If we look at the global car market lately, Renault has come up with a few really good looking vehicles. In fact, models like the new Megane and the Koleos are among the best looking in their respective classes.
And thanks to the Renault-Nissan alliance which came into the picture in 1999, good old French flair has met a touch of Japanese reliability, translating into somewhat reliable vehicles. Yes, you read that right – we just put “French” and “reliable” in the same sentence.
However, even though the bigger, more capable models like the Megane and the Koleos may get the bigger share of the limelight, the bestseller is actually the smaller sibling: the Captur compact SUV.
Unveiled in 2013, the Captur is not only Renault’s most popular model in the UK, but also the best-selling model in its segment in Europe, a feat which it achieved within a year after its world premiere.
By the end of 2015, the Captur became one of the best-selling crossovers in Europe with total sales of 195,323 units.
Even in Malaysia, the Captur’s presence on the road has slowly, but surely grown over the past few years.
So, since it has been a successful five years since the Captur made its debut, it was only right that Renault gave it the much deserved update in an effort to continue the success story, which brings us to the facelifted version which we got our hands on recently.
TC Euro Cars (TCEC), the authorised distributor of Renault vehicles in Malaysia took the wraps off the updated Captur in March this year, featuring new cosmetic updates, new features, as well as a value-added maintenance package.
Only one variant is offered here in Malaysia, which is the locally assembled 1.2-litre turbocharged version which goes for RM102,844 (OTR without insurance).
Renault Malaysia offers the new Captur with a 5-year unlimited mileage manufacturer warranty and five-year free maintenance, inclusive of parts and labour.
The service also covers 24 hours roadside assistance, free pick-up service for scheduled maintenance and alternative transport arrangements in the event the customer’s car is required to be at the service centre for more than 48 hours. Now, how is that for customer service?
Based on the 4th generation Clio, the Captur measures 4,122 mm in length, 1,778 mm in width, and 1,566 mm in height, and comes with a 2,606 mm-long wheelbase.
This is how the Captur measures against its competitors:
Size wise, the Captur remains the same as before but there are many new features such as a redesigned front bumper with C-Shaped DRLs and LED foglamps integrated into the lower regions of the bumper, a repositioned license plate holder, re-designed 17-inch alloys, and larger wing mirrors.
Round the back, the new Captur sports a re-designed rear bumper and new taillamps that beam a 3D-like graphic signature when illuminated. The trim panel above the license plate holder is also body coloured now, previously being finished in chrome.
Renault Malaysia has also introduced three new colour options – Atacama Orange, Ocean Blue, and Pearl White, which will be joining the existing Flame Red. All body colour options are contrasted with the Diamond Black roof colour.
According to Renault, the main aim of the update was to make the Captur look and feel more premium, as one of the biggest grumbles from customers was that it lacked the plushness a vehicle in its price range should offer.
Looking at the changes that have gone into the crossover, we think that Renault has succeeded in their mission as the aesthetic updates like the new wheel design and the two-tone paintjob definitely make the Captur look more expensive than the pre-facelift model.
It also looks sporty enough that a big burly man can drive it without being laughed at, or asked “eh, why are you driving your sister or daughter’s car around?”
Similar to the exterior, changes in the Captur’s cabin are discreet but those who have been in the pre-facelift model will surely be able to notice and feel the difference.
Gone are the old fabric seats, replaced by new ones clad in combination leather. The new steering wheel, which has been taken from the Clio, also has a better feel to it.
The door panels and the upper sections of the dashboard are new as well, finished in a high-quality soft-touch plastic with contrasting stitching.
And then, we have the storage compartment atop the dashboard which has been redesigned to be more user-friendly with a button to open it, compared to the push-to-open mechanism before this.
Speaking of storage, the Captur offers 455 litres of boot space, and if you want more, you can either slide the rear seats forward to expand the boot, or just fold the seats to have 1,255 litres.
That aside, there are plenty of compartments to store objects like bottles, phones, keys, and everything in between. However, there is no centre-console between the front seats, which is rather disappointing. 8 out of 10 cars out there have it, so why not? More storage space is always good news, no?
Infotainment was being handled by the MediaNav multimedia system with a seven-inch touchscreen with navigation, AUX, USB, and Bluetooth connectivity. It was quite easy to use, and came with a decent set of speakers but the audio quality is still not as good as the one in the Ford Ecosport or the Peugeot 2008.
Further adding to our convenience was the reverse camera, keyless entry and ignition, auto headlights, and auto wipers. As for safety equipment, items on the list include four airbags, ESC, and hill-start assist.
All that aside, there is more than enough head and legroom for four adults. Complemented by the upright seating position, the Captur offers good level of visibility and comfort for rear occupants.
Under the hood of the Captur lies the same 1.2-litre four-cylinder turbo engine as before, producing 120 hp and 190 Nm of torque. It is paired to a 6-speed dual clutch transmission which sends the power to the front wheels.
There has not been any mechanical update on the Captur, which means that there is still room for improvements.
Even though it is a vehicle that was made for the city, the Captur actually felt at home only once we reached the highways at higher speed. Not only was there plenty of mid-range torque, but the crossover felt quite composed and balanced as well.
In the city however, driving the Captur wasn’t as enjoyable as we thought it would be due to factors like turbo lag, the infamous “dual-clutch jerking”, and the amount of engine noise that was making its way into the cabin during acceleration.
Despite the engine noise, the Captur gets up to highway speed with ease and cruises at about 120 to 130km/h comfortably, which actually makes it good for long distance travelling. Even when we were driving through corners, it felt more planted than we expected and showed an impressive level of composure.
In terms of fuel consumption, we recorded an average consumption of 9.2-litres/100km, although Renault claims that the Captur is capable of reaching 5.4-litres/100km. We could have got better readings in Eco mode but we decided to just drive it normally to see what happens.
Overall, the Captur, like most cars out there, has its ups and downs. On the plus side, the aesthetic updates have given it a more premium look and feel, and there is no need for owners to worry about maintenance for 5 years as Renault Malaysia is offering quite an extensive warranty package for the Captur.
In terms of reliability, the Captur has been out there for five years now and it is the most popular vehicle in its segment in Europe. The fact that we are seeing more Capturs on the road in Malaysia also says something about it, doesn’t it?
Despite being a small crossover, it offers decent amount of space for four adults, and proves to be a practical vehicle with features like the 60:40 split folding rear seats that can be slid forward to make more space, a spacious boot, and a comfortable cabin which looks and feels more premium than before.
On the downside, it is not the sportiest crossover to drive in town, and the list of gadgetry offered is quite basic compared to its rivals like the Peugeot 2008. Cabin refinement could've been better as well.
But on the bright side, the Captur is a sensible choice for those looking for a good looking, practical compact SUV between RM100,000 to RM110,000 which can also be taken long distance once in awhile.
Plus, at this price point, the Captur stands out from all the HR-Vs, and comes with arguably the best after sales service package in town with the "5inCaptur" scheme, which includes 5 years (unlimited mileage) full manufacturer's warranty, 5 years/100,000 km service package inclusive of the parts and labour, pick-up and return service during scheduled maintenance, and 24 hours roadside assistance.