The 2020 Renault Captur now on sale in Ireland!
The 2020 Renault Captur now on sale in Ireland!

Caroline drives the new Renault Captur!

The 2020 Renault Captur arrives in Ireland to build on the success of generation #1 of the popular Renault small SUV. Styling has been modernised in line with other models in the Renault range and a brand-new interior delivers more maturity and better quality finish. There are new trim levels and engines, with Captur in Ireland powered by petrol, diesel, and a plug-in hybrid soon to arrive. Customisation remains a key component of the Captur’s approach to the segment. In Ireland the Captur range begins from €21,995. In this Irish review, I’ll be testing the new Renault Captur for the first time on Irish roads!

Captur success story in Ireland

When the first generation of the Renault Captur arrived in Ireland in 2013, compact SUVs and crossovers were still very much a novelty. The motor industry was dipping a toe into this segment, which we were promised would just grow and grow. And so it came to pass. Like our neighbours in Europe, we too have a special grá for these SUV-inspired small crossovers.

Since then we have seen an explosion in the market with every brand worth its salt launching one. However, in a relatively short space of time the Captur has gained notoriety that many can only dream of. The Captur has always worn its colours boldly, a fun, cheerful Clio-based small SUV that quickly became a hit. For a time it was Ireland’s bestselling B-SUV. Such popularity cannot be ignored but the Captur was starting to be eclipsed by newer rivals.

And so enters generation #2 of the Renault Captur! Earlier in 2020, Changing Lanes was very impressed with the new Renault Clio. Now can Renault capture the same sparkle?

The new Captur is available in three trim levels with petrol and diesel engines
The new Captur is available in three trim levels with petrol and diesel engines

What’s new for 2020?

Approaching the Captur for the first time and you notice just what a good looking car this has become. It’s matured and has a great presence on the road and in the car park. The Captur knows who it is and really convinces with a stylish, but rugged new shape.

The details really make it – a bold colour palette, two tone roof, plastic cladding and of course a very daring light signature at the front and the rear. You’ll know when you’ve been Captured!

The length of the vehicle has increased by 110 mm, while there is also a higher waistline. It’s a true SUV stance emphasised by tough-looking front and rear protection skid plates, chunky protective mouldings that run the length of the lower body, and pronounced wheel arch extensions.

Full-LED headlamps are now standard across the range. Renault’s trademark C-shaped daylight running light signature raises the Captur’s game for 2020 and there is a similar C-light signature at the rear.

Inside the 2020 Renault Captur

Inside, Renault has taken the same upmarket approach. The previous generation of the car had a cheaper, supermini feel to it. But now the Captur feels like a stand alone model in the Renault range that doesn’t need to be compared to the Clio. A lot of this is down to the raised seating position and arrangement of the instruments in the car, in what Renault calls the ‘Smart Cockpit’. You sit high in the Captur compared to some more crossover-like rivals, and the gear lever is raised in the centre console to your left.

There has also been a huge improvement in quality and technology, which adds even more pleasantries to the cabin of the Captur. There are new 7″ and 9.3″ touchscreens as well as a digital information display for the driver available. The top of the range S-Edition on test for Changing Lanes is loaded with equipment including ambient lighting to bathe the interior in a soft glow at night. But a special mention must be made for the seats with super stylish upholstery any trendsetter will love.

Soft-touch plastics and satin finishes are used throughout, while the front seats have an entirely new design for more comfort.

The interior of the 2020 Renault Captur
The interior of the 2020 Renault Captur

Is it practical?

Practicality has always been a core strength of the Renault Captur, and this model is one of the best in class for interior space and clever features. The Captur is bigger inside that the Clio, with more headroom and legroom in the rear. Rear legroom has been boosted by 17 mm, thanks in part to re-designed front seats that also benefit from slimmer headrests to improve visibility. The middle seat is small but that goes with the territory of these small SUVs.

The designers have managed to create 81 more litres space in the boot, and its width and depth make it ideal for families. There is also a false floor, which can be moved around in a number of configurations. The pièce de résistance is a sliding rear bench that can be moved to create even more space in the boot (maximum of 536 litres).

What’s the range like in Ireland?

