Renault Captur Review: Hot New Compact SUV Driven!

The much-awaited Renault Captur compact SUV was unveiled, and I got my hands on it for a drive in lush green Goa. This enabled me a mix of tight and narrow country roads, spurts of thick traffic, winding hilly bits and yes — rough broken roads too. It is available in 1.5 litre diesel and petrol. The oil burner is mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox while the petrol comes with a 5-speed. There is no automatic on either sadly — a big miss in my book, especially given that Renault is pitching this car at us as holding a premium, sophisticated and high-end appeal. (But I will get to this point later.)

 

Renault Captur

₹ 15 – 20 Lakh *

(Expected Price)

Expected Intro : Oct 2017

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Watch Renault Captur Review ☟

 

Now, if any one of that premium positioning talk sounds familiar, it’s because a similar pitch was made with the Duster — Renault’s best selling car which the Captur shares the M0 platform with. Unlike the Captur sold in Europe this is a bigger car, and yes while it is so similar to the Brazilian and Russian one, ours is a lot more upmarket. And that is intentional says Renault because it is trying to position the car a bit differently here. The main rationale is that it believes that’s where the Indian buyer is going, and also to keep a distinct differentiation between the Duster and this car. Well, Renault thinks that Captur will be easier to pronounce in India. In a market with goods like KUV — where K stands for ‘Kool’, I don’t think Kaptur would have been a stretch! Go figure! Renault also says it is to follow along with the global naming mandate with this model family. Therefore, it would appear Renault Russia went rogue didn’t it? Or perhaps it was just a cultural thing. Let’s leave it at that!

 

The Captur Platine is exactly what I drove too, and it has everything you can possibly think of — including specially designed quilted leatherette seats — much like a premium manufacturer model would have. The top spec gets LED headlights as well as the roof is a comparison two-tone finish.

 

Dimensions        Renault Captur

Length  4329mm

Wheelbase         2673mm

Width    1813mm

Height   1619mm

Tyre Size              215/60 R17

Boot Volume     392 litres (expandable to 1352 litres)

Ground Clearance           210mm

Gas Tank              50 litres

Isofix child seat restraints are as well, I should include.

 

The Renault Captur gets LED DRLs

 

The driver-side chair is manually height flexible — but sits almost too tall — I discovered the smallest position felt like it had been completely raised — thus never mind the highest! Thus Renault needs to take heed and maybe rework the height of the front chairs. The central console and AC vents are finished with a ‘gold and white’ bezel — that to me looked more bronze and chrome! This is only in the top spec. The console houses a touch screen with audio and navigation — much like the one found in the Duster, Lodgy, as well as the Kwid. The interface is also similar, and there is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto regrettably. Renault India says it’s working on bringing people to its cars soon. The car syncs with your phone via Bluetooth anyway though and also for music alone, the USB plugin will do just fine. The steering has controls for the phone etc., but for audio you need to get into the stack behind the steering — like in the Duster and previous Renaults. It works fine but requires some getting used to.

 

The Renault Captur comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

 

Rear legroom is not cavernous, but you won’t be terribly disappointed either. Knee room is good, however, and there is a rear AC vent (recirculation fan like in the Scala/Duster). I think if Renault gives us ‘killer’ pricing then the lack of generous room could possibly be forgiven quite easily (just think Compass!) . The chair back though is extremely comfortable and the excess ride height also has you sitting higher, giving you great knee angle and also under-thigh support. Renault says it has spent extra about making the Indian version’s seats more comfortable! It reveals. Boot area is 392 litres and with the next row folded down that expands to 1352 litres. That is a charging point just behind the rear seat on the left side — which is easily accessible because it sits high alongside the parcel tray.

