SPECS AND RATING Model Engine
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