Renault Captur Review

The Renault Captur looks great, has a spacious, high-quality cabin and a big boot. Its infotainment is frustrating, though, and there are more comfortable small SUVs

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8/10
wowscore
This score is awarded by our team of
expert reviewers
With nearly 60 years of experience between them, carwow’s expert reviewers thoroughly test every car on sale on carwow, and so are perfectly placed to present you the facts and help you make that exciting decision
after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Excellent space and practicality
  • Large boot for a small SUV
  • Range of efficient engines

What's not so good

  • Infotainment system not as slick as alternatives
  • Not that comfy around town
  • Safety tech reserved for top trim

Renault Captur: what would you like to read next?

Overall verdict

A high driving position, practical interior and stylish looks… these are the ingredients for a great small SUV, but with so many to choose from the Renault Captur adds a little va va voom to stand out from the likes of the Volkswagen T-Cross of Skoda Kamiq.

You see, the Renault Captur is a little bit like Emmanuel Macron: French, surprisingly multi-talented and better looking than the average offering.

But unlike the French President, the Captur was beginning to look not quite as fit as it once was when compared with newer models like the Peugeot 2008. So it has been completely overhauled inside and out.

The exterior has new C-shaped LED running lights, LED headlights as standard, a wider grille, re-designed bumpers and larger alloy wheel options. It’s still a Captur, but it looks like it’s been doing some serious training. Inside the Captur has moved also on, getting a new infotainment system, slicker design and upgraded materials.

And, because the Captur is taller, wider and longer than before, and has more distance between the front and rear wheels, there’s more space for people inside, particularly in the back.

Entry and mid-level Capturs get a 7-inch infotainment system (which is laid out in an unusual portrait style) without built-in sat-nav but featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so you can still get navigation through your smartphone. DAB radio and Bluetooth is standard too.

Mid-level Iconic adds built-in sat-nav to this system while range-topping S Edition models get a larger 9-inch screen, also with sat-nav.

Whichever one you choose, the native menus and response times don’t live up to the better systems in rivals like the VW T-Cross and Skoda Kamiq. Renault’s digital dials don’t look as good and are less configurable than in other small SUVs too.

With so many small SUVs around these days, the Captur had to grow up fast. Thankfully, it's done so, inside and out.

Mat Watson
carwow expert

The quality of the materials inside is high – though maybe the Peugeot 2008 just shades it in this respect. But the Captur’s space is great. You won’t have any complaints in the front – drivers of all sizes will be able to get comfy and see out easily. In the back, the Captur is similarly impressive. A pair of adults will fit in comfortably, although getting a third in might prove tight.

The Captur has a party trick in the back – its rear bench can slide forwards and backwards as one, trading rear legroom for boot space. That means the Captur’s boot, at 536 litres with the seats pushed forwards is the largest of any small SUV. With the seats all the way back the boot shrinks to 404 litres, which is about the same size as the boot in a Skoda Kamiq, but a 2008 boot is bigger still.

There’s plenty of choice when it comes to the Captur’s engines and gearboxes, with three petrols, two diesels and a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid due to arrive soon. A Renault Captur automatic with seven speeds, or five and six-speed manuals are available, depending on the engine.

The usual advice applies here: if you drive mainly in town, pick a petrol – Renault’s 130hp 1.3-litre strikes the best balance between price, performance and fuel economy. If you spend more time on the motorway, then the 115hp diesel will make more financial sense.

If you have reliable access to charging then the hybrid may well prove to be extremely cheap to run, but remember it will cost more to buy.

The Captur is no thriller to drive, but small SUVs aren’t designed to be. More importantly, it steers precisely and feels grippy and stable through turns. A VW T-Cross is quieter and more comfortable both driving around town and on the motorway, though.

So overall, the Captur wows you with its initial style but doesn’t quite match up with the best small SUVs when you scratch beneath the surface. Maybe a bit like a French president?

Still, it does look great, feels high-quality and offers lots of space nevertheless. If this sounds like your next small SUV, then head over to our Renault deals pages for the very best Captur prices.

How practical is it?

The Captur will happily take four adults in comfort and it still offers a big boot for a small SUV, with its clever sliding bench a particular practicality boost.

Boot (seats up)
388 - 404 litres
Boot (seats down)
1,275 litres

The first generation of Renault Captur offered a decent amount of space but then every newcomer to the class was bigger and better. The latest version is taller, wider and longer, and has no trouble accommodating a couple of adults in the fronts seats. The driver also gets plenty of seat and wheel adjustment to ensure all sizes will find a decent driving position.

