27 July 2018

Renault Captur 2018 Car Review

Seems Kiwis are spoiled for choice when it comes to compact SUVs, in both four-wheel- and an increasing number in two-wheel-drive formats, an acknowledgement that folk may like the styling and the higher seating position of a nominally off-road design, but won’t head bush and don’t need the extra purchase- and running costs associated with driving an additional set of wheels.

Renault Capture jm5 18
Renault Captur
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Renault Captur
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Renault Captur
Renault Capture jm4 18
Renault Captur
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Renault Captur
Renault captur jm14 18
Renault Captur
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Renault Captur

It’s a competitive market, which is no doubt why Renault sharpened its pencil when Captur got an update – it now sells one version, this one, at a sharp $29,990.

It’s certainly striking, especially in this eyeball-flaming colour with the contrast black roof and the black and chrome ‘body kit’ elements – though those side steps are an option we’d do without, at $1200 plus fitting, plus GST.

Europe plays a great game when it comes to looks and character in small cars, and fields some pretty good small engines, too. Over there, many countries levy tax disincentives to buy big motors, not to mention the likes of congestion charges set with cutting both fuel use and emissions pollution in mind.

So Captur gets a perky 1.2-litre turbo that percolates along very well when mated to this six-speed dual clutch transmission. It feels eager off the line, energetic at any legal speed, and though the gearbox sometimes changes up or down when you may be happy with lower revs, that does make it an engagingly lively performer. Hit the Eco button down by the gear lever, and it relaxes – no doubt it was on ‘eco’ when it achieved its 5.4l/100 official consumption figure. We checked after a random 164km of mostly hilly and vigorous driving, and found a 7.2 average, which began to drop as we slowed round town and in Eco.

As an aside, and given recent petrol price rises, the Captur’s on-board computer encourages you to get competitive with your own fuel-frugal performance. Not only can you look up figures like consumption, total litres used, how you perform eco wise with a percentage score and so on, but you can also compare that against last trip saved, or your usual commute, holiday or weekend – our eco score was way higher than the previous tester, is all we’ll say.

That was despite the fact vigorous driving is encouraged by Captur’s handling: it felt confident and sharp on Kiwi back roads despite suspension which was compliant, and almost elastic over big bumps and round bends, albeit a little apt to crash over small hits at speed, or big hits round town.

Otherwise, there’s a lot to like – provided you give yourself a few days to get used to its little idiosyncracies. You switch the cruise or speed limiter on via a button by the gear lever at your side, then control it via four simple buttons on the steering wheel. Phone, mode and volume are on a stalk at your fingertips, with the wipers and indicators in the usual positions, a little further from the wheel.

While the Captur doesn’t include some of the latest safety aids – remember that price – it does have a reversing camera, climate control air con, satnav (with a little Captur in place of an arrow), hands-free phone with voice control, fog lights, and one-touch door locking with a remote key that looks like a fat credit card, and slides into a dash slot if you feel the need to remove it from your pocket.

And then there are the design quirks. Like those apparently ribbon-weave seat covers, which easily unzip and remove for washing. They look classy too, as do many of the dash and door surfaces which, sadly, feel hard and plasticky to the touch.

A fan arrangement of strong bungees on the front seatbacks replaces the usual pocket – no more kids stuffing apple cores out of sight, if not smell, though the set-up may not hold iPads and phones securely – and the glovebox could swallow a whole arm, while the dashtop cubby is much deeper and more useful than most.

There’s no closed storage between the front seats, but there are cupholders, and the boot is very well designed. The rear seat row can slide forward and back to increase leg room or luggage space according to the driver’s desires. You can leave the boot floor in place, and hide valuables beneath it or fold the seats flat. Alternatively, remove the boot floor, slide it past handy slots to lay it flat on the lower floor, and voila, a much more spacious boot (albeit without a flat floor when the seats are folded), while a bag hook prevents your baguettes from flying about as you hurl round Paris/Ponsonby.

All in all Captur is nicely designed, well priced, and engaging enough to attract additional traffic to showrooms pending the arrival of its replacement next year. 

At a glance


 Renault Captur


1.2-litre turbo



ANCAP safety rating


Power and Torque

 88kW at 4900rpm, 190Nm at 2000rpm


 Six-speed dual-clutch auto

Fuel economy


Towing capacity



2WD to front wheels

Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload

377/455/1235 litres (high/low boot floor/seats folded)

Safety systems


Stability control

Bluetooth handsfree phone set-up

Four airbags (two front and two side)

Rear parks sensors and reversing camera

Auto wipers with rain sensor

Auto headlights

Heavy brake warning

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