The Herald Magazine - - CONTENTS - AN­DREW MACKAY

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

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