Car designers are a little like fashion designers – both strive to create something which is unique and eye catching.
So if the designer of the new Renault Captur was working in a fashion house his creation would certainly win him pride of place on the catwalk.
For the Captur delivers in both respects. In a world of look-alike cars the French supermini crossover stands out.
The lines are radical and distinctive and are enhanced by the car’s striking two-tone paint scheme, with contrasting colours for the roof and body.
If you want to do your own thing there is a vast permutation of options for the interior and exterior, so you really can customise the car to suit your own tastes.
Opt for the up-market Dynamique MediaNav model and you get a host of hi-tech features which make the car easy to live with, including an integrated tablet-style seven-inch touchscreen display for the satellite navigation system as well as access to on-board connectivity and a growing range of apps for information, entertainment and easier journeys.
On a more down-to-earth basis the car even comes with seat covers that can be unzipped and machine washed at home.
The multi-award winning Captur is based on the same platform as the latest Renault Clio, although it’s 60mm longer. Renault describes it as having the driving position of an SUV, the cabin space of an MPV and the driving pleasure of a hatchback. Certainly from behind the wheel it feels more like a hatchback.
On the road the super frugal 1.5dCi 90 engine is torquey and it pulls well, although the acceleration is a little lack lustre. The auto box is slick and pretty seamless in operation and you have the option of using it manually.
I liked the super comfortable ride in the Captur and its stability at speed, despite being a relatively high vehicle.
Captur’s suspension is based on the system used in the current Clio Sport Tourer, a model not sold in Britain, which probably explains why its handling at speed is so positive.
And while the ride is impressive so is the lack of noise in the cabin, even at high speed.
The car has a good quality feel to it and doors and hatch close with the minimum of effort.
You also need the minimum of effort to lock the car. In fact you don’t have to do anything as it does it for you as you move away.
And importantly this car has secured maximum five-star rating in independent Euro NCAP crash testing.
Ideally suited to families, the Captur’s boot will accommodate 455 litres of luggage aided by the cleverly designed two tier floor. Fold the rear seats down and that jumps to 1,235 litres. And as the 60:40 split rear bench seat slides backwards and forwards there is plenty of opportunity to expand rear leg room or the boot space.
An eco mode button near the gear shift lets you adjust performance to improve fuel economy. Renault says this reduces engine torque, modifies throttle response and even adjusts the control programme for the air conditioning and heating to optimise efficiency. But even in this mode the Captur has plenty of pulling power.
As a visual reminder, a driving style indicator in the dashboard display screen moves through green, yellow and orange zones, giving the driver real-time feedback on how efficiently they are driving.
The Captur is a refreshing breath of fresh air. It’s a car you just can’t help liking.
Model: Renault Captur Dynamique MediaNav dCi 90 Auto EDC
Mechanical: 1461cc, 120bhp, 4 cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6spd automatic gearbox.
Max speed: 105 mph
0-62mph: 13.5 secs
Combined mpg: 72.4
CO2 emissions: 103 g/km
Warranty: Four years/100,000 miles