The Renault Captur needs to be a winner. Released into an increasingly popular – and competitive – baby SUV market, the little crossover has to contend with popular alternatives such as the Mazda CX-3, Toyota Yaris Cross, and Hyundai Venue.
Based on the fifth-generation Clio hatch that isn’t available in Australia, the cheapest Renault brings high-riding suspension, a huge boost, and urban styling, including two-tone paint and the black lower body cladding now de rigueur in this class. It’s smaller than showroom siblings such as the Kadjar and Koleos but a fair bit larger than before.
There’s just one engine in the three-pronged Australian Captur range, an impressive 1.3-liter four-cylinder turbo that needs 6.6L/100km of premium unleaded to make healthy 113kW and 270Nm maximums.
The line-up starts at $28,190 plus on-road costs – about $31,000 drive-away – for the entry-level Captur Life. It gets 17-inch alloys, LED headlights, a 7-inch portrait-style touchscreen linked to Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a six-speaker stereo. Auto emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance are standard, but blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts add $1000.
Mid-range Captur Zen models add those extras as standard, plus two-tone paint, intelligent keys, climate control, a heated leather steering wheel, and more for a further $2600.
The range-topping Captur Intens shown here is a further $5000 upstream at $35,790 plus on-roads (about $40,000 drive-away), adding 18-inch alloys, a 9.2-inch touchscreen with sat-nav and 9-speaker Bose stereo, electric driver’s seat adjustment, leather trim, interior mood lighting, and better-LED headlights. Intent customers can spend $2000 more on an “easy life” pack with a 10.25-inch digital dash, self-parking, and automatic high beams.
Active cruise control adds $500 to the top grade, which is annoying when rivals such as the Toyota C-HR have all safety gear as standard across the range. Capped price servicing runs to $2385 for five years, which is dearer than most but has no hidden extras.
We tested the Captur in fully-loaded form, where it looked sharp in Atacama Orange metallic paint ($650). The new cabin is a highlight thanks to a floating center console, twin USB outlets for the front and rear, comfortable seats, and more space than before. It feels better resolved than the original Captur but misses fun features such as removable seat covers with oversized zippers.
The bigger new model can accommodate adults in the rear, the digital dash looks excellent (though we’re not sure it’s worth a $2000 investment), and the tablet touchscreen looks sharp but can be clunky to use.