Parkers overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 4.4
  • Petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid available
  • Basic TCe 100 still a great choice
  • TCe 130 our pick of the range

The Renault Captur’s engine range is pretty varied, but we’re pleased to say that there doesn’t appear to be a duff apple in the bunch.

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The petrol engines are punchy and refined, while the diesels are very efficient. For most, we’d recommend one of the petrols, though – unless you do mega-high mileage.

Petrol engines

At the entry level the Captur gets a 1.0-litre, 100hp, three-cylinder petrol engine. With quite a large car to move around, performance is sedate – 0-62mph takes 13.3 seconds – but it’s surprising how perky it feels.

While you do have to give this engine quite a boot to get up to speed on motorway sliproads or country A-roads, it never feels completely underpowered. It’s even good once up to speed, remaining refined at 70mph. If your needs aren’t particularly taxing, we’d definitely recommend opting for this engine.

In fact, the only thing stopping us recommending it for all buyers is the standard five-speed gearbox – it’s notchy and it feels stingy offering only five ratios when almost every rival, including the Peugeot 2008 and Mazda CX-3, have six-speed gearboxes.

For that reason the TCe 130 is the pick of the range. It’s a 1.3-litre four-cylinder with 130hp, paired with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The latter is badged EDC.

It sounds more droning than the smaller engine, but it’s much pokier, getting from 0-62mph in just 10.6 seconds. The automatic variant is faster still, at 9.6 seconds – but this gearbox has a tendency to be a little laggy. In some situations it can be hesitant from a standstill, while in others it can hang onto gears for too long resulting in excessive engine noise. We wouldn’t opt for it unless you really need a two-pedal car.

Those after the ultimate in performance should opt for the TCe 155. This is the quickest of the lot, managing 0-62mph in 8.6 seconds and paired to a standard dual-clutch automatic. It’s fast, but overkill – you genuinely don’t need it in a car like this.

Diesel engines

There’s a pair of diesel options – badged dCi 95 and dCi 115. These are both very efficient – as you’d expect – but they’re pricey for the modest performance on offer.

The 95hp model is the slowest engine in the range, achieving 0-62mph in 14.4 seconds. While it’s got plenty of mid-range shove, this figure means it will feel sluggish – probably best avoided. The 115hp diesel is much better, dealing with the same sprint in 11.9 seconds, or 11 seconds flat if fitted with the automatic gearbox.

Generally speaking, though, we’d only recommend these engines to those doing very high mileages.

Plug-in hybrid on the way

If you want to cut your fuel bills but diesel isn’t right for you, the Captur will be offered with Renault’s first plug-in hybrid powertrain later in 2020. It pairs a 1.6-litre engine with a battery pack and electric motor. The combination produces 160hp in total, and means the car will be capable of up to 28 miles on battery power alone. More on this once we’ve driven the car.

Handling

  • Fine blend of ride and handling
  • Comfort suffers on larger wheels
  • Light and easy to drive

Like its smaller Clio sibling, the Captur has evolved into a very pleasant and competent car to drive.

There’s a pleasing level of body control – the car doesn’t roll around too much in the corners or feel wayward on the motorway, and that’s backed up by steering which is accurate and direct, if a little over-assisted. Switching into Sport mode – available on higher-spec cars – weights the steering up, but this feels rather artificial.

There’s lots of grip, too, resulting in a planted feeling in faster corners. While the Captur doesn’t have quite the same sporting feel in the corners as a Mazda CX-3, it’s nonetheless very solid-feeling – a welcome boost over the old car, which felt insubstantial and not very reassuring.

The Captur is two-wheel-drive only; like most crossovers, four-wheel-drive isn’t even an option, because the vast majority of buyers don’t want or need it. That means you certainly won’t be tackling anything more taxing than a slightly muddy lane with this car, though the additional ground clearance that the crossover body style offers does mean it copes well with the speed bumps and potholes of the urban jungle.

As for the Captur’s driving assistance tech, the headline feature is called Highway and Traffic Jam Companion. It’s essentially a combination of adaptive cruise control, keeping you at a set distance from the car in front, and lane-keeping assist, keeping you centred in the lane of your choosing. It works well, keeping you centred and without the twitchiness of some rival systems.