In Ireland the Captur is sold in three trim levels – Play (from €21,995), Iconic (from €23,645) and S-Edition (from €25,645). This is spot on pricing territory for this class of vehicle and the Captur is a substantial car.

Standard equipment on Play models includes 7” touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, LED lights, climate control and 17” alloy-look flex wheels, auto lights and wipers, lane assist, traffic sign recognition and autonomous emergency braking.

Iconic models add keyless entry, navigation, parking sensors, roof rails and the two-tone paint look. The top of the range S-Edition on test for Changing Lanes features a 9.3” portrait multimedia screen, parking camera, part leather seats, auto high beam, and much more.

There are a range of bold colours available for the new Captur including Atacama Orange
There are a range of bold colours available for the new Captur including Atacama Orange

Customers can choose from 11 exterior colours and four roof finishes. The test car was finished in an Alabaster White body colour with a Black Pearl roof. Magnifique!

At launch the Captur is available with a new 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine with 100 hp or 1.3-litre turbo petrol with 130 or 155 hp. For buyers looking for the best economy there is a 1.5-litre diesel with 95 or 115 hp. Diesel models are available from €23,995. Manual and EDC automatic gearboxes are available. Motor tax ranges from €190 to €270. There is also a petrol plug-in hybrid expected in Ireland before the end of the year, though pricing has not been confirmed yet.

Driving the new Renault Captur

The new Captur is built on a new platform that also underpins the 2020 Renault Clio. Engineers have worked to improve safety and dynamic performance with a strengthened body structure that uses high-tensile steel and structural adhesive for improved bonding of the panels. The new architecture is also lighter and more aerodynamic. Special attention has been paid to reducing noise inside the cabin, with materials providing greater insulation and soundproofing, especially in the engine compartment.

This means that the Captur slips effortlessly from town to motorway, feeling robust and refined. On the road the Captur is set up for comfort, with a compliant suspension that does a great job of making this a relaxed drive. The steering is light and there is not a hint of sportiness to the way this car handles but comfort should be a high priority in this segment.

In terms of engines, the petrol line-up starts with the 1.0 TCe 100 hp turbocharged three-cylinder unit first used in the Clio. It’s paired to a 5-speed manual gearbox. Performance can feel a bit sluggish in the Captur 1.0-litre with 0 to 100 km/h in 13.3 seconds, but it’s economical and decent progress can be made. Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 6.1 l/100 km and motor tax is €200 per year.

The next step up in the petrol range is the four-cylinder 1.3 TCe 130 with more power and stronger acceleration. It’s available with a standard six-speed manual gearbox or optional 7-speed EDC automatic.

The new Renault Captur has many practical features
The new Renault Captur has many practical features

Did you like it?

Renault has made a popular model even better. There’s a pleasant air of maturity to this new Captur. It not only looks better, with a lovely balance between rugged SUV looks and urban style, but this theme runs indoors too.

The Captur’s cabin now feels befitting of a larger car and throws off any feelings of budget. Granted there is more bling as you go up the trim levels, but the cabin experience is undeniably good in the Captur.

The French compact SUV is not the sharpest to drive among its competitors but bites back with a comfortable, relaxed ride that is just as desirable in this class of vehicle. It’s refined and while the 1.0-litre has average performance, it is attractively efficient and cheap to run. This is a nice sized car too offering customers a substantial amount of interior space and clever practical features.

There is great breadth to the range with small petrol engines and efficient diesels, while an on trend plug-in hybrid is on the way shortly, though we don’t know how that will be priced yet. In what’s currently available, pricing feels spot on with ‘basic’ cars coming well equipped.

Captur has grown up but still carries cheerful charisma in the B-SUV segment!

Bold styling and a practical interior make the Captur stand out
Bold styling and a practical interior make the Captur stand out

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Renault Captur S-Edition TCe 100
€25,645 (from €21,995)
Engine: 1.0-litre turbo petrol
100 hp
Torque: 160 Nm
13.3 seconds
Top speed: 173 km/h
Fuel economy (WLTP): 5.9 l/100km
CO2 emissions (WLTP): 133g/100km
Motor Tax:  €200 per year