Whether it’s a German performance sedan or a French crossover, cars from Europe know how to turn on the charm.

WHAT IS IT?

A hatchback on heels, the Captur is a stylish and sprightly vehicle with a premium feel and a lovable character.

WHY THIS?

A crossover offers what many people want – a nod to SUV styling, increased ground clearance, a higher driving position, but with the ease to drive and charming road manners of a hatchback. The Captur is an elegant example based on the lovely Clio.  

OUTSIDE

Renault has managed to get the design spot on with the Captur – it stands out from the majority of this highly contested segment without doing anything over the top. A fair bit bigger than the model it replaces (it is now 105mm longer with a 33mm longer wheelbase, and is also 19mm wider), it has good road presence despite being more curved where many are boxy and aggressive, while the styling highlights are undoubtedly the LED head and tail lights as well as the chrome detail that highlights the svelte profile. Its 17-inch wheels give the car a bold presence and assist in the 174mm ground clearance.

INSIDE

This is where the Captur has made the biggest strides – it feels far more upmarket than its predecessor with higher-quality materials at all major touchpoints. The cloth seats are beautifully tactile, as is the futuristic aluminium gear selector. As with most modern vehicles, the dash is dominated by a large touchscreen (on the Intens model – the Zen gets a smaller screen) from which most of the features are accessed. Some of the many interior features include six airbags (front, side and curtain), park distance control, heated steering wheel (Intens model), rear view camera, lane departure and tyre pressure detector.

A nice, practical touch is that the rear bench seat can be slid backwards and forwards up to 16cm to prioritise either boot space or leg space as it is needed. Luggage space increases from 404 litres to 536 litres as the seats are moved, while folding the seats down flat increases luggage capacity to 1275 litres. The seats have a 60/40 split for added convenience.

THE DRIVE

With a 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine, you’d be forgiven for assuming that the Captur is underpowered, but the 113kW engine surprises in how punchy it feels in real world driving. This is largely down to the 270Nm of torque and the advanced 7-speed automatic transmission, as is the impressive fuel consumption of 6.6L/100km.

An old colleague of mine always said that the French make the best suspensions, and the Captur lives up to this bold claim with a competent balance between ride comfort and handling.

FINAL WORD

The Renault Captur is a car you will buy because you feel a connection and love it, and that’s as good a reason to buy a car as any. It deserves success, too, because it is as practical as it is stylish, but the number of competitors in this class and price range will make life difficult for sellers.

GO GET IT

There are two models in the range, the Zen and the Intens, and they are priced at R454 999 and R499 999, respectively. A 5-year/150 000km warranty and a 3-year/45 000km service plan are standard. Visit www.renault.co.za.

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