Renault Captur review

Category: Small SUV

Small SUV is good on safety and equipment but there are more appealing alternatives

Orange Renault Captur front right driving
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  • Renault Captur interior dashboard
  • Orange Renault Captur boot open
  • Renault Captur interior infotainment
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  • Orange Renault Captur front cornering
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  • Orange Renault Captur rear right driving
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  • Renault Captur headlights detail
  • Renault Captur side detail
  • Renault Captur PHEV charging socket
  • Renault Captur rear badge detail
  • Renault Captur interior front seats
  • Renault Captur interior back seats
  • Renault Captur interior steering wheel detail
  • Renault Captur interior detail
  • Orange Renault Captur front right driving
  • Renault Captur interior dashboard
  • Orange Renault Captur boot open
  • Renault Captur interior infotainment
  • Orange Renault Captur right driving
  • Orange Renault Captur front cornering
  • Orange Renault Captur front right driving
  • Orange Renault Captur rear right driving
  • Orange Renault Captur right static
  • Renault Captur headlights detail
  • Renault Captur side detail
  • Renault Captur PHEV charging socket
  • Renault Captur rear badge detail
  • Renault Captur interior front seats
  • Renault Captur interior back seats
  • Renault Captur interior steering wheel detail
  • Renault Captur interior detail
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Introduction

What Car? says...

If a car could ever be compared to pro surfer Kelly Slater, it’s probably the Renault Captur. You see, while it wasn’t the first small SUV on the market, its perfect timing meant it could ride the crest of a wave that's become a flood of high-riding compact cars.

Since then, the Captur has evolved, retaining the distinctive looks that made it so popular but improving inside and underneath. There are plusher interior plastics, for example, and the Captur has had a slight growth spurt, so there's now more space for passengers and their luggage.

Under the bonnet, Renault gives you a choice of a petrol engine with 89bhp or hybrid and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) options. The punchiest power figure belongs to the PHEV – called the E-Tech – which combines a petrol engine with an electric motor to reduce emissions and allow you to do some electric-only driving.

All these updates were needed if the Captur is going to stay competitive in the dog-eat-dog world of small SUVs but has it done enough? Does it drive as well as the Ford Puma? Is it as spacious as the Skoda Kamiq? And is it as comfortable as the VW T-Roc? Read on to find out...

Orange Renault Captur rear cornering

Overview

We can see the appeal of the Renault Captur’s affordable starting price, but by the time you get an engine with enough power coupled to the right trim, it doesn't look quite such a bargain. What’s more, the Puma is a better all-rounder and the Kamiq more comfortable and practical. If you do get one, we recommend the E-Tech Full Hybrid 145 in Techno trim.

  • Keen starting price
  • Sliding rear seats standard
  • Good safety rating
  • Engines are relatively weak
  • Rivals have more rear seat space
  • E-Tech PHEV is disappointing to drive
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox

The engine range for the Renault Captur range kicks off with the TCe 90, an 89bhp turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol that comes exclusively with a six-speed manual gearbox. If you're hoping for the peppiness you get from the entry-level Seat Arona, Skoda Kamiq or VW T-Cross you'll find it disappointingly sluggish. There's very little urgency unless you work it hard.

That’s why we’d suggest stepping up to the mid-spec E-Tech Full Hybrid 145. It's best suited to trundling around in traffic at low speeds, but is also punchy enough when you put your foot down, sprinting from 0-62mph in 10.6 seconds. That can’t match the Ford Puma 1.0 Ecoboost 155 MHEV for pace or smoothness though. 

At the top of the range sits the 158bhp E-Tech Plug-in Hybrid 160. It’s the quickest version you can buy, officially hitting 0-62mph in just 8.6 seconds, but its efficiency will arguably be its biggest draw. It can officially drive on electricity alone for around 30 miles, although we’d expect less than that in real-world driving.

