Friday - - Motoring - Cap­tur SE 1.2-litre four-cyl turbo Six-speed auto, FWD 120bhp @ 4,900rpm @ 2,000rpm 192kph 10.9sec Dh62,900 Great all-rounder at a great price; nice colour op­tions Some French er­gonomics

Cap­tur is ba­si­cally a Clio, and to be fair that doesn’t im­me­di­ately bode well. wheels’ only taste of a Clio came when we pit­ted a 197bhp RS model against its hot hatch­back ri­vals, and it came fifth. Out of five. Cost­ing more than a 255bhp Ford Fo­cus ST didn’t help. But this is dif­fer­ent.

The Cap­tur is a jackedup Clio with a lit­tle 1.2-litre tur­bocharged en­gine and that’s awe­some, be­cause hardly any other man­u­fac­turer in the re­gion of­fers its mod­ern, small­ca­pac­ity force-fed en­gines in GCC-spec. They all par­rot some­thing about fuel qual­ity and high tem­per­a­tures. Ford won’t com­mit to the Mid­dle East with a tur­bocharged Eco­boost en­gine less than 2-litres in ca­pac­ity. Volk­swa­gen caps it at 2-litres too. The Kore­ans also. GM as well – it won’t even let us have a force-fed Sonic. Mini is just about the only marque sell­ing small-ca­pac­ity tur­bocharged, mod­ern, and ef­fi­cient three-cylin­der en­gines in our re­gion, al­beit at a stupid pre­mium. o al­ready, I like this Re­nault and its courage, no less, to give us a 1.2-litre turbo. The Cap­tur has a six-speed au­to­matic too – you won’t find any of those four-speed hand-me-downs here. Its han­dling isn’t great, ba­si­cally. I mean, you can’t win ’em all. The car grips just fine but it rolls a whole lot and the steer­ing has too much cen­tre slack, though it does even­tu­ally steer at least, and hon­estly, it’s noth­ing alarm­ing and noth­ing that would turn you against it any­way. It’s a cross­over, not a Clio RS…

Other than that, the Cap­tur rides re­ally well, eas­ily cruis­ing over bumps at speed, and is eco­nom­i­cal: you can push that 1.2-litre all you want but you’ll have to try way too hard to con­sume more than 8.0 litres per 100km.

To be fair I had it in Eco mode pretty much all week, but even so the thing makes 120bhp, with 190Nm of torque from just 2,000rpm. In fact I don’t think I ever revved it any higher; I didn’t need to. The Duster is only marginally bet­ter, but with a 2.0-litre en­gine and sig­nif­i­cantly poorer fuel econ­omy. And then, get this… The Cap­tur has a du­al­clutch ’box. Taunt your Juke-driv­ing friends with that one.

The in­te­rior, too, is nice, spa­cious and full of ef­fort. In­stead of suc­cumb­ing to swathes of black and grey plas­tic, the Cap­tur utilises black and grey tex­turised and dim­pled plas­tic. It has four airbags, and the seats are all child-friendly Isofix thin­gies, and the wash­able seat cov­ers (patented, no less) have zip­pers so you can re­move them and make them your laun­dry ser­vice’s prob­lem.

The rest of it? There is some ques­tion­able leather on the steer­ing wheel and am­bi­tious shine in the plas­tic, but I like the over­sized speedometer (dig­i­tal kph read­out) and the fan­tas­tic drawer-type glove­box, which proved a hit with the guys in the of­fice (per­haps it doesn’t take much to ex­cite us).

The space and head­room is a plus too, as is the ex­cel­lent two-tier boot, plus, and I re­ally wanted to type this in all-caps so just imag­ine it: the en­tire rear bench slides as one! But then Re­nault, in typ­i­cally French fash­ion, coun­ters that with some typ­i­cally French er­gonomics. The stereo con­trols be­hind the steer­ing wheel are hid­den and id­i­otic, and the mas­sive ra­dio knob, in­stead of in­tu­itively con­trol­ling vol­ume, con­trols the fre­quency! So the mo­ment your tune comes on, in­stead of pump­ing up the vol­ume you change the sta­tion.

Fur­ther­more the cruise con­trol but­ton is be­neath the park­ing brake, which makes per­fect sense if your name is Pierre or Jac­ques. Also, the ra­dio re­cep­tion is rub­bish. Other than that, you get au­to­matic win­dows (and a one­touch driver’s one), au­to­matic head­lamps, a use­ful trip com­puter, au­to­matic air con­di­tion­ing, and if you opt for the top-spec model, sat-nav and 17in wheels, too. Ours was the mid­dle-of-the-range SE with 16in rims and most ev­ery­thing you re­ally need.

At Dh62,900, you re­ally can’t go wrong.

The car has four airbags, Isofix child-friendly seats and wash­able seat cov­ers with zip­pers for re­moval

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