Renault managed to pull at the heartstrings of the discerning Indian buyer with its mini SUV, theDuster. And then did it again with the SUV-esque hatch, the Kwid. It seems Renault has successfully deciphered that the best way to find your way into the hearts -- or in this case, garages -- of our country’s car buyers is with an SUV, or at least a car that looks like one. Plus, if you promise a value for money proposition with a quantillion trim levels to choose from, you definitely have our attention. The classic case in point being the Duster. But Renault has yet to break into the premium market. The French carmaker did give it a shot with the Fluence and Koleos but neither managed to garner a customer base worth boasting about. But, with the new, stunning-looking Captur, can Renault finally make a dent in the premium crossover space?
Standard safety features include dual front airbags, ISOFIX, brake assist and ABS with EBD.
Very flamboyant French crossover styling, will stand out from its competitors.
Ride quality is among the best in its class. Impressive bad road ability.
No Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Both the Creta and S-Cross offer the same.
Front seats are a bit too high-set. Will be uneasy for taller drivers.
No automatic transmission on offer. Creta gets an automatic with both engine options.
Stand Out Features
All-LED headlamps are a segment first. Look chic.
210mm ground clearance is best in class.
7.0-inch touchscreen features in-built navigation.
So, has Renault managed to walk the tightrope balancing usability and bling? Yes they have. It’s comfortable, reasonably fun to drive and munches highway miles for breakfast. Of course, there are hiccups - it could’ve been tuned for better everyday drivability, and some more space at the back would’ve been good too. But, neither takes away from the fact that underneath the flash, it’s a sensible crossover.
"If you’ve been eyeing a mid-size SUV, and feel like the Creta is a bit too vanilla - the Captur is worth looking at. "
The Captur's crossover design may not appeal to all at first glance. But, spend some time with it and the edgy design grows on you. We once parked it next to a Duster at a restaurant and were pleasantly surprised at how mature the Captur looked. Yes, it isn't as tall as a conventional boxy SUV, but there’s no doubt that it looks like a premium offering.
Will you give it a second glance? Oh yes. It's got a bit of novelty on its side for now, and the bright orange colour our test car wore only aided the eye-ball grabbing. There are some premium car elements here too. That includes the full-LED headlamps and the Audi-like 'dynamic' turn indicators. Low beam has a wide spread and a long throw too. But, in terms of illumination - it felt just a bit brighter than the LED projectors we've used in the Ignis or the Dzire.
The profile and the rear are a notch understated compared to the face. The design here has some understated French flair, which is going to be an acquired taste for most. That said, the 17-inch wheels look classy, and the 215/60R17 tyres look just right sitting under the flared wheel arches.
The two-tone is well-executed, and it's easy to see why Renault say the Captur was designed to sport a dual-tone paint scheme even since it was conceptualised. Keep in mind that the dual-tone combination will be an option. There's quite a lot of customisation options on offer as well, which should give you the liberty to deck the Captur up the way you want to.
From the rear, the Captur tries hard to shrug off the resemblance to the little Kwid. The tail lamps, the bumper and the windscreen all look like polished, grown-up version of the hatchback. That's not necessarily a bad thing in our books, though.
Ground Clearance (mm)
Wheel Base (mm)
Kerb Weight (kg)
Boot Space Comparison
Getting inside the Captur is a bit of occasion. There's no bulky key fob, but a sleek looking credit card-sized 'access card'. Sure, we've seen this with the Koleos and the Fluence years ago - but it still seems cool to have. The shape of the key makes it very pocketable, something we appreciate when out of the car. In the car, the card can be parked in a slot on the centre console. Pulling it out automatically kills off the electricals when the engine is switched off. Thoughtful!
Once you start getting comfortable in the front seats, you realise that the seating position is quite high. You tower over the dash and although you can't see the low-set nose, you do get a confidence-inspiring view of the road up ahead. The cushioning on the seat is a tad stiffer than what we've seen on the Duster. But, that’s a good thing - it won’t tire you out over longer journeys. The seats hold you well in place, and we’ve got no complains as far as support for the sides or the lower back is concerned.
