The new and improved Renault Captur
When Renault launched the Captur in 2012 it didn’t have to try too hard because until then, nobody had even thought of making a compact crossover.
Today its ‘B-SUV’ as the trade now calls this type of car, has more than 20 rivals including the T-Cross from Volkswagen.
The new Captur had better be good then.
For now, it comes with a choice of petrol and diesel engines – but early next year a plug-in hybrid version will also be available.
That powertrain features some very clever technology including a novel gearbox. The engine likely to be most popular with UK buyers is the 1.0-litre 99bhp three-cylinder petrol.
The nearest to that at the international launch I attended was the 128bhp four-cylinder TCe 130.
The standard infotainment screen is 7 inches, but you can order a 9.3in portrait-format screen as an option.
It’s impressive, easy to use and has excellent graphics.
The other eye-catching feature is the ‘floating’ centre console on which the gear lever on our six-speed manual test car sits.
Ahead of it is a wireless charging plate for your phone, and underneath it a storage area.
With a new platform comes new vital statistics. The Captur is 110mm longer, 19mm wider and 17mm taller than it used to be.
The old car was hardly cramped, but there’s even more legroom in the new one. The rear seats slide back and forward over a 160mm range and the luggage area holds an impressive 536 litres.
That’s if you’ve slid the rear seats as far forward as they’ll go. You’ll pack a lot of shopping in, but your rear seat passengers will have their knees wedged against the front seats.
Go for maximum legroom and you’ll still have a useful 422 litres of load space.
Not only is the Captur’s new body bigger, it’s stiffer.
On the road this is obvious in a car that feels more robust, is quieter and more insulated from engine, tyre and wind noise.
If you’re looking for a fun car to drive, you’re looking in the wrong place – but the Captur has light steering, is surefooted in corners, has minimal body roll and acceptable ride comfort.
Our test car has 18in wheels, but I suspect the 17in rims fitted to the TCe100 will give a better ride.
This story first appeared here