coming with all-wheel drive as standard or as an option. Not that many buyers will actually give a monkeys about whether or not power is being sent to all four corners
Also hidden from the view by the Fog of Pre-Launch Reveals is the engine choice, as no specific details have been mentioned so far. However, being Clio-based, we image the crop of three and four-cylinder petrols and the diesels that you can specify the hatchback with will also be available on the Captur.
Renault has stated, though, that the Captur will be one of the most efficient cars in this class, with emissions starting from a road tax-exempt 96g/km of CO2 for we assume will be for a diesel of some sorts; almost certainly Renaults 1.5 diesel unit.
As we said earlier, whilst its been announced now (conveniently, just a few days after compatriot Peugeot announced its new 2008 crossover), the Captur is slated to make its public debut in March at the Geneva Motor Show, with sales set to start in June this year.
No full price listings have been announced as of yet, though the most widely cited prediction so far is that the range will kick off somewhere in the 13,000 ballpark.
Whilst we cant take anything definitive from these initial impressions of the Captur for obvious reasons, youd have to be a die-hard despiser of anything Renault to say that, on paper at least, this new crossover has the potential for success.
After all, whilst we cant take the words of the PR folk too literally, what we know of so far does suggest the Captur will be competitive: allegedly, the Capturs spacious, well-built, efficient, good to drive, it comes with a decent array of personalisation options and could also be pretty affordable to buy too.
Of course, well find out for certain in the coming months whether or not it has what it takes to give the class leaders something to genuinely worry about. However, Renault does seem to be making a return to form now and, if it carries on with the Captur, we can imagine it being a pretty well-sorted car. And not simply just a Clio with a new paint job and a raised ride height