The seat lets you manually adjust for height, angle and reach. But, the steering adjusts only for tilt. While reach adjust would’ve been good to have, we didn’t have issues getting into a comfortable driving position. That said, the taller folks will find their knees brushing against the centre console and their hairdo rubbing against the roof lining.
That’s down to the way the dashboard has been designed with a prominent, bulging centre console. There’s a lot to like about the design though as it flows effortlessly from one door pad to the other. It looks a lot trendier than the Creta’s or the S-Cross’ dash that have a no-frills design. On a related note, it’s a lot more upmarket than the Duster and the Terrano that have a utilitarian approach.
The colour palette mixes black, white and rose gold in good measure. The textured finish of the dash feels pleasant to touch, although a proper soft-touch dash (or even an insert like in the S-Cross) would’ve upped the premium quotient by a huge margin.
Getting into the rear is a bit of a task. A wider opening would’ve made ingress and egress a lot easier. Once in, there’s little to complain about. You don’t feel hemmed in inspite of the rising window line and the tallish seating makes you further feel at ease. Space on the inside is just about enough for two six-footers to sit behind each other. The cabin is wide enough to accommodate three passengers, but the seat back isn’t exactly flat for the middle occupant. Three healthy individuals will rub shoulders, but it should do just fine for a quick highway trip too.
At 4329mm, the Captur is the longest in its class. The wheelbase is the largest at 2673mm as well. But, sitting inside makes you wonder if all that length could’ve been used more effectively. Then there’s the 390-litre boot that’s far from being the biggest in volume. But, the opening is wide and there’s not much of a loading lip - so you can easily brim it up.
The Captur borrows the Duster’s 1.5-litre diesel motor. And, unlike the Duster diesel that gets a choice of two engine tunes - the Captur gets the higher 110PS/245Nm spec only. Fire the engine up, and you’re greeted by a typical diesel clatter that settles into a smooth idle. Get going, drive calmly and the insulation is enough to cut out most of the diesel engine’s sound. But, when you push it hard, expect to hear quite a lot of it.
Driving the Captur calmly inside the city is something you learn to do. The heavy clutch bites in quite late, and when it does - there’s not much progress from the engine. You will have to go heavy on the throttle, and get the engine ticking over 2000rpm if you want to get anywhere quickly. Below the 2k mark, the Captur feels a bit lacklustre. This means that a quick overtake inside the city, will most definitely require a downshift. When the turbo kicks in, it kicks in with all its might. So, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed trying to ‘control’ the surge. But, drive it around for a while and you’d learn to work around it, and time your overtakes to make use of this wave of torque. Roll on times are quite strong - the Captur does 30-80kmph (in third) in 7.77 seconds, and 40-100kmph (in fourth) takes 11.56 seconds. For reference, an all-out 0-100kmph sprint is dealt with in 13.24 seconds. It could be a lot faster, if the ESP wasn’t as obtrusive
Out on the highway, the Captur is at absolute ease. It’d make for a fantastic road-tripper. Getting to triple digit speeds is a fuss-free affair, and maintaining it easier still. Slot it into sixth, set the cruise control and let it take over. The open highways seem like the Captur’s natural home. It sips consciously here too - the big Renault returned a respectable 21.09kmpl, whereas the figure was a healthy 15.50kmpl inside the city.
The Renault Captur comes equipped with dual front airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist, along with ISOFIX as standard across all variants. Move to the higher variants and you add features such as side airbags, hill start assist, electronic stability program (ESP), rear parking sensors and a rear parking camera with dynamic guidelines.
The Captur is available in a total of four variants called the RXE, RXL, RXT and Platine. While the diesel motor can be had in any variant, the petrol is offered with the first three variants only. Additionally, the top two variants can be specced with a dual-tone colour scheme as well. In line with new safety norms, dual airbags and ABS are standard across the range. Even the base-spec version of the Captur is pretty well kitted with features such as projector headlamps, automatic climate control, remote control card and a four-speaker audio system. The most value-for-money variant is the RXT as it offers a lot more compared to the RXL, for a marginal bump in price. Additional goodies include navigation, automatic headlamps, keyless entry, LED fog lamps and a reverse parking camera.