CAPTURING THE ATTENTION
NEW RENAULT HAS THE LOOK
IT'S all about the look with the Renault Captur, from the optional two-tone exterior styling to the dimpled surfaces, coloured zippers and bright plastic highlights in the cabin.
But there's a method behind the interior-designer madness.
The surfaces will be easy to wipe down, which will endear them to parents with young kids and 20-somethings who tend to live in their vehicles on weekends away.
The same applies to the zip-off cushion covers standard in the top-end Dynamique and a $600 option for the Expression.
While the looks will grab the most attention, it's the underpinnings of the Renault that will appeal to diehards used to the brand's hot hatches.
The Captur is destined to be a hit in the same way as the Clio light car it is based on.
The stiffened suspension definitely puts it at the sporty end of the light SUV brigade. The occasionally jumpy ride is compensated for by secure roadholding and one of the better steering feels in the class, but the pace, in either 900cc turbo three-cylinder manual or 1.2litre turbo four-cylinder auto, is at the moderate end of the scale.
This baby SUV is a smart mix of stylish looks and decent standard features.
Prices start at $22,990 for the turbo three-cylinder Expression with a five-speed auto; puts the Captur against the front-wheeldrive variants of the Ford EcoSport Trend at $22,290, Holden Trax LS from $23,990, the $22,090 Nissan Juke ST and the Peugeot 2008 Active from $21,990.
Standard gear includes a seven-inch touchscreen with satnav and a reversing camera, auto lights and wipers, keyless entry and a sliding rear bench seat that can mix and match rear legroom with cargo capacity.
With the seats in their most forward position, cargo space is a handy 377 litres.
The next step up gets the same interior features, but with a sixspeed twin-clutch automatic matched to a 1.2-litre four-cylinder for $25,990.
The Dynamique tops the range at $27,990 with a standard twotone paint job that's a $1000 option on the Expression, along with foglights with a cornering function, 17-inch alloy rims and washable zip-off seat covers.
The Captur doesn't have rear side airbags, but still gets five stars from the official Ancap testing regime.
The Captur rides 163mm off the ground and its hip point – the level of the seat squab – is 100mm higher than in a Clio.
That makes it easier to get in and out and the doors open wide enough to allow that.
In-car entertainment is handled by a seven-inch touchscreen with satnav. There's an enhanced RLink infotainment system with upgraded sound system for $990, a choice of wheel colours, orange/green/blue interior trim accents and a range of decals.
Personalisation is a trend brands are looking to leverage.
The sliding rear bench seat means four adults can squeeze in without needing to dislocate limbs. The back seat position is upright and the pews are flat but the essentials, head, leg and shoulder room, are all catered for.
The ride itself is choppy at urban pace over sharp-ridged bumps, especially in the back where the torsion beam rear end can crash over hits. It handles faster, open roads with shallower ruts with far more decorum.
Acceleration is acceptable in the 0.9litre three-cylinder, which rolls easily along the freeway at 110km/h, though overtaking moves would need to be well planned.
The 1.2litre is a second quicker to 100km/h and feels it both off the mark and during in-gear acceleration. The six-speed dual-clutch auto hesitates off the mark and isn't as crisp on the changes as more advanced models.
It does help keep fuel use down to 5.4litres/100km.
Verdict: Differences in design and layout should capture fans for this mini SUV. It has the price, packaging and high-riding position to earn a slice of the fastest growing segment in town.