The Renault Captur in a nutshell is a healthy dose of French eccentricity wrapped in an appealing crossover body shell backed by proven mechanicals. The Captur has been the long awaited Creta rival and has been brewing for a long time and now with SUVs and crossovers selling like hot cakes, the timing is perfect. The Captur would be its most premium product and a lot is riding on it. This Captur is different from the Euro spec as it is based on the Duster platform along with the recipe being tweaked and honed for India. We drove it in Goa to find you whether this is the most desirable product from Renault or not.
As I said earlier my, the Captur with its chic styling moves away from the utilitarian design of the Duster and brings in a healthy chunk of French design. It has huge presence and its bold in its design with it being a pure crossover. The Captur is one of the largest selling crossovers and the main reason is styling and we can see why. The car for our markets has many changes and in the flesh it looks quite big and turns heads easily. Its dimensions include length of 4,329mm, width of 1,813mm and height of 1,613mm and a ground clearance of 210mm. This makes it longer and wider than its rivals plus the ground clearance is the most also. Our favourite bit has to be the front with the full LED headlamps which have Audi like floating side indicators, the massive grille that connects the headlamps along with the sharply cut lines that adorn the front bumper.
The side reveals its intensions of being a true crossover but the massive 17 inch alloys which look fantasic really add to the stance. The rear on the other hand is less aggressive being a bit like the Kwid. The contrast roof and all details put together though make it a stunner and its designed not to blend in for sure which we like along with the right hint of SUV muscle with the stance, alloys, skid plates etc. Renault will also offers lots of personalisation options with many themes and multi colour roof options which means you can make your Captur really stand out.
I liked the exteriors and inside it has a distinct French flair too with a bit of the Kwid like minimalistic design approach. The way the dash has been designed is certainly more interesting than the one in the Duster plus this top spec Platine edition feels plush too with a white and gold finish. I like the way the centre console juts out from the dash and the funky instrument cluster.
While overall quality is good some areas are iffy like the touchscreen with its flimsy buttons lifted of the Kwid which is not premium and some of the materials have a hard edge. Some issues are there also with the drivers seat not setting low enough and not being a comfortable driving position and the armrest which cannot be folded back. In terms of space and comfort the front seats are supremely comfortable (look good too with the leatherette seats) while at the rear, headroom and legroom is decent but feels a bit more tight than the Duster. Its best for two at the back. The boot though is very big.
In terms of features the top-end Platine edition gets you many bells and whistles including a 7 inch touchscreen infotainment system with in-built navigation (works better than in other Renault cars with a better display), rear camera display and sensors, voice recognition (for iOS), climate control, cruise control, rear ac vents, full LED headlamps with DRLs and dynamic turn indicators, 17 inch rims, a cool smart access card which is your key, push button start, ambient lighting inside etc. However we would have liked features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, sunroof also. In terms of safety it has dual and side airbags along with ESC. The sound system sounded good too.
The Captur will come with both diesel and petrol engines. Both 1.5 units from the Duster with the petrol making 104 bhp and 142Nm while the diesel develops 108 bhp and 240Nm. The petrol gets a 5-speed manual while the diesel gets a 6-speed one with no automatic being offered currently. We only drove the diesel and we have to say we have been impressed by this. It has the strengths that we have seen with the Duster but gets some big improvements. For starters it is a lot more refined now and noise rarely intrudes inside plus lag has been scaled down as well. The mid-range is punchy and it is best use the torque and cruise effortlessly. The clutch is light enough and the 6-speed manual though with a tight shift quality is reasonably precise in its throws. The on-board computer said we averaged 14 kmpl.
In the city you do not need to use the gearbox much and it has enough low-end punch to move around easily in traffic. Out on the highway, it builds speed well and cruises nicely with a smoother power delivery than the one in the Duster. The steering too gets better with higher speeds and high-speed stability is terrific with a poise rarely seen in a car of this class. The Captur is big and a bit heavy but handles well for its size with roll kept in check with the steering giving perfect feedback. The suspension is stiffer than the one in the Duster and this helps it handle well, keeping its size in check. The driving experience is distinctly European in its nature and though while it rides firmly than the Duster overall it rides pretty well with its excellent ground clearance helping it swallow bad roads with ease.
The Captur has been carefully tuned for India and is peppered with generous doses of French DNA for it to truly stand out of the crowd. That is crucial with so much competition. It looks like nothing else and that is its biggest USP with the striking looks that would lure people into the showrooms. However it has generous equipment and Renault says that there will not be any base variant and all trims will be feature loaded. That is good. It is a pure crossover while the Duster is more rugged off-road oriented SUV. The Captur has what it takes to take the shine off some cars especially with its styling. Yes, we would have liked an automatic plus the interior could have been better in some areas but with Renault saying that it would be priced aggressively, this has enough to take on its rivals. We expect a small premium over the Duster which with its looks and overall package is a more than an agreeable proposition.