SINCE its arrival in 2013 the Renault Captur has become the best-selling model in this company’s range. There are also more Capturs sold in Europe than any other small crossover. Helping the rejuvenation of Renault’s fortunes are larger versions from the same mould in the Kadjar and Koleos.
In this booming sector of the car industry new models are appearing with some frequency and my guess is that the hatchback and saloon shape will soon go out of fashion, perhaps for all time.
To help maintain its pole position and bring it in line with larger versions in the range, Renault has given the Captur necessary modifications.
I’m driving this new and updated Captur in top specification Signature S Nav with the familiar 1.5-litre diesel engine that’s mated to a six-speed manual gearbox.
My first impressions are that it’s a comfortable car and easy to get on with – but then I’m in a good mood as I follow a route of attractions in one of England’s most visited areas, the Cotswolds.
This region cannot be matched in Scotland. Many of the houses have thatched roofs, while contented cows and sheep chew their cud, and fields of wheat and oil rapeseed cover vast areas. Villages are from an era more than a thousand years ago, when Aethelbald and Aethelbert ruled England, and properties today, although of a much fresher vintage, have probably seen dozens of kings and queens come and go.
But back to the thoroughly modern Captur. All that’s been done in this update can be seen while all the oily bits remain the same.
And so the car has alterations to headlights, trim and taillights while there’s new skid plates, additional colour choices and an array of personalisation packs so you may create a bespoke cabin trim.
I’ve keyed in a loop with waypoints on the satellite navigation and its instant local knowledge is spot on as I’m taken along narrow country lanes with passing points.
A really good feature of this car is how fluid and composed its suspension is particularly over these minor roads and tracks that are rutted and scored by unsympathetic farm machinery.
This coupled to its quiet engine makes the ride truly impressive.
At the end of one narrow lane I arrive in the grey-limestone town of Faringdon where Alfred the Great had a palace. There is no sign of this now and the oldest building around is the Thirteenth-Century church, which has a low central tower after losing its spire in the Civil War.
Near here in Great Coxwell is the Great Barn that was built by monks about 700 years ago to store crops they grew or collected as tithes. It could easily hold a jumbo jet or a row of semi-detached houses.
Its massive roof is supported by slender oak posts mounted on stone bases and I start tip-toeing around it for fear that this may be the day the wooden pillars say enough is enough.
I suppose buildings may not be seen as part of the furniture in this area until they are at least 500 years old. The Old Swan Inn at Minster Lovell just qualifies but I’ve been haunted by a tale I heard in this
The winding lanes of Castle Combe in the Cotswolds were the perfect testing route for the new Renault Captur, below