Avatar photo

By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist


Renault Captur does ‘compact’ and ‘SUV’ right with added flare

After three months and 5 856 km, the long overdue second generation Captur was indeed worth waiting.


Letting go of something good often comes tinged with sadness or even regret. In this case, the former sentiment certainly applies to our now departed long-term Renault Captur.

The long wait

Introduced locally in March this year after no less than three delays since its world unveiling in 2019 as a result of the pandemic, pricing difficulties and the global semi-conductor crisis, the second generation Captur’s prolonged absence has been such that Renault is to avail it with a mid-life update this year.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Sexy Renault Captur has curves in all the right places

While likely to become available in South Africa next year, the soon-to-be pre-facelift Captur has proven to be an unexpected hit since arriving at The Citizen in April for a prolonged stay of three months.

Flagship distance carrier

Its dual-tone gloss black roof over Oyster White body-colour identifying as the top-spec Intens model positioned above the entry-level Zen, the Captur strikes an imposing figure as apart of its noticeable dimensional growth over its predecessor, yet Renault has still managed to keep it compact and small.

What affectively become this writer’s indirect long-termer in the latter stage of its tenure that ultimately lasted the mentioned three months over 5 856 km, the Captur showed its talents each time myself, editor Jaco van der Merwe or Road Test Editor Mark Jones happened to be behind the wheel.

Styling, the French way

Besides its grown-up exterior design derived from the Clio, the Captur, arguably, stands-out more even if its choice of body colour seems intent on doing the opposite.

New Renault Captur long-term review
Grown-up looks, yet still stylish and funky.

As a side, the colour palette includes five other options; Mercury Silver Metallic, Ocean Blue Metallic, Passion Red Metallic and Marine Blue Metallic.

Mounted on sporty 17-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, complimented by the C-shaped Pure Vision LED headlights and rugged touches such as the imitation satin silver skidplates, wheel arch cladding and chrome accents, the Captur, in typical French fashion, is a standout no matter how you look at it.

Simple yet modern inside

Based on the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance’s CMF-B platform that also underpins the Clio, the biggest highlight is the interior that represents a significant improvement over that of the old Captur.

Significantly better on the fit-and-finish front than its forebearer, the cabin still relies heavily on physical switchgear, which in this case is a welcome plus from a user-friendly standpoint.

Style and tech meet in the Renault Captur
Interior is a huge step-up from the old Captur on all fronts.

While less than ideal plastics are still present on the doors, the overall feel is impressive, with the layout easy to grasp from the get-go in addition to being neat.

New Renault Captur long-term review
Besides lacking ventilated and/or heating functions, the cloth-type seats looked good in addition to being comfortable.

Besides the floating centre console that feels sturdy, the seats are resoundingly supportive and without doubt, beautifully trimmed in the mesh-pattern type fabric used.

In fact, the only oddity is the lack of front seat heaters, especially when taking into consideration the function’s integration into the grippy leather-covered steering wheel. This oddity aside, the cabin is otherwise spacious and dripping with features

Tech perfect

As standard, the Intens gets the heated steering wheel, alloy wheels and LED headlights, automatic climate control, front and rear parking sensors with a reverse camera, a tyre pressure monitor and rain sense wipers, faux satin chrome inserts, one-touch all-around electric windows and a wireless smartphone charger.

Renault Captur road test South Africa
Tablet-like 9.3-inch R-Link infotainment system takes familiarisation, but works a treat once understood.

A key aspect of the previous Captur that received extensive praise for its user-friendless, the new 9.3-inch R-Link touchscreen infotainment system jutting out of the dashboard in a tablet-like fashion, is just as intuitive if slightly tricky to get a hold on from the beginning.

Equipped with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and integrated satellite navigation, the system eventually proved a boon without attracting major criticism. This also applies to the seven-inch digital instrument cluster that is easily configurable using the buttons on the steering wheel.

Renault Captur road test South Africa
Instrument cluster is a full seven-inch digital display.

If that isn’t enough, the Intens comes with an acceptable Arkamys sound system as standard, along with ambient lighting that, oddly, doesn’t expand to the rear doors but only the fronts as well as underneath the console above the phone charger. 

Space and safe

In a further throwback to past Renault values, the Captur not only comes with a five-star Euro NCAP crash rating, but also Hill Start Assist, Lane Departure Warning, a tyre pressure monitor, Electronic Stability Control and Blind Spot Monitoring.

Living with Renault's all-new Captur
With the rear seats up, the Captur’s boot accommodates luggage up to 404-litres.

As for practicality, the boot measures 404-litres, but expands to a capacious 1 275-litres with the rear seats folded down.

In another throwback to its MPV heritage, lifting the Captur’s boot board reveals a false floor with yet more storage space On top of this, or in this case below, is the added plus of a 17-inch full-size spare wheel.

Living with Renault's all-new Captur
Hiding underneath the boot board is a false floor.

Blighting matters somewhat, taller rear passengers will have to make peace with a roof that encroaches on headroom in what is the main downside of the interior.

