If you want a small car that’s well-equipped, relatively spacious and styled like a chunky SUV then the Renault Captur is in with a shout
The Renault Captur is a small SUV that gives you a good view of the road ahead, but feels just like a normal small car to drive.
Launched in 2013, the Captur was updated in 2017 with new front and rear bumpers, standard-fit C-shaped LED daytime running lights, optional LED headlights, updated infotainment systems, a posher-feeling interior with more soft-touch plastics and the option to have a fixed sunroof.
The Captur’s cute looks didn’t need updating, but it now has front and rear skid plates to give more of an off-road look – though you can’t get it with four-wheel drive, so don’t expect it to go clambering up rocky slopes. You can get the Captur in two-tone paint schemes, so it’ll stand out next to similar small SUVs such as the Vauxhall Mokka X, yet isn’t as divisive as the weird-looking Nissan Juke.
You won’t find the interior quite so funky, but the dashboard and door armrests are covered in squidgy plastics that distract from the cheaper plastics everywhere else in the cabin. You can brighten things up with a choice of seven interior colours ranging from Ivory to Blue and Smoked Chrome, each adds colourful plastics to the centre console, air vents and steering wheel.
The Captur has a decent amount of interior space. For a small car there’s plenty of room in the front, and your rear-seat passengers won’t feel cramped, although the middle seat is narrow – a Suzuki Vitara is a better small SUV for seating three in the back.
There is a reasonable number of storage spaces in the cabin, including a useful lidded bin on the dashboard. The door pockets in the front and back are small however, and will only fit small drinks bottles.
The 377-litre boot is easy to load because there’s no lip between the boot floor and the opening. You can drop the boot floor down to give you an impressive 455 litres of space, but this introduces a huge load lip to heave things over. Flip the seats down and there’s a 1,235-litre space. It’s a shame there aren’t any handy hooks or tethering points in the boot though.
The Captur looks like the results of a mating programme between a Renault Clio and a jacked-up SUV
As standard the Captur gets a phone cradle and a smartphone app that effectively turns your smartphone into the car’s infotainment system. It’s alright, but you’re better off upgrading to the Media Nav or faster R-Link system – the latter gives you live traffic updates and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, but there’s no Apple CarPlay support.
The engine choice is small but decent – if you do lots of town driving then go for the 110hp 1.2-litre petrol. It’s smooth and relatively quiet, and gets a claimed 51mpg. If you do more motorway driving then go for the 110hp 1.5-litre diesel, with its impressive claimed fuel economy of 76mpg. It’s noisier than the petrol engines though, and doesn’t feel quite as quick.
Whichever engine you pick, you’ll be impressed by the way the Captur smooths out bumps. That, combined with the decent view all-round, makes it a stress-free city car. The comfortable suspension means it leans over when you’re cornering quickly, but in normal day-to-day driving it’s a quiet and comfy companion, and agile enough to dart through city traffic.
And that’s the Captur’s real selling point. It looks off-roady but, ironically, is best at home in the city. It’s ideal if you want the security of a tall car but without the tricky-to-park size of a bigger SUV, such as a Nissan Qashqai. So long as you can cope with the fact it doesn’t feel sporty to drive, has some cheap plastics inside and the fact that top-spec models are quite expensive, it’s a good small family car.