 

We only got to drive the diesel version of this Captur

 

Lright then, lets get to the drive shall we? Let me remind you I am just testing the diesel today. The K9K block is all too familiar, and by that I mean literally so! It acts and performs almost exactly as its condition of song in the Duster The specs are basically identical. So the good news is that you will not have any surprises on the car. Its performs nearly identically too! The engine has lag in the lower end, and once you get it past 2000 rpm it goes like a rocket. The mid range is great, and you will find the gearbox is well mated to it — just like (you guessed it!) in the Duster! The 6-speed is a fantastic choice as it channels the peak torque through to the wheels well. Peak torque kicks in below 1800 rpm and so you get good city traffic manoeuvrability too. The engine’s roar filters through to the cabin, but it is not disturbing or annoying. Its healthy and guttural, and the car sounds prepared for action. Overall the noise damping is far better than that about the Duster though. And that is the main difference — its like they took all of the great bits on the Duster and just gave it an additional layer of refinement. Considering that the Duster’s success and popularity that is not a bad thing now is it? Of course as soon as you choose this route, remember that the bits which were lacking on the Duster have come along for the ride too. This is in regard to performance and dynamics naturally. On interiors and overall materials and finish the Captur is definitely ahead.

 

K9K 1.5 dci Diesel

Displacement    1461cc

Max.

Handling is surprisingly good I need to say. I say surprisingly because I was worried that the rather generous 210 mm ground clearance could make it wobbly or top-heavy feeling. It is neither. The car takes corners well, though I would not go as far as to call it very sporty. Again — think Duster! Therefore it holds an intended line, and the steering is correctly stiff with decent feedback. The ride quality is also sorted and the suspension set up is indeed like the Duster’s. So it’s a supple ride, with the capability of swallowing up mainly anything. However, the Captur doesn’t get AWD, as Renault believes the purchaser in this space isn’t actually looking to go off-roading. And if they’re then the Duster is your option for them anyhow. But the car managed it quite well. Now the floor clearance certainly helped! Renault says that of all of the Captur iterations worldwide, the India spec gets the highest clearance. 5mm higher than Russia’s Kaptur, and our Duster!

 

The Indian version Captur gets the highest floor clearance of 210 mm

 

Ut now to the incongruity in Renault’s contention. On the one hand Renault claims this car is for the sophisticated, the upwardly mobile urbanite who doesn’t require 4X4. On the other it doesn’t offer you the exact same customer an automatic option! Nope, that does not add up. You see the M0 platform with the diesel K9K isn’t offered with an autobox on any of its product lines. The Europe did not take a automatic (Dacia) Duster diesel, recall? That is why Renault went in because of its own homegrown AMT on the diesel Duster in India. And an AMT would certainly not function with the entire premium positioning of the Captur, now do it? Input the CVT on the gas side — and there I hold out hope that Renault will launch the CVT Captur soon enough. With around 30 per cent of the Rs 10-18 lakh marketplace going towards automatics, Renault cannot manage to have no offering for this buyer set. Food for thought then for the French business.

 

The Captur will be a premium offering from Renault in India

 

So online is the Captur a welcome addition to the marketplace? Yes most certainly. It is stylish, provides unique style and is unlike another product in lots of ways. The fact that Renault is going to town with personalization options is also great. These span everything from excessive (!)) Chrome add-ons to theme-based stickers, even a range of roof wraps along with a trendy chrome embellishment for the front grille (kind of reminds me of the A-Class’ diamond grille). Now to the prices — which will only be announced at start next month. While chatting with Sumit Sawhney, CEO at Renault India, I got this — The car will compete in the C-SUV space (compact SUV) and that now sees products like Creta, Compass, etc.. And that segment works in the Rs 15 lakh price point. So infer what you will. All I know is that I would be quite surprised if Renault were to price the car at a premium. I expect very aggressive prices — as this is a Duster rival too after all- and will possibly see pricing in the Rs 12-15 lakh range. I don’t anticipate too many variants either as Sumit promises that even the so called ‘foundation’ variant will have tons of equipment, as I too pointed out earlier. Is the distance hotting up then? You bet! Dare I say the Vitara, baby?

 

Power   103.8 bhp @ 5600 rpm

Peak Torque      142 Nm @ 4000 rpm

Trnasmission      5-Speed Guide

[Source:AUTO.NDTV.COM]

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