Renault Captur (2013-2017) review
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
Find out more about the Renault Captur (2013-2017)
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 be great off-road. 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.
The Captur looks like the results of a mating programme between a Renault Clio and a jacked-up SUV
You won’t find the interior quite so funky, but the dashboard and door armrests are covered in squidgy plastics that give the cabin a decent feel. 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 excels in terms of interior space. For a small car there’s plenty of room in the front and the back, 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 thanks to 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 hooks or tethering points though.
As standard the Captur gets a phone cradle and a smartphone app that effectively turns your mobile 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 of which gives you live traffic updates and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, but no Apple CarPlay.
If you do lots of town driving then go for the 110hp 1.2-litre – petrol it is smooth and relatively quiet, and gets a claimed 51mpg. The 110hp 1.5-litre diesel is the best bet if you do lots of motorway miles thanks to its impressive claimed fuel economy of 76mpg, but it’s noisier than the petrol engines, and doesn’t feel quite as quick.
Another reason the Captur makes good sense around town is because of the way it smooths out bumps – and the decent view all-round means it’s 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.
The Captur is a decent small SUV. 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 more detailed and in-depth analysis of the Renault Captur read our following interior, driving and specifications review sections.
None of the Captur’s engines are powerhouses but the 1.2-litre petrol is reasonably quiet and peppy enough to handle driving on the motorway
The Captur’s raised suspension means it laughs in the face of the council’s speed humps
Despite its SUV-like appearance, the Renault Captur shares many parts with the Clio and the two are similar to drive. You can choose from four engines, split equally between petrol and diesel power.
The 120hp, 1.2-litre petrol is the model to have if you mostly drive in town and make occasional trips on the motorway. It comes with a six-speed gearbox that keeps engine noise at bay and you’ll feel the extra power compared to the 0.9-litre model when overtaking on A-roads. A six-speed automatic is optional but it can make the car feel a little slow to respond when you want a sharp burst of acceleration.
The cheapest engine in the range is the 0.9-litre 90hp petrol. It’s not quick, but it’s fast enough to keep pace with city traffic and fuel economy of 55.4mpg means you won’t end up on first-name terms with the local petrol station’s staff. The downside is that, at motorway speeds, its performance is lacklustre and its five-speed gearbox means the engine is noisier at a cruise.
Diesel power makes sense if you’re going to spend your days chugging up and down the motorway, where their fuel economy of between 70.6 and 78.5mpg will really pay off. If that’s not how you plan to use your Captur, though – avoid them. They’re more expensive to buy than the petrols and clatter – a lot – under acceleration.
The 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 of the car 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 glancing quickly over your shoulder. Rear parking sensors are fitted as standard to mid-range Dynamique S Nav models, and you get a useful rear camera on Signature models.
The 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, 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.
The Captur hasn’t been designed with off-roading in mind, but Signature models come with mud and snow tyres and a Grip Xtend traction control system that’s surprisingly effective at helping the front tyres dig in on slippery surfaces. All models have a 1,200kg towing capacity – similar to any other hatchback.
The Captur’s raised, SUV roofline gives it more interior space than a low-slung family car and although the design is a little bland, colourful trims brighten up the interior