MT reviews: Renault Captur dCi 90

While this crossover has a name fit for a ferocious dinosaur, it moves about as fast as a tectonic plate, says Sathnam Sanghera.

by Sathnam Sanghera
Last Updated: 03 Jun 2014

If this wasn't a motoring slot but something more general instead and, in the process of reading, you came across the word 'captur', what do you think it would signify? A kind of dinosaur? An agricultural implement? An oversight by a subeditor?

It's a strange name. But the car it is plastered on is even more odd. Renault describes the Captur as its 'first supermini crossover - a stylish, innovative, fun-to-drive and keenly priced car that combines MPV versatility with SUV looks and family-hatchback refinement, ride and handling'. Some might say it would be better described as 'confused'.

The Captur is the size of a small car, and yet offers the high-set driving position of a 4x4. From certain angles, it looks like a van, from others, somehow, like a kind of motorbike. And the mixed signals continue once you're behind the wheel.

The jazzy dashboard and the TomTom satnav, which rather grimly informs you of the number of incidents there have been on your stretch of road when you start up, combine to suggest performance. But the only way you'd get the Captur to move at a significant velocity is if you drove it off a cliff.

At one point, going at 50 mph on a steep section of a motorway, I floored the Captur and timed how long it took to get to the national speed limit. A minute and a half later, it still hadn't hit 70 mph. So anaemic was the performance that when I got back home, I checked my documentation to make sure I hadn't been sent the 1.2-litre version of the car in error. But I hadn't: it really was the 1.5-litre diesel.

An encouraging development in the car industry of late has been that engineers keep getting more and more power out of small engines. But, while Renault's 1.5 dCi 90 diesel is impressively frugal, it is the exception that proves the rule in performance. The only good thing I can say about it is that it sometimes removes the need to brake: just take your foot off the accelerator and you come to a standstill almost instantly.

Apparently, the Captur is built on the underpinnings of the fourth-generation Clio, which is a fantastic little car. But somewhere along the process of lengthening the platform to create a more spacious cabin and load space, widening the track, apparently to 'ensure confident and stable handling' and making the car taller to offer more ground clearance and fit larger wheels, Renault has lost the magic.


Renault Captur Dynamique MediaNav dCi 90


Engine: 1,461 cc, four-cylinder, turbodiesel

Transmission: five-speed manual

Fuel consumption: 76.4 mpg (combined cycle)

CO2 emissions: 95 g/km

Power: 90 bhp @ 4,000 rpm

Torque: 162 lb/ft @ 1,750 rpm

0-62mph: 13.1 seconds

Top speed: 106 mph

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