Infotainment and connectivity

The latest Captur comes with a range of petrol, hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains across five trim levels: Play, Iconic, S Edition, Bose Launch Edition and E-Tech Launch Edition. The carmaker’s ‘Smart Cockpit’ layout features a 7-inch multimedia touch screen, standard on Play and Iconic models, while S Edition versions get a 9.3-inch portrait format. Both give access to Renault’s Easy Link connected system. Charging times, heating and ventilation (while the car is plugged in) can be scheduled via the Easy Link touchscreen, or via the MY Renault app.

Connected services and apps, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, is provided as standard across the range. The car’s 4G connectivity supports services such as an emergency call function that activates automatically in the event of an accident. It also means that the platform is always up to date, thanks to automatic updates from the likes of Google, TomTom and Coyote.

Interior focus

Soft-touch plastics and satin finishes are used throughout, while the front seats have a new architecture. The steering wheel has a smaller diameter allowing an improved view of the instrument display, as well as re-designed backlit controls adding to the ambience.

One of the highlights of the interior is the new ‘flying console’ available as part of the optional Comfort Pack for S Edition models. This elevated centre console incorporates the ‘E-Shifter’ gear selector on top, additional storage space and wireless phone charger below.

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Other creature comfort and convenience features (depending on the trim level) include an auto-dimming rearview mirror, rear privacy glass, high-beam assist, and an ambient lighting pack. The latter allows drivers to choose from eight different LED colours that provide a calming glow. A reconfigurable instrument cluster is available as an option for S Edition models. It allows the driver to choose their preferred set-up, including turn-by-turn navigation instructions displayed directly in front of them. When combined with the 9.3-inch infotainment display it gives the Captur one of the largest screen combinations in its class.

Size-wise, the overall length of the car has increased by 110mm, providing a spot more room for occupants and their luggage. Rear legroom has been boosted by 17mm, thanks in part to re-designed front seats that also benefit from slimmer, comma-shaped headrests to improve visibility.

The 60/40 rear seatbacks can fold down completely to give an almost completely flat load floor of 1.57m – 110mm more than in the previous Captur. In addition, a movable floor allows the boot space to be configured either for maximum space or to create a flat load entrance with hidden storage beneath the floor. Boot capacity has been boosted by 81 litres to 536 litres, thanks to a sliding rear bench trading rear legroom for luggage space.

The front door storage compartments can each accommodate a 1.5-litre water bottle. A sliding front centre armrest conceals a fairly deep storage area. The glove box has an unusual pull out tray-like design instead of a hinged door. There are also two cupholders in the front console area plus two in the back, integrated into the central armrest.

Some sound ideas

Compared with the audio system in the previous Captur, there are now nine speakers rather than seven, with two additional tweeters in the rear doors. There’s also a new compact subwoofer – the ‘Fresh Air Speaker’ (FCA). Fitted to a Renault for the first time, the FCA offers bass frequencies without the need for a conventional large enclosure. Instead, the sound is channelled to the passenger compartment through a patented duct system built into the car’s structure.

Integrated into the side of the boot is the optional Bose audio system, causing no reduction in load space. Occupants can tailor the audio experience to their tastes, switching from a neutral, studio-like setting to a more immersive sound. In addition, the Dynamic Speed Compensation automatically adjusts volume and equalisation on the move, hence a seamless listening experience without the driver needing to constantly make adjustments.

Advanced driver assistance systems

In the ADAS department, the Captur incorporates a suite of technologies, including adaptive cruise control, traffic and motorway assistance, blind-spot warning, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking and traffic sign recognition. In addition, front and rear parking sensors, rear-view camera and a 360-degree camera with bird’s eye view all help when reversing into some tight spaces.

On the road

Our F1-inspired E-Tech plug-in model combines a reworked version of Renault’s 1.6 petrol engine with a 9.8kWh lithium-ion battery, two electric motors and a six-speed automatic transmission.  The hybrid is capable of driving up to 28 miles at speeds of up to 83mph in pure electric mode.  While it doesn’t deliver a thrilling ride, it does feel cool, calm and collected.

Three driving modes are offered: Pure (all-electric mode), MySense and Sport. The standard driving mode, MySense, automatically adapts the hybrid powertrain to the driver’s style and conditions, switching between electric power and the engine. Sport makes use of the petrol engine and both electric motors for a responsive drive when the accelerator pedal is fully depressed. Selecting Sport mode displays a picture of the car on a track on the touchscreen. As well as changing the car’s engine and steering response, each mode adjusts the interior ambience to match by activating different lighting themes. A selection of functions can also be activated by voice control.

On balance, the Captur looks great with plenty of interior charm. It also comes with a generous list of standard equipment, clever safety technology and an intuitive infotainment system. The upmarket textiles cover the door-card inserts, headliner, windscreen pillars and dashboard inlay. Most of the surfaces are soft to touch with all the usual scratchy plastics hidden at ankle level. The seats not only look good but are comfy for short distances too. The sliding rear seat bench also helps this dinky SUV stand out in a crowded marketplace. The E-Tech is practical and cheap to run.  Rival models include the Skoda Kamiq, VW T-Cross and Peugeot 2008.