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The Top Gear car review: Renault Captur
For:Higher-quality feel than the old Captur. Actually rather handsome, and plenty roomy enough
Against:Laggy, fiddly infotainment, too much wind noise, PHEV additional cost is hard to justify
What is it?
It’s the second coming of the Renault Captur, a car that we probably snored at before we drove it reasoning that a taller SUV-ish Clio was a silly idea no-one would much care for. Whoops. It promptly landed Renault a smash hit, becoming the top-selling ‘B-segment’ supermini crossover in Europe and the third most popular in the UK. Yep, we might pigeonhole newcomers in this class as ‘Juke rivals’ but Renault’s Captur is one of the big fish in this pond, and in true style outsold its Nissan rival in 2020.
Not that there wasn’t plenty of room for improvement in the old Captur, which had a bobbly ride and tinny cabin. What bodes well for this Captur MkII is that it’s based inside and underneath, on the latest Clio. And that means a new platform, more space, more strength and safety, and a comprehensively up-to-date cabin.
Engine wise, you’ve the choice of a range of conventional turbocharged three- and four-cylinder petrol or diesel engines, or a Kia Nero PHEV competitor in the form of a plug-in petrol hybrid, badged E-Tech, as similarly found in the Clio Hybrid and Megane Sports Tourer. Renault says that the hybrid system is inspired by the energy use and recovery systems found in its Formula One engines, and it’s particularly addictive putting it in B mode via the gearbox selector, which ups the level of regenerative braking when you lift off the throttle, giving you the option of one pedal driving just like a full EV. Clever.
That’s not all to get excited about – check out the new seats which look suspiciously like they’re from a recent Volvo. No higher praise than that, really. In fact, the whole cabin is the headline here. Way nicer inside than the old one, this. Sure, that’s like saying a hotel room is smarter than a damp tent, but still, the Captur isn’t just a whole load more handsome on the outside – it’s grown up and gotten its act together inside and that’s most welcome. Roomier too – but that’s courtesy of the whole car swelling in every dimension.
There’s plenty of other exterior changes too, with a wider front grille, tough-looking front and rear protection skid plates, prominent wheelarch extensions, slimmer LED lights at both ends, and touches of chrome trim bringing it in line with its Clio and Mégane siblings, with little of the stylistic quirkiness that some of its rivals suffer… no names mentioned. There’s also little to tell the electrified version apart, beyond a subtle badge here and there.
Prices start at just over £19,000 for the lowest powered petrol engine in base-spec Iconic trim, rising to just shy of £31,000 for the PHEV, which is only available in range-topping S Edition trim. Still feeling eco conscious? Renault does offer a free home wallbox installation with every car, a cost saving of around £800, which will reduce the time it takes to keep topped up – a full charge takes three hours – and maximise fuel bill saving.