Suspension and ride comfort

Low-speed ride isn’t one of the Captur’s strengths and it doesn’t deal with pockmarked urban road surfaces particularly gracefully (in fairness, neither do the Kia Stonic and the Nissan Juke). Due to their extra weight, the heavier hybrid versions are the least comfortable ride-wise.

Renault Captur image
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Thankfully, as you head out of town and speeds increase, the ride improves. It never totally settles though. You see, it fidgets even on smooth-looking sections of motorway, and over bigger dips and crests it can get a bit bouncy. Once again, the hybrid’s suffer the most, as do versions with the larger 18in alloy wheels. 

If comfort is particularly important to you, it’s worth turning your attention to the best-riding small SUVs, including the Kamiq and the VW T-Roc.

Handling

The steering is precise enough and light around town, but doesn't build weight reassuringly at faster speeds, so you're never as confident along twisty roads as in a Ford Puma or VW T-Roc. It doesn’t have the outright grip or agility of those rivals, either, although it does have better body control than the softer Citroën C3 Aircross.

The E-Tech mild hybrid and the PHEV are both heavier, and that makes them feel even less agile. Given that the petrol isn’t a barrel of laughs, that doesn’t really matter. 

Granted, the Captur isn’t exactly supposed to be a sports car, so you can forgive it for not being particularly dynamic, but we're not blown away by its everyday manoeuvrability either. The turning circle is wider than some, making it harder to execute a quick U-turn.

Noise and vibration

For the most part, the Captur is calm and civilised. Indeed, even when you work the entry-level TCe 90 engine hard, it’s fairly hushed. It does, however, transmit more engine vibration up through the pedals and steering wheel than you feel in the Puma. 

The hybrids are remarkably quiet in electric mode, emitting little more than some slight motor whine. When needed, the petrol engine chimes in quietly, although the switchover between power sources isn’t as smooth as in some rivals, including the Kia Niro PHEV.

The engine remains hushed during gentle acceleration but does sound a bit coarse when you really put your foot down.

Road noise isn’t too annoying, but the Puma and T-Roc suffer from less wind noise at speed and also have much slicker manual gearshifts, compared with the Captur TCe 90’s long and rather vague action. The hybrid versions' automatic gearboxes can be hesitant when pulling away but change gear smoothly.

Driving overview

Strengths Good refinement; better body control than C3 Aircross 

Weaknesses Not very agile; fidgety ride; weak engines

Renault Captur interior dashboard

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

Driving position and dashboard

If the raised driving position promised by a small SUV is what you’re after, the Renault Captur will appeal. You sit higher up from the road than you do in a Skoda Kamiq for example. 

What’s more, the seat, steering wheel and pedals line up well, so you're not sitting at an odd angle, as you do in the Dacia Duster. In fact, our only demerit is that, unlike on rivals including the Ford Puma, the Kamiq and the VW T-Roc, adjustable lumbar support isn't available.

The air-conditioning is operated by physical controls rather than a touchscreen, which is a good thing and keeps distraction to a minimum. You get standard analogue instrument dials if you go for the TCe 90 petrol engine, but they're replaced by a clear digital display if you go for one of the hybrid engines or avoid the entry-level trim.

Visibility, parking sensors and cameras

While the Captur’s elevated driving position gives you a decent view forwards, helped by narrow windscreen pillars, the news isn't so good when looking back over your shoulder.

Renault has decided to make the Captur look more "dynamic" (its word, not ours) by sweeping the window line up towards the back of the car. That makes seeing what's behind trickier than in the Kamiq and other boxier small SUVs including the Kia Niro. 

To help negate the issue and make parking easier, even entry-level Evolution trim gets rear parking sensors, while all other trims add front parking sensors and a rear-view camera. For great visibility at night, all models come with full LED headlights.

Sat nav and infotainment

Evolution, Techno and E-Tech Engineered models get a 7.0in landscape-oriented infotainment touchscreen that’s mounted high up on the dashboard. It comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, a DAB radio, Bluetooth and built-in sat-nav. The icons are a bit too small and the screen could be sharper and more responsive.

