Renault Captur Review: Hot New Compact SUV Driven!

The much-awaited Renault Captur compact SUV has been 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 streets too. The oil burner is mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox while the petrol comes with a 5-speed. (But I will get to this point later.)

Renault Captur

₹ 15 – 20 Lakh *

(Expected Price)

Expected Intro : Oct 2017

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But if any of that premium positioning conversation sounds familiar, it’s because a similar pitch was created with all 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 far more upmarket. And that is intentional says Renault as it is trying to position the car a bit differently here. The main reason is that it believes that’s where the Indian consumer is going, and also to maintain a distinct differentiation between the Duster and this car. So it is only in India that Renault will market the car in a top end Platine variant. Oh and in case you’re wondering why ours isn’t called Kaptur like the Russian one? Well, Renault thinks that Captur will be easier to pronounce in India. In a marketplace with products like KUV — where K stands for ‘Kool’, I do not think Kaptur would’ve been a stretch! Go figure! Renault also says it is to follow the global naming mandate with this model family. Therefore, it would appear Renault Russia went rogue didn’t it? Or maybe it was just a cultural thing. Let us leave it at that!

The Renault Captur is available in India in the Platine Variant

The Captur Platine is what I drove too, and it gets everything you can possibly think of — including specially designed quilted leatherette chairs — much like a premium brand model could 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 (Glad to 1352 litres)

Ground Clearance           210mm

Gas Tank              50 litres

The LED daytime running lights, floating front indicators (a la Audi), black cladding, 17″ alloys, ‘ripple effect’ taillights and even safety features like dual airbags, ABS and EBD are standard. Isofix child seat restraints are too, I must add.

The Renault Captur gets LED DRLs

The driver-side chair is manually height adjustable — but sits almost too tall — I found the lowest position felt like it was completely raised — so never mind the highest! Thus Renault needs to take heed and maybe rework the height of the front seats. The central console and AC vents are finished with a ‘gold and white’ bezel — that to me seemed more chrome and bronze! This is only in the top spec. The console houses a touch display with audio and navigation — much like the one seen in the Duster, Lodgy, as well as the Kwid. The interface is also similar, and there is not any Apple CarPlay or Android Auto sadly. Renault India says it’s working on bringing people to its cars soon. The car syncs with your phone via Bluetooth anyhow 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 takes some getting used to.

Rear legroom is not cavernous, but you will not be terribly disappointed either. Knee room is good, however, and there’s a rear AC port (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 very comfortable and the extra ride height also has you sitting higher, giving you great knee angle and under-thigh support. Renault says it has spent extra on making the Indian version’s seats more comfortable! It reveals. Boot area is 392 litres and with the next row folded down which extends to 1352 litres. There 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? Allow me to remind you I am just testing the diesel today. The K9K cube is all too familiar, and by that I mean literally so! It behaves and performs almost exactly as its condition of tune in the Duster Even the specs are pretty much identical. So the great thing is that you will have no surprises on the car. Its performs nearly identically too! The engine has lag at the lower end, and once you get it past 2000 rpm it moves like a rocket. The mid range is good, and you will find the gearbox is well mated to it — just like (you guessed it!) The 6-speed is a fantastic choice as it creates the peak torque through to the wheels well. Peak torque kicks in below 1800 rpm and thus you get very 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 the good bits on the Duster and just gave it an added layer of refinement. Considering the Duster’s success and popularity that is not a bad thing now is it? Of course as soon as you pick this route, remember that the bits that were lacking on the Duster have come along for the ride too. This is in regard to performance and dynamics of course. On interiors and overall materials and finish the Captur is definitely ahead.

Handling is surprisingly good I have to say. I say surprisingly because I had been worried that the rather generous 210 millimeter ground clearance could make it shaky or top-heavy feeling. It is neither. The car takes corners well, though I wouldn’t go as far as to call it very sporty. Again — think Duster! So it holds an intended line, and the steering is properly stiff with decent feedback. The ride quality is also sorted and the suspension set up is indeed like the Duster’s. But the Captur does not 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 the option for them anyhow. I did mange to go off the road briefly — nothing too intense though. However, the car handled it very well. Now the ground clearance certainly helped! Renault says that of all 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 ground clearance of 210 mm

On the one hand Renault claims this car is for its sophisticated, the upwardly mobile urbanite who does not require 4X4. On the other it does not offer the exact same customer an automatic option! Nope, that doesn’t add up. You find that the M0 platform with an diesel K9K isn’t offered with an autobox on some of its product lines. The Europe did not require an automatic (Dacia) Duster diesel, remember? That’s why Renault went in for its own homegrown AMT on the diesel Duster in India. And yet an AMT would certainly not function with the whole premium positioning of this Captur, now would it? Input the CVT on the petrol side — and there I hold out hope that Renault will start the CVT Captur shortly enough. With around 30 percent of the Rs 10-18 lakh market going towards automatics, Renault cannot manage to have no offering for that buyer set. Food for thought then for the French company.

So online is your Captur a welcome addition to the marketplace? Yes most certainly. It is stylish, offers unique style and is unlike any other product in many ways. The fact that Renault is going to town with personalization options is likewise great. These span everything from excessive (!) Chrome add-ons to theme-based stickers, even an array of roof wraps and a cool chrome embellishment for the front grille (kind of reminds me of the A-Class’ diamond grille). Now to the prices — which will simply be declared at launch next month. While chatting with Sumit Sawhney, CEO in Renault India, I obtained this — The car will compete in the C-SUV space (compact SUV) and that currently sees goods like Creta, Compass, etc.. And that segment operates in the Rs 15 lakh price point. All I know is that I would be very 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 really don’t anticipate too many variants either as Sumit promises that even the so called ‘base’ variant will have plenty of equipment, as I too pointed out earlier. Is the distance hotting up afterward? You bet! Dare I say the Vitara, baby?

1.5 H4KL Petrol

Displacement    1498cc

Max. Power       103.8 bhp @ 5600 rpm

Peak Torque      142 Nm @ 4000 rpm

Trnasmission      5-Speed Guide

[SOURCE:AUTO.NDTV.COM]

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