THERE’S wacky and there’s wacky. And then there’s the Renault Captur – their seemingly off the wall slant on the current fad for producing supermini crossovers.
Talk about polarising opinion. I’ve yet to see one that wasn’t resplendent in a combination of colours and our test mule this week is no exception – oyster grey in the main, but with a metallic orangey bronze roof and exterior trim detailing that makes it stand out in any car park.
No longer is there a need to press the blipper on your remote control and see which set of side lights flash in a crowded car park. Captur is there, in your face, and if it could lift a wheel and wave it to attract your attention, it probably would.
What you get, as well as a highly distinctive car (which is also available in good old plain black, by the way), is something that bundles together the versatility of an MPV with the scaled down looks of an SUV and all the good bits of family hatchback ownership – predictable ride and handling, good space and decent economy, if the diesel engine sampled here is anything to go by.
Weighing in with a modest 1461ccs, the famously frugal 90hp diesel has a very adequate torque figure of 220Nm, which imbibes it with decent punch. It seems a bit swifter than the 13.1 second 0-62 time would suggest, and there always seems to be enough urgency under your right foot to get it up and running.
Being slightly higher than the norm, with 200mm ground clearance, means getting captured by the Captur is easier than most, and building it on the underpinnings of the latest fourth generation Clio means its handling characteristics are well ironed out. It’s slightly longer and wider to give more cabin and load space but despite the extra height it still feels stable enough under most circumstances.
There’s plenty room aboard for five adults, with a decent amount of bootspace also on offer, and there are four options in the range available in the UK – Expression, Expression+, Dynamique MediaNav and Dynamique S MediaNav.
Equipment common to all models includes alloy wheels (16 or 17 inch), cruise control, 60/40folding and sliding rear bench seat, electric windows all round, trip computer, hill start assist, ESC and traction control, and fuel-saving ECO drive mode.
MediaNav models benefit from an integrated seven inch touchscreen display with Navteq Nav’n’Go navigation that’s easy to use and gives you access to a host of features.
And a neat touch with Captur is that the seat covers can be unzipped and lobbed into the washing machine at home if they get grubby. The boot area too is well thought out – it’s carpeted on one side and finished in easy-clean rubber on the other if your weekend activities involve getting down and dirty….
That big Renault diamond logo features big and proud at the front end so there’s no doubt what it is, and once word gets round, the colourways will be a useful hint too.
They extend across the upholstery, trim details, wheels and external styling bits, and you can also opt for a two tone paint finish. In fact, there are a vast number of personalisation opportunities.
Captur-ing the imagination? It certainly Captur’s the eye with its lively looks.
FASTFACTS: Renault Captur Dynamique MediaNav dCi 90; £16,395; 1461cc direct common rail injection diesel, 90hp, 220Nm@1750rpm; five speed manual gearbox; top speed 106mph, 0-62mph 13.1; fuel – urban 67.2, extra urban 83.1, combined 76.4; CO2 95g/km; will it fit the garage? 4122/1778/1566 (l/w/h); Renault 4+ warranty.