First drive: Renault Captur dCi
Renault's got a new flagship SUV for its Indian lineup
The Captur is a global model based on the same platform as the Duster and Lodgy. There is a compact version too for Europe but India gets the bigger 'regular' version that is also sold in other markets such as Brazil and Russia. It is a five-seater with a reasonably big boot. Pronounced as 'capture' this is longer than the Duster, albeit just by a bit. The design is quite modern and borrows the typical international Renault grille. It is less boxy and more curvy with swooping lines. What you cannot miss is the high ground clearance which is being touted as one if it's selling points. 210mm, which is massive and should allow it to go over bigger hurdles. Strangely, though, the Captur does not get any other off-road hardware such as 4WD. Instead, it keeps it simple and conventional.
We drove the 108bhp, 1.5-litre diesel engine. It is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. It's a tried-and-tested formula for Renault in India. And it has proved quite efficient and reliable. The gear ratios seemed to have been played around with a bit and it has lost a bit of its low-end torque charm that is so evident in the Duster. This could also be an issue with just our car. The engine is inherently quite torquey with 240Nm of wrenching power. It comes off the blocks around 1800rpm. Once on the move, it is easy to maintain speed.
The steering is a familiar set up. Nice and chunky to hold, it manages to herd the longish Captur well. It is a bit on the heavier side which is good at high speeds.
On the move the best part about the Captur is its stability. Despite the high ground clearance, Renault has managed to keep the suspension sorted for a composed and absorbent ride. The Captur is unruffled by usual road surface blemishes. Large 17-inch wheels lined with Apollo rubber help the cause.
Inside, the Captur tries hard to give a more upmarket feel. Our test car was the top 'Platine' spec which is a first for the Captur, globally. The seats are plush and well-contoured both at the front and back. The dashboard gets that all-too-familiar touchscreen system like other Renault cars. This variant gets climate control. The instrument cluster is a funky twin-pod unit. Most of the switches and buttons have been taken from the Renault parts bin, which spoils the exclusivity bit of an otherwise functional cabin. The boot is big and the rear seats fold to triple the luggage capacity. The Captur isn't very tall so headroom is just about adequate although legroom is quite decent.
In terms of position, the Captur will sit just above the Duster but not too far. It looks the part of a visibly purposeful SUV. The curvaceous design coupled with cool exterior touches like floating indicators, DRLs and even floating brake lights add an upmarket touch. There are going to be plenty of individualisation options too like Renault offers on the new Kwid. The interiors could have done with a classier look and finish although it is a comfortable place to be in. Dynamically there is little to complain about but we would have liked this to get more power. And some more SUV goodies such as 4WD, hill descent and even an automatic. Of course, these will come at a later date. For now, the Captur is scheduled for a more conventional and practical packaging at the time of launch, which happens to be this Diwali. Hope Renault keeps the pricing convincing enough too.
Engines & Gearbox:
Diesel: 1461cc, 108bhp, 240Nm, 6M
Petrol: 1498cc 104bhp, 142Nm, 5M
Tyre 215/60 R17
Boot capacity: 392L
Ground Clearance (Unladen): 210mm
Fuel tank: 50 Litres
Price: Rs 15 lakh (ex-showroom, estimated)
Verdict: Renault's new flagship SUV for India looks the part. Could have done with more power but has the potential to keep occupants happy over its lifetime.