Pros: design, refinement, responsiveness
Cons: not cheap to buy
Even if you’re not a ‘car person’ you’re likely to have heard of or be aware of the Renault Captur. It’s the company’s smallest crossover and it has been massively successful, in a burgeoning sector. The more substantial second generation launched last year, raising the bar for the car once more. None of that is news at this stage, but the arrival of a new plug-in hybrid technology to the Captur is. This is the new Captur E-Tech.
Renault Captur Design
Other than a few subtle design accents and the addition of a second fuel flap to cover the charging port (on the opposite side to the regular one), there’s little to differentiate the Captur E-Tech from its regular petrol and diesel brethren. And that’s no bad thing, as we reckon that the new Captur is a handsome looking crossover, noticeably chunkier and more assertive than the original. The E-Tech is currently only available in two high-spec trim levels, which enhances its appearance further.
Renault Captur Interior
Inside, the new Captur is much more modern and made of higher quality materials than before. The E-Tech builds on that with a few bits of unique trim that brighten up the cabin further. The upright touchscreen in the middle of the dashboard gives it a thoroughly modern appearance and it works well, too. Meanwhile, the automatic gear shifter sits on a raised centre console that appears to be ‘floating’, adding to the airy feel. The rear seating isn’t bad for the sector, either. Sadly, the boot does lose some volume in comparison to the regular Captur models’, though keeps an underfloor area in which to store the charging cables.
Renault Captur Performance & Drive
This is where the Captur E-Tech impresses. It uses a clever combination of two electric motors and a petrol engine, joined via a patented new transmission design to make the best use of whichever unit makes the most sense at the time. So, battery charge permitting, it always takes off on electric power, and it’s nippy, too, enhanced by the lack of engine noise. When the 1.6-litre engine does kick in, it’s relatively quiet and when all three are working at their fullest, there’s a wholesome 160hp on tap