The real change is in the back, though, where the space between the Captur’s front and rear axles has grown allowing good kneeroom, coupled with good headroom, even for tall adults. The only slight complaint is that the rear passengers’ heads are positioned behind the rear window thanks to the sloping roofline, making it seem a little claustrophobic for the particularly tall.

Like all small SUVs, you’ll struggle to get three grown adults alongside each other in comfort in the back.

There’s plenty of space throughout the Captur’s cabin, too. There’s a deep cubby, with a lid, in between the front seats, a couple of big cupholders and both front door bins will take a 1.5-litre bottle. The cubby at the base of the dash is handy, too, and acts as a wireless charging pad on some models.

It’s worth mentioning the glovebox, too, which has a pull out tray-like design rather than the usual hinged door type. It’s a great size but is a little difficult to open and access properly if somebody is sitting in the front passenger seat.

In the back, there are two further door pockets, pockets on the backs of the front seats and a central armrest that flips down to reveal a couple more cupholders.

Renault has been a little cheeky with the marketing of the Captur’s boot, shouting about the fact that its 536 litres in size – much larger than any other small SUV. Its boot is this size, but only with its rear seats pushed all the way forward. If you do that then this takes away all the rear legroom, meaning no space for passengers.

In fact, it’s fairer to compare its boot to other small SUVs with its rear seat pushed all the way back. If you do that it’s 422 litres in size (or 406 litres if you go for the diesel), making it slightly bigger than both a T-Cross’ with its rear seats pushed back and a Kamiq’s with its fixed rear bench.

If you need even more space for a trip to the tip, the Captur’s rear seats split 60:40 and fold down completely flat. Its boot also has a handy divider, which eliminates any boot lip and means a completely flat surface from boot entrance to the front seat backs.

What's it like to drive?

The Captur comes with efficient petrol and diesel options, but unlike its alternatives, also a plug-in hyrbid. None will get your pulse racing on the road, though. 

There’s plenty of choice when it comes to the Captur’s engines, with three petrols and two diesels on the menu, plus a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid due to arrive soon.

The usual advice applies here: if you drive mainly in town, pick a petrol – Renault’s four-cylinder, 130hp 1.3-litre strikes the best balance between price, performance and fuel economy. It’ll crack 0-62mph in less than 9 seconds, yet return 44mpg, which is a nice set of numbers.

There’s also a 100hp three-cylinder 1.0-litre, but you’ll find it feels a little underpowered on faster-moving roads. This certainly isn’t the case with the 155hp version of the 1.3, but you pay for it – both the purchase price and running costs are a bit too high to be sensible.

If you spend more time on the motorway, then the 1.5-litre 115hp diesel will make more financial sense, because at a cruise you should see just over 55mpg. It also has more punch lower in its revs for keeping up with traffic. The 95hp version of the same engine is good too, but the 115hp version isn’t much more to buy and promises the same fuel economy despite the power hike.

If you’re a company car driver or have reliable access to charging, don’t write off the hybrid, as it will prove to be extremely efficient in the right circumstances. It consists of a 1.6-litre petrol engine, 9.8kWh battery and electric motors, and fully charged it’ll go 28 miles on electricity alone up to speeds of 83mph. Used correctly, it’ll use the least fuel of any Captur.

A five-speed manual gearbox comes as standard on the 100hp petrol, the 130hp petrol gets a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic, while the 155hp petrol is auto only.

The Captur is good to drive in town, with light steering, a tight turning circle and decent visibility for the driver. This is handy as you don’t get parking sensors as standard until you get up to the mid-level Iconic trim. The handy 360 camera doesn’t arrive as standard until range-topping S Edition.

Comfort is a bit of an issue, too, because the Captur doesn’t stay as composed over potholes and manhole covers as a VW T-Cross in town, particularly on its optional 18-inch wheels.

It’s no thriller in the corners, either, although very few (if any) small SUVs are. More importantly you’re able to thread it along a country road confident in its precise steering, good grip and taut body control, which will be more than enough for most buyers. If you want a little more fun, a Seat Arona is about as good as it gets.

On the motorway, the Captur feels nicely settled, but you do notice a bit of road noise. Helping relax you, though, is a standard lane-keep assist, which will steer to keep you in lane, along with automatic emergency braking and traffic sign recognition. For even more autonomy you can add adaptive cruise control to S Edition models, which will accelerate and brake for you in combination with a more advanced steering assist.

What's it like inside?

The Renault Captur now looks and feels much better inside than before, but although its infotainment has improved too, there are still better systems available in other small SUVs.

Next Read full interior review
Buy a new or used Renault Captur at a price you’ll love
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