If you opt for the E-Tech Engineered Bose edition trim – which adds an upgraded Bose sound system – you'll get a 9.3in portrait-oriented touchscreen that can show more information. While it’s better than the small screen, we still prefer the Mini Countryman system because it has a physical rotary controller.

Quality

The Captur's dashboard is pleasingly squishy in places, with more soft-touch plastic than you get in the hard and unyielding interiors of the Duster, the Seat Arona and the VW T-Cross. The rest of the interior plastics look and feel a bit cheap and don’t match the Skoda Kamiq and Puma.

If you go for the plug-in hybrid E-Tech, you'll get a steering wheel wrapped in genuine leather rather than the fake stuff. That helps make the Captur feel a little more upmarket, but not by enough to trouble the Nissan Juke. The Audi Q2 and the Countryman are the best options in this class if you want to experience proper plushness.

Interior overview

Strengths Good driving position; physical air-conditioning controls 

Weaknesses Infotainment isn’t very slick; restricted rear visibility; no lumbar support

Orange Renault Captur boot open

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Front space

There's less head and leg room in the front of the Renault Captur than there is in the Ford Puma, the Skoda Kamiq or the VW T-Cross. It's still okay for six-footers though, and because the interior is relatively broad, you won’t be rubbing shoulders with your passenger.

As for storage, there’s a big tray in front of the gearlever and decent-sized door bins, but we wish the cubby under the central armrest was bigger.

Rear space

Even with its sliding rear seats pushed all the way back, space in the back of the Captur is adequate rather than amazing. A six-footer will find their head is rather close to the roof, and knee room will be tight if there’s someone of a similar height sitting in front.

Not helping matters, the roof curves in at the side, so even if your rear passengers aren't that tall, it feels more claustrophobic in the back than in many small SUVs.

When you try to fit three adults in the back, it'll be a squeeze, although the middle passenger will appreciate the decent amount of foot space created by the Captur’s flattish floor. It’s also worth pointing out that E-Tech hybrid models are just as spacious as non-hybrid versions. If you want more rear space, the Mini Countryman and the Kamiq are your best bets.

Seat folding and flexibility

You can slide the rear seats back and forth to prioritise either boot space or rear leg room (as you can in the VW T-Cross). It's a useful feature, and while the base slides as one piece, the rear seatbacks fold in a conventional 60/40 split. 

The Countryman is better, though. Its rear seats not only slide, but also recline and split 40/20/40, giving you even greater flexibility.

Boot space

Renault says the Captur has one of the biggest boots in the class, but there’s a caveat: that’s only if you slide the rear bench all the way forwards, which doesn't leave much rear leg room.

With the bench slid all the way back to maximise rear leg room, boot space is 422 litres. That’s more than you get in most hatchback family cars – including the VW Golf – and we squeezed in six carry-on suitcases below the parcel shelf. That’s not as impressive as its small SUV peers, including the Kamiq which took seven cases and the Puma swallowed eight.

It's worth bearing in mind that the E-Tech versions (particularly the plug-in hybrid) have smaller boots because of the electrical bits and pieces beneath the floor. Indeed, the PHEV’s boot has just 265 litres of space to offer – that’s less than the Seat Ibiza small car – while the hybrid offers 326 litres. Both hybrid versions do, at least, get a handy cable storage compartment.

Practicality overview

Strengths Sliding rear seats; petrol version has big boot

Weaknesses PHEVs have small boots; limited head room; tight leg room in rear

Renault Captur interior infotainment

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

As a cash purchase, the Renault Captur’s price tag makes it one of the cheapest mainstream small SUVs, undercutting the Ford Puma, the VW T-Cross and the VW T-Roc. Meanwhile, it costs about the same as the Skoda Kamiq, or more if you go for our chosen trim, so we reckon that’s a better purchase. What’s more, if equipment levels are not important to you, the Dacia Duster and the MG ZS are comparative bargains.

