The Renault Captur 1.2 TCe is the most expensive petrol version of the company’s mini-SUV, and it’s available only with the company's twin-clutch (EDC) automatic gearbox.
We’ve already tested this powertrain in the Clio GT Line, but this is the first time we’ve tried it in Renault's small SUV. The engine is available only in the top two trim levels – Dynamique Media Nav and Dynamique S Media Nav.
The market for affordable, practical runarounds with an automatic gearbox is small, but there's more choice than you might think – so is the Captur 1.2 competitive?
What’s the Renault Captur 1.2 TCe like to drive?
This 118bhp petrol is the most refined engine in the Captur range. While the 89bhp 1.5 diesel and entry-level 0.9 petrol can both feel slightly strained at motorway speeds, the 1.2 is relaxed when cruising at 70mph. In fact, the only intrusion is some wind noise around the door mirrors.
Around town, the six-speed automatic gearbox can be indecisive and slow-witted, and these traits are amplified when you floor the throttle to pull away from junctions or out at roundabouts. Things are much smoother if you avoid putting your foot down.
In stop-start traffic, the auto ’box is impressive. It’s best left in Eco mode when you’re queuing, which restricts power delivery and keeps things as smooth as possible.
While the six-speed auto does have a manual mode, there are no paddles behind the steering wheel. Instead, you simply knock the gear lever forwards or back to change up and down. However, it’s much better to simply leave the ‘box to its own devices.
The 1.2 offers all the other virtues of other Captur models. There’s plenty of grip through corners, and while there’s noticeable body roll, the Renault is more predictable and planted than a Nissan Juke or Peugeot 2008.
The steering is light, which makes for easy urban manoeuvring, but it's also rather vague and lifeless when cornering. That said, this makes the car feel stable on the motorway.
The Captur's fairly supple suspension does a good job of soaking up bumps and potholes in urban environments, although things get slightly fussier the faster you go. You're never tossed around uncomfortably, but are always aware of small road surface imperfections, which can become tiring on long motorway journeys.
What’s the Renault Captur 1.2 TCe like inside?
The 1.2 petrol engine is available only on the high-spec Media Nav models, which means you get a smart and user-friendly touch-screen infotainment system as standard.
Less impressive is the Captur's dashboard, which feels hard and cheap, and is certainly nowhere near as classy as a Peugeot 2008's.
Drivers of all sizes should be able to get comfortable, though, because there's plenty of front headroom and a decent range of adjustment in the seat and steering wheel.
Taller rear passengers may find that their knees pressing against the seat in front, but two average adults will find the rear bench comfortable enough for most journeys. There’s more rear headroom than you’ll find in a Nissan Juke, too.
The boot is one of the Captur’s best features. The 377-litre space expands to 455 litres if you slide the rear seats all the way forward. The latter is nearly as much you’ll find in a BMW 3 Series, and much more than in similarly priced rivals, such as the Ford Ecosport.
It’s a shame the 60/40 split bench can only be moved as one piece, but there is at least a clever boot floor that can be flipped (to give a wipe-down surface for mucky boots), raised (to give a level loading bay, plus a hidden space underneath) or positioned diagonally (so that shopping bags can be wedged in to prevent groceries flying around).
Should I buy one?
If you want a stylish family runabout that’s cheap to run, but more practical than your average supermini, the Captur should definitely be on your shortlist. This 1.2 isn’t our pick of the range (that honour goes to the cheaper 0.9 TCe), but makes sense if you need an auto.
True, Renault's EDC ’box isn’t as slick as the DSG auto that you can get in the Skoda Yeti 1.2 TSI, but that car is far more expensive to buy and run. The Nissan Juke 1.6 CVT matches the Renault on price, but the Captur is better to drive, a good deal more practical, and will also be cheaper to run.
What Car? says...
Specification 1.2 TCe EDC automatic
Engine size 1.2-litre turbo petrol
Price from £17,195
Torque 140lb ft
0-62mph 10.9 seconds
Top speed 119mph
Fuel economy 52.3mpg