Renault Captur Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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Car Review

Renault Captur

£ 15,505 - £ 32,640
610
Published: 18 Oct 2021
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

The Captur drives as well as it needs to. The steering’s extremely well-judged – not overly fast, nor twirly-light – and even on broken roads, it keeps its composure. Plus, thanks to the stiffer body structure this time around, the ride’s less tinny – you don’t feel bumps ricocheting around the cabin. It’s a comfortable car, with less of the body control sacrifice for sitting up taller than you find in rivals like the Kia Stonic or Skoda Kamiq.

The petrol options are made up of a 1.0-litre 3cyl with 90bhp and a 1.3-litre 4cyl with 140bhp. The latter is familiar from Nissans and lower-rung Mercedes and it’s broadly a refined thing, only getting strained if asked to rev out beyond 4,000rpm. Is that the Captur’s comfort zone? Nope. Is it any crossover’s happy place? Of course not. 

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The engine is willing and smooth enough, road noise is very pleasingly suppressed, and the manual gearshift is lightweight and fairly positive. The automatic seven-speed DCT behaves like a house cat: it’s perfectly reasonable unless it’s startled, then it hisses and gnashes and has a strop.

Will I be better off in a hybrid?

Both, apparently F1-inspired hybrids that pair a 1.6-litre 4cyl petrol engine with two electric motors and a six-speed automatic gearbox, the regular hybrid producing 145bhp, the plug-in peaking at 160bhp with Renault claiming the 9.8kWh battery has enough juice for up to 31 miles, at speeds of up to 83mph.

Said gearbox is a mightily interesting one, because it’s a multi-mode dog-type box without a clutch, similar to the ones used in F1 (dial down your cynicism). The larger of the electric motors starts the car and gets you going, while the smaller second motor starts up the engine when it’s needed and smooths out the gear changes. It’s one heck of a clever system, this.

The electric motor is snappy enough off the line, but keep your foot down, and there’s noticeable lag while the engine gets up to speed to take over proceedings, meaning overall acceleration isn’t quite as smooth as we’d have hoped. Around town, however, it’s a compelling choice, and if you never put your foot down – which let’s be honest, it’s a crossover, meaning most won’t – it works well enough. Even the non plug-in version, with no quoted EV-only range, will roll around at a whisper on a fairly frequent basis if you’re gentle. At five grand cheaper than the PHEV it’s probably the more compelling choice.

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Anything else I should know?

All in all, as either the petrol or hybrid, the Captur drives like a considerably more mature car than its predecessor, and one that’s actually composed enough to give supposedly premium competitors like the Audi Q2 or VW T-Cross a run for their money.

The main niggle from a ‘what’s it like at going along a road’ standpoint is wind noise. This is not a particularly bluff-fronted car, but the door mirrors churn out a heck of a din when your speed crests 70mph. Not many Capturs will be bullying their way down the outside lane, we grant you, but add in a headwind and it’s a case of cranking up the radio to drown out the rustle. 

Now, that’ll involve operating the infotainment...

Highlights from the range

the fastest

Renault Captur 1.3 TCE 140 R.S.Line Edition 5dr EDC
  • 0-629.2s
  • CO2
  • BHP140
  • MPG
  • Price£ N/A

the cheapest

Renault Captur 1.0 TCE 90 Play 5dr
  • 0-6214s
  • CO2
  • BHP90
  • MPG
  • Price£ 19,025
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