Renault’s PCP finance deals often come with a hefty manufacturer incentive to make them more competitive (see our New Car Deals pages). That's a good thing, because the Captur's resale values aren't as robust as the Puma's, the Kamiq's or the T-Roc's. Insurance costs are not too hefty, but the CO2 emissions of the petrol engine aren't anything to write home about.

The E-Tech hybrid and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models are more efficient and offer very low CO2 emissions. The PHEV’s 30-mile electric-only range, according to official figures, makes it tempting for company car drivers wanting to keep their benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax payments low. To get lower, you need to go for an electric car such as the MG ZS EV.

Equipment, options and extras

This is an area where the Captur does well. Even the entry-level Evolution trim won’t leave you feeling short-changed, as it comes with 17in alloy wheels, cruise control, automatic lights and wipers, automatic climate control, keyless entry and other kit. 

Even so, we’d suggest jumping up to our favourite Techno trim because the price difference isn’t very big and you get extra niceties, including automatic high-beam headlights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, lane-departure warning, front parking sensors and a rear-view camera.

We wouldn't go for E-Tech Engineered or E-Tech Engineered Bose Edition because these range-topping trims are too pricey. If you're going to splash that sort of cash, you'd be far better off with a Puma or our favourite small SUV, the T-Roc.

Reliability

In the 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey the Captur didn’t perform particularly well, finishing near the bottom of our small SUV leaderboard, above the Kamiq and MG ZS but below all its other key rivals, including the Puma and the T-Roc. 

Renault as a manufacturer didn’t perform much better, claiming 23rd place out of the 32 included car makers. That puts it above MG, but below Mini (3rd), Kia (8th), Citroen (14th), Skoda (16th), Ford (17th) and Seat (18th). 

Every new Renault comes with a three-year warranty, with no mileage limit for the first two years, but a 60,000 mile limit after that. Compared with the offerings from its peers, that’s fairly par for the course, matching Ford and Skoda, but not Kia’s seven-year warranty. The hybrid versions get an eight-year warranty (with a 100,000-mile limit) on their batteries.

Safety and security

All Capturs get automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane-keeping assistance, traffic-sign recognition and an emergency call function (eCall). That's impressive, and we're pleased Renault hasn't skimped on safety kit with the cheaper trims.

Euro NCAP awarded the Captur five stars (out of five) for overall safety, when it was tested in 2019. We drilled down into the details of its report and the Captur stacks up very well against the Nissan Juke and the Kamiq for adult and child occupant protection. It wasn't quite as good as those rivals at protecting pedestrians, though.

Costs overview

Strengths Affordable price tag; plenty of standard kit; good safety rating

Weaknesses So-so warranty; not the best reliability record; depreciation quicker than rivals

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FAQs

  • Provided you stick to the entry-level trim and engine, the Captur is a perfectly fine thing, scoring three stars out of five from our expert reviewers. If you don’t, it starts to stray into the price territory of the much better Skoda Kamiq.

  • At slow speeds, the Captur’s ride isn’t particularly settled – especially if you go for one of the heavier hybrids – but it calms down as speeds increase. Even then, the VW T-Roc rides better and is more dynamic on a winding road.

  • All versions of the Captur should be quite impressive when it comes to efficiency. The standard petrol manages 48mpg officially, while the hybrid is better still, doing up to 60mpg. The plug-in hybrid (PHEV), meanwhile, is officially capable of up to 217mpg and up to 30 miles on electricity alone if you keep the battery charged up.

At a glance
New car deals
Save up to £3,488
Target Price from £18,716
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From £16,299
RRP price range £21,595 - £34,195
Number of trims (see all)6
Number of engines (see all)4
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)petrol, petrol parallel phev, hybrid
MPG range across all versions 217.3 - 60.1
Available doors options 5
Warranty 5 years / 60000 miles
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £1,233 / £1,517
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £2,466 / £3,034
Available colours