Living with Renault's all-new Captur
Rear regroom makes the cut, headroom for taller passengers not so much.

Legroom is more sufficient though and while unlikely to be seen as a type of compensation, those in the rear do have access to a 12-volt power socket, a pair of air vents plus two type-A USB ports.

One-and-one

With the exception of the daily commute, running errands and sitting patiently waiting while its minder frequented test cars or confined it to the leash that is the O.R. Tambo International Airport parking area, the Captur’s biggest tasked involved an eventual 2 360 km road trip to this writer hometown of Despatch in the Eastern Cape over the Father’s Day weekend.

A challenge always ideally suited to a diesel engine, the long haul no longer involves torquey fuel-sipping oil-burners as unlike the previous Captur, Renault has dropped not only the 1.5 dCi engine, but also the popular 898 cc and 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol units that counted for the majority of the old Captur’s sales.

Style and tech meet in the Renault Captur
Floating centre console and electronic gear lever a novelty that left lots of smiles.

In one swoop, all are replaced by the 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol co-developed with Daimler, and used in amongst others, the Mercedes-Benz A200, B200, GLA 200, CLA 200 and the new Nissan Qashqai.

Producing 113kW/270Nm, the mill is mated to a seven-speed EDC dual-clutch transmission with a manual no longer available.

One of the biggest if not the standout of the Captur as a whole, the engine exhibits little lag and responds with a such immediacy that it feels a lot more powerful than what the figures suggest.

Gerotek romp

As part of the Multi-Sense drive mode selector, the Captur offers three settings; Eco, MySense and Sport. And while the default second-tier setting was used throughout much of the three months, the latter did have its time to shine on a more than a number of occasions as well.

In fact, this involved a trip to Gerotek where with Mark Jones behind the wheel, the Captur sprinted from 0-100 km/h in 8.6 seconds, eight-tenths of a second faster than Renault claim and a resounding confirmation that it is faster than claimed.

A ray smile after his run was accompanied by praise of how quickly the Captur reacted when provoked and the feel of the steering.

Renault Captur road test South Africa
Multi-Sense drive mode selector comes with three settings; Eco, the default MySense and Sport.

Incidentally, the latter comes with three settings, Comfort, Regular and Sport, and while different in feel, for the majority of its stay, Sport was selected as the sharper response came with a nicely weighted feel as a bonus.

An area that has been equally significant improvement, the EDC transmission is more accomplished than on the previous and indeed the Clio it debuted on.

Slick and unobtrusive, it does, however, tend to become flustered when shifting down and would often drop two gears at once as a result of its programming. While indeed annoying, flicking the paddles, fortunately, helped resolved matters somewhat.

Worth noting is that the paddles are the only way to shift manually as the electronic selector doesn’t come with a conventional manual shifting gate.

Believe the consumption

Weighing a rather lightweight 1 376 kg, the Captur’s impressive Gerotek showing came after its road trip to the coast that highlighted another long standing Renault trait, fuel consumption even with a petrol engine underneath the bonnet.

It’s boot packed to the parcel shelf, but without requiring the seats folded forward, the Captur’s progress was effortless as in addition to seats, refinement impressed and the ride comfortable as only the French can deliver.

Living with Renault's all-new Captur
Road trip down to Despatch came with a full boot and no need to remove the parcel shelf or lower the rear seats.

The consumption though was startling and while this writer’s late grandfather always boasted how his Renault 9 from the 1980s could cover the distance between Despatch and Potchefstroom to visit my then military service-bound father on a single tank, the Captur came close, but ultimately fell victim to its driver’s panic state whenever a fuel gauge drops below half-tank.

Renault Captur road test South Africa
Fuel consumption down to the coast left jaws dropping.

Having fuelled-up before leaving Johannesburg, brimming the tank in Colesburg came with a bill of less than R1 000, a total distance of 622 km, available indicated range of 310 km and consumption of 5.3 L/100 km. This including frequent use of the cruise control, heated steering wheel and heater.

In total, another full tank and two tops-up were required throughout the entire stay at the coast and back, amounting to 104.76-litres of 95. Back in Johannesburg, the final indicated consumption readout still remained impressive, 5.8 L/100 km.

Conclusion

It is not often that a three-way thumbs-up about a certain vehicle comes the way of The Citizen Motoring team after a protracted spell or road test. In the case of the Renault Captur, that is exactly what happened.

On the pricy side at R499 990, it never put a wheel wrong and proved not only capable and agile, but a willing combatant when tasked with long-haul driving or to put its best wheel forward at Gerotek.

New Renault Captur long-term review
A success story likely to continue despite the new Captur being a lot more premium than its predecessor.

Unlikely to match the success of the previous Captur that offered more engine options and famously started below R200 000 it might be, it is nonetheless a worthwhile entity that lived-up to the hype and one we will resoundingly miss now that its time has come to an end.

ALSO READ: Renault Captur takes sting out of load shedding traffic

Read more on these topics

Renault Road Tests SUV

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits