Driving position and dashboard
If the raised driving position promised by a small SUV is what you’re looking for, it’s worth pointing out that the Captur is a fair bit taller than a Skoda Kamiq. In the left-hand-drive versions we’ve tried so far, the seat, steering wheel and pedals line up nicely, too, so you won’t find yourself sitting crooked while driving. The seats themselves have a wide range of movement and, although adjustable lumbar support isn’t available at all, we had no back issues even after three hours on the road.
Mercifully, the heater controls are physical dials and are mounted below the infotainment screen, where they’re easy to adjust on the move. The 10.0in digital instruments we tried (optional on top-spec models) are clear and easy to read, with a reasonable degree of configurability.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
While the Captur’s elevated driving position gives you a decent forward view, helped by windscreen pillars that don’t block too much of your vision, the news gets worse the farther back you look.
Renault has decided to make the Captur more ‘dynamic’ looking (its words, not ours) by making the window line sweep up towards the back of the car. Unfortunately, combine this with thick rear pillars and the rear and over-the-shoulder views are less useful than you’ll experience in boxier small SUVs such as the Kamiq.
To help mitigate this visibility shortfall, mid-range Iconic trim comes with rear parking sensors, while the top-spec S Edition adds front sensors and a rear-view camera. All models have full LED headlights, but we can’t yet vouch for their effectiveness.
Sat nav and infotainment
Entry-level Play models get a 7.0in, landscape-orientated infotainment touchscreen that’s mounted high up in the dashboard, while Iconic adds sat-nav to this system. All versions get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration as standard. The on-screen icons are, for the most part, a good size, but the Captur’s system isn’t quite as graphically sharp or responsive as the best out there.
Opt for S Edition trim and you get a bigger (9.3in) portrait touchscreen that’s able to show more information. It can still be a bit slow to respond, though, with the sat-nav map scrolling jerkily. The Volkswagen T-Cross’s touchscreen is easier to navigate and more responsive, while dial-controlled systems, such as that found in the Mazda CX-3, are easier to use on the move.
How the Captur scores here depends much on the model you pick. Although Play and Iconic models get a dashboard that’s pleasingly squishy on its upper surface, almost every other aspect is hard and unyielding. We also found that the centre console would flex a fair amount when you rested your knee against it.
Move up to S Edition and the squidgy stuff spreads to the top half of the doors (from the armrests up) and around the centre console. This more widespread use of tactile materials makes quite a significant difference, making the Captur arguably more appealing inside than the T-Cross and Seat Arona, if a little way behind the admittedly pricier Mini Countryman, which continues to lead this class on quality.
It’s also worth noting that automatic models are let down by a rather insubstantial-feeling gear selector.