CarToq’s first drive of the Renault Captur – XUV rival – is here!

Renault is ready with yet another all-new car for the Indian market, the Captur. It’s a Mahindra XUV500 rival. We spent some time with the much-awaited, and much talked about upcoming Captur and here is what we think.

Good enough to turn heads?

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The Captur is pronounced as “Capture” and not as “Kaptoor” as assumed by many earlier. The Capture is definitely the best looking Renault in the Indian market. It has European design language looks very premium. The Captur gets heavy creases on the body that gives it a very bold look. At the same time, Renault has added sleek headlamps, and other design elements such as the upswept D-pillar, a large grille with the Renault moniker imposed on the middle gives it an “expensive” feeling.

The Captur is just 14mm longer than the Renault Duster. But with its unique design elements, it looks much more imposing on the road. The Captur gets steeply raked A-Pillars while the roofline slopes down gently to merge with the roof-mounted spoiler. At the rear, the car gets split tail lamps and a prominent faux skid plate that adds more points towards the rugged looks of the vehicle. Compared to the XUV500, the Captur has similar street presence. 

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The Captur sits on 17-inch dual-tone alloy wheels that look good and go well with the overall design of the vehicle. The Captur was able to turn a lot of heads on the Goan roads. We too found the vehicle to be a modern looking crossover  with sporty touches.

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A long list of features?

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The Captur has modern interiors, the best that any Renault car currently offers in India. The cabin still has a few similarities with the Duster in India. However, the Captur offers a lot of new features, which is a first time for a Renault car in India, but ones that are also available in many budget cars of India.

On the outside, the Captur offers full-LED headlamps, which is a first in the segment feature. On the bumper, the Captur comes with LED DRLs placed adjacent to the LED foglamps. The fog lamps also serve as the cornering lights. The tail lamps are full LED too. The Captur gets dynamic turn indicators on the front, an Audi-esque feature.

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On the inside, the Captur offers dual-tone dashboard which is clutter free. In the centre, the dashboard gets a 7.0-inch touchscreen which is borrowed from the Duster, but with more functions. The infotainment system gets a few updates. With the new updates, the system boots up quicker and goes into the reverse camera display mode faster than the Duster’s system. That’s about it.

It still lacks the modern smartphone connectivity options such Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. And no dynamic guidelines for the reverse camera, too. Indians love extra features, and a car, which will be launched with a “premium” tag should not miss out on such features which are now becoming common even on budget cars.

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Even the base variant of the vehicle comes with standard dual airbags, ABS, infotainment system, alloy wheels, and auto climate control. Renault is debuting the top-end version of the Captur in India, and it is named as the “Platine”. This gets a lot of bling – characteristics like gold and white coloured theme for the interiors.

The gold bezel can be seen around the vehicle like on the air-con vents and the infotainment system. The version also gets leather pads on the door, that is a premium touch. Even the seats are diamond stitched leather seats that get dual tone colour. It really adds a “premium” feel to the vehicle.

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The Captur also gets a card-type key, which is unique and looks very good. But it can get mixed up with certain other similar things in your pocket.

Renault also offers various customisation options with the Captur in India. Customers can get various graphics on the roof, mirrors etc. to get a different identity. There are chrome and rough road packages to choose from. There are similar options to do-up the interiors as well.

Interiors as premium as the exterior?

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The Captur gets flowing line on the interiors that connects the dashboard to the door – a very nice touch that feels premium too. Renault has not used soft-touch plastic, but has given the plastic material a texture that adds to the rich look and are “decent” but not “premium” to touch. The air conditioning controls are similar to the Renault Duster, but it is now rubberised, and this feels better to use.

Also, the backlit is white that feels better than the Duster’s system. The Captur gets the same steering unit as the Renault Duster. Same controls as the Duster too. There is a new badge that announces the variant name “Platine” to the drivers, but we are not sure what moniker the entry-level Captur will get here.

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The leather-wrapped gear lever is good to hold on to, but the position of the handbrake is bit awkward. It is too deep, and you really have to do an effort to reach there. The highlight here is the instrument cluster. It is beautifully laid out “spectacle” shaped cluster that gets an LCD speedometer in the middle and an LCD information display just above it.

The information display reads out the range, distance to empty, average fuel economy and also shows the errors. On the left-hand side, there is the tachometer, and on the right and hand, there is the fuel gauge. All the warning lamps are clustered below the fuel gauge.

The seats are very wide and come with side bolsters. People with a wide body frame can easily accommodate themselves in the vehicle. However, we found the seat to be too high. While people of shorter height will enjoy the feeling, the taller people will suffer from cramped headroom.

There are rear AC vent and charging point installed near the left rear seat passenger headrest, but the rear seats cannot be adjusted at all. The Captur also does not gets 60:40 split seats but the rear seat can be folded down completely.

Good to drive?

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The Captur is powered by the same set of engines like the Duster. There are 1.5-litre H4K 105 Bhp petrol engine and a 110 Bhp 1.5-litre K9K diesel engine. The petrol engine gets 5-speed manual transmission while the diesel is paired with a six-speed transmission. Both the engine options come with front wheel drive layouts. The All Wheel Drive option is also on the cards, but for a launch in the future.

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Only the diesel Captur was available during the first drive event. While it is a tried and tested engine, we feel that it is underpowered for the Captur. The car feels sluggish until the turbo spools up to its full force from around 1,750 rpm. The power stays till 4,000 rpm.

While the first gear is short, the second gear acted up little weird on our car. The Captur could not climb a gradual slope in second gear, and it became a bit annoying to drive the vehicle on the climbs. On a proper hilly road, driving the Captur will need excellent skills to switch gears and use the clutch wisely.

The Captur offers a good ride. Because of its high ground clearance, there is some body roll, but the vehicle feels confident even during high-speed corners. The only bad part is the underpowered engine, which makes the vehicle feel much slower than the Mahindra XUV500. The steering feels heavy even during the low speed, but at high-speed, the steering gains weight inducing confidence in the driver. The Captur is a pretty stable vehicle. Also, not to forget about the heavy clutch, which is a common complaint with the Duster owners.

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The high seating position also provides good visibility all around. The quarter glass on the A-pillar provides the extra vision on the corners.

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The Captur offers unladen ground clearance of 210mm, the highest in the segment. That really makes the vehicle capable enough to take it the off-road sections and bad rough roads. The suspension is not on the softer side, but the vehicle feels comfortable and sporty to drive. We did some high-speed runs through the rough roads, and neither we nor the the Captur felt any pain! A perfect match for the Indian road conditions.

Space management

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The Captur really does not offer anything more than what Duster offers. The space management is not very well-thought. There are deep cubby holes that also serves as glass holders in the space between gear lever and infotainment system. The door pockets are not deep enough to hold 1-litre water bottles.

Also, the glove box is surprisingly small. A lot of space has been wasted in the vehicle. The interior door handles are see through. You cannot keep anything in them. There is a lid on the dashboard that provides little extra space, but the lid does not work as it is supposed to. It fails to open or close with a single click.

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The space between the gear-level and the arm-rest is not very useful. There is no space under the armrest, and it is fixed. The rear seats feel a bit cramped too. The only good thing about the space is the 390-litre boot that can hold a huge amount of luggage.

OKAY, should you wait for it?

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Honestly, the Captur feels like a dressed-up Duster in the first place, and we hope that Renault also thinks on the same lines while deciding upon the price of the vehicle. The Captur looks brilliant and offers European styling, but we did see signs of cost-cutting. For instance, the plastic alignment is off at some locations, and the feature list isn’t wow-inducing.

Meanwhile, the Captur will be launched around Diwali this year. The top-end “Platine” version of the vehicle is expected to carry a price tag of Rs. 15 lakh. The base version should be priced around Rs. 12 lakh gain any momentum in the market. Else, the Captur could go on the similar lines of the Scala, Pulse and the Fluence in India.