After being largely responsible for the popularization of MPVs with the Megane Scenic in 1996, Renault went on to create the bigger Espace but now the wheel has turned again.
The modern Captur is the latest in this type of model and is a crossover which has the space of an MPV combined with the styling of an SUV and delivered through the compact package of the New Clio hatchback upon which it is based.
There are 12 models in the Captur series with a choice of compact petrol and diesel engines, manual or automatic transmission and trim levels from about £12,500 to £18,900.
That price range and specification cuts through most competitors and we tested the best selling 120bhp 1.2 with the six-speed automatic gearbox.
It is a very good choice. Because its compact the engine does not work very hard and delivers good performance in terms of acceleration and cruising abililty.
It also easily averaged 45mpg on test and thanks to the velvet smooth changes in the six-speed gearbox it was very enjoyable even in heavy stop and start traffic.
Underfoot, the brakes were well up to the task of slowing and stopping the Captur without a lot of pressure irrespective of the passengers and weight aboard and the parking brake held it on a very steep slope.
Secondary controls fall immediately to hand and the stylish fascia houses clearly displayed instruments and warning lights while the very modern in-car entertainment system is smart and efficient linking MP3 and Bluetooth services to your mobile gadgets.
Climate control is standard and straightforward with good temperature selection, output and directional control, backed up by electric windows front and back.
Oddments room is good for a family car and the boot very easily extends from 377 to 1235 litres with a low loading boot floor for ease of use.
The access is good for people and the seats really give wrap-around support and location as well as providing good adjustment and comfort for a variety of users. Visibility was good all round apart from some rear blindspots when reversing.
This comfort allied with the smoothness of the controls and very low noise levels, the most being road rumbles, gave the Captur a real sense of refinement in a compact package.
The Captur really does fulfill a few roles and does that well. It is not the roomiest, it’s not the sportiest, but it is practical and fairly economical.
It does a lot very well and nothing badly and I think the final choice against its rivals will be down to running costs and finance.
|Fast facts Renault Captur TCe 120A||Price: £17,195|
|Mechanical: 4cyl 1197cc 120bhp, 6sp auto||Insurance group: 14|
|Max speed: 119mph||0-62mph: 10.9sec|
|Combined mpg: 52.3mpg (45mpg on test)||CO2 emissions: 125gkm|
|BIK rating: VED band D/ 18%||Warranty: 4yrs/ 100,000 miles|