by Kannan Chandran, www.storm-asia.com
WITH the aim of cornering a sizeable portion of the SUV market, Renault introduced the crossover Captur in 2013.
With its small form and bright colours, its popularity in Europe, where small city cars have become acceptable practice, was quickly built up.
The same can’t be said of Captur’s penetration in the local market. Though, as a new model, the Captur might help lift the Renault brand name with this second-generation release.
Initially introduced in Singapore as a 1.5L diesel and a 1.2 petrol in 2014, the latest version has a 1.3L petrol engine onboard, delivering 96kW of power. This is a much-needed jump from the previous models — 66kW for the 1.5 diesel and 89kW for the petro1 — which felt underpowered.
The new Captur has also been loaded with all the features that would appeal to a mass audience that has taken to living with mobile devices and expects that seamless continuity in their cars.
The new Captur is larger and continues to reflect a sense of fun, obvious in the number of folds on its body and the attention-grabbing, two-tone paintwork like Atacama Orange and Flame Red for the Privilege variant.
The two variants of the current model have the same engine, but the Privilege option has around $7K worth of trim, including more chrome, leather seats, a floating centre console, larger 9.3” touchscreen, two-tone 17” rims, and C-shaped LED daytime lights.
Originally intended to come in under *$100K, the Captur busts that by almost $25K.
You can understand why the Captur captured the imagination of the European market. While not particularly fast it does have a sensible aspect to it that has broad appeal.
The frugal use of fuel and the touches that make practical sense is important in the final decision in the mass market.
The new Captur has a seven-speed transmission which makes for a more fuel-efficient drive, requiring around 6L to deliver 100km.
There is a reasonable boot for a crossover, and you can make more space by shifting the rear seat forward by pulling a lever in the boot. And you can collapse the seats as well.
While larger than its predecessor, the new Captur is still a bit tight in the back for adults.
Upon entering, the welcoming sound reverberates through the cabin via the 3D Arkamys 8-speaker audio system. You can set the mood for your drive by changing the ambient lighting — 8 options are available.
While comfortable, your leather driving seat offers limited adjustment options. But you can still get into a reasonably comfortable driving position.
The driver-centric cockpit has a lot of bright displays and readouts to get you intimate with the car. The upright centre display is by now a familiar feature, just as the round dials in the MINI.
As in many other makes of car, most functions are accessible via the touchscreen. But there are still a few knobs — for the air-conditioning. A smart move since it’s not such a good idea to try to hunt down the right spot on the screen to practice your hand-eye control while on the move. The small icons make it even more challenging to stab at your intended target on the go. Now you get a sense of what hunting with a spear while riding could feel like.
Wired CarPlay gives you connectivity to your phone, which may be a better option in some instances. Your phone’s AI would have figured out aspects of your life better than Renault’s onboard functions. The navigation isn’t smart enough to get you from A to B in the shortest fashion, preferring to take you along the scenic route. That’s fine if you’ve got the time and patience for it.
Generally, in the daily rush around, it’s easier to plug your phone in and let it show the way, warning you of traffic hazards en route, though at times CarPlay and Android Auto tend to hit some dark frozen patches, leaving you to find your way sans assistance.
There are three drive functions available in the Captur.
In default normal driving mode, you can adjust elements of the drive, like the stiffness of the steering, to your desired preference.
In normal city driving, the gear shifts are smooth and the Captur is tame and controllable. But when you put it to the test, the steering becomes twitchy and you find yourself correcting heavily to stay in your lane.
In sport mode, accessible via the 9.3” touchscreen — thus improving hour hunting skills — the engine throbs earnestly to let you nip ahead, though with 0-100kmh taking around 10 seconds, those you’ve left behind will soon be catching up. There are paddle shifters in the event you’re tackling a twisting road with an incline.
What is unexpectedly appealing about the Captur is the Eco mode. Normally this is when the car becomes a pale shadow of itself as the air-con barely works and the engine feels like it wants to take a nap. But in the Captur, it still performed well, with 10% fuel efficiency.
Driver aids are included as expected, emergency brake assist, anti-lock braking and electronic stability control. The auto-hold function, useful for heavy traffic or on slopes, is very sticky and is jerky upon release. When reverse gear is engaged, the centre screen lights up with an image of what’s behind, though the video feed is jerky and a bit unsettling.
There isn’t much by way of concealed storage in the Captur. The glove compartment and the centre armrest offer some privacy, though the sliding armrest isn’t very comfortable for the driver as it doesn’t lock into position easily.
The Captur is another combatant in a congested segment where the slightest shift in price could see gains to be enjoyed by the customer.
Engine: 1,322cc turbocharged
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Max output: 96kW @5,000rpm
Max torque: 240Nm @1,600rpm
0-100kmh: 9.6 seconds
Top speed: 193kmh
Fuel consumption: 6.1L/100km
Gross weight: 1,816kg
Fuel tank: 48L
Width: 2,003mm (with side mirrors)
Height: 1,585mm (with roof bars)
VES banding: B
* Confirm pricing and deals with distributor Wearnes Automotive
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