Renault Captur Review
The Renault Captur is a small car with chunky SUV styling that’s well equipped and relatively spacious, but alternatives are better to drive
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
- Cheap running costs
- Spacious for a small car
- Funky looks
What's not so good
- Noisy diesel engines
- Alternatives more enjoyable to drive
- No four-wheel-drive option
Renault Captur: what would you like to read next?
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 Renault 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 Renault 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 Renault 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 Renault 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 pretty simple – a diesel or a petrol, both with 90hp. The diesel is the only one also available with an automatic gearbox and is more suited to the weight of the Captur than the petrol, which is only really good on short trips around town.
Whichever engine you pick, you’ll be impressed by the way the Renault 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 Renault 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.
For the latest offers, take a look at the latest Renault Captur deals.
The Renault Captur’s simple, intuitive dashboard layout makes everything dead easy to use, but bland trims in entry-level models do little to lift the spirits on a rainy commute
The Renault Captur’s back seats are just about big enough for three adults and its boot is pretty roomy for a car this size, but its storage cubbies could do with being a bit more spacious
Thanks to its puffed-up body, the Captur has more space inside than you’ll get in most small family cars, although its cupholders are only big enough for a fashionably tiny Parisian espresso…
Getting a comfortable driving position isn’t an issue in the Renault Captur because even entry-level models have a height adjustable driver’s seat and a steering wheel that adjusts up and down, as well as in and out. GT Line models come as standard with a front centre armrest – but its small size means it isn’t as comfortable as it could be. GT Line models also get heated front seats.
Every Renault Captur has a rear bench that slides forwards and backwards, so you can choose between more knee room or extra boot space. However legroom is tight for tall adults, even with the seats in their furthest-back setting. The high, SUV-style roofline means headroom in the back is fine if your passengers are under six foot tall and all models come with lockable rear electric windows that’ll keep your little darlings’ extremities safely inside.
The Renault Captur’s not a wide car so carrying three adults in the back isn’t ideal – the middle seat is narrow and your third passenger has to sit on lumpy seatbelt tidies and share the other two passengers’ footwells.
The Renault Captur comes with plenty of cubby spaces but they could all do with being a little bit bigger. Its glovebox is quite small, as is the space under the front armrest, the door bins are big enough for a small bottle of water each but not much else, and up front you get a couple of cup holders and a smartphone-sized tray in front of the gear stick. The lidded space on top of the dashboard is a handy bonus, plus Dynamique models and above have map-holding bungee cords on the backs of the front seats.
It’s hard not to be impressed by the size and flexibility of the Renault Captur’s boot. It has a 455-litre capacity that, to give you some perspective, is 75 litres bigger than the boot you get in a larger Volkswagen Golf.
Even entry-level models have an adjustable boot floor, which in its highest setting leaves no boot lip whatsoever, so heavy luggage can simply be slid into place. The sliding back seat can be moved forwards and backwards from the boot and all but the basic model have a wipe-clean side to the adjustable boot floor, so it’s easier to keep the boot in pristine condition.
The Renault Captur boot capacity increases to an extremely healthy 1,437 litres with the 60:40 back seats folded down and, with the adjustable boot floor in its lowest setting, you get a completely flat cargo bay that makes it that bit easier to load something tricky such as a bike.
None of the Renault Captur’s engines are powerhouses but the diesel is reasonably quiet and peppy enough to handle most roads
If you want a petrol Captur get the 1.2 over the 0.9 – the smaller engine is just too slow at motorway speeds
The Renault Captur comes with a choice of two engines, petrol or diesel power.
The 90hp, 0.9-litre petrol is the model to have if you mostly drive in town and make occasional trips on the motorway. It comes with a five-speed gearbox that keeps engine noise at bay on the motorway but ultimately it takes some time to get up to speed and overtakes are slow.
The 90hp, 1.5-litre diesel makes sense if you’re going to spend your days chugging up and down the motorway, where its lower fuel consumption compared to the petrol makes sense in the long run. If that’s not how you plan to use your Renault Captur, though – stick to the petrol. The diesel is more expensive to buy and a tad noisier.
The Renault Captur feels at its best in the city. Its raised suspension means even the most abrupt of speed humps won’t damage the bottom of the car and the suspension deals well with bad surfaces at low speeds.
Its tall body also gives you a great view out the front and the small windows behind the wing mirrors mean only the plastic trim around the windscreen interrupts your field of vision. Look out the back, though, and the big pillars around the rear windscreen cause large blind spots, so you’ll have to keep your wits about you when driving through busy cities. Rear parking sensors are fitted as standard to mid-range Iconic models, and you get a useful hands-free parking system on GT Line models.
The Renault Captur feels like a small family car on stilts on country roads. Its steering is a little light in corners and you get a reasonable amount of body lean in fast corners, but there’s plenty of grip – and are you really going to drive your family car like a race car?
What you may wish for a little more of is motorway refinement. The diesel engines grumble even at a cruise, while wind and road noise fade to a distant drone that’s only just tolerable. The suspension also seems to get flummoxed at faster speeds making the car pogo over smaller bumps and poor road surfaces. All models have a 1,200kg towing capacity – similar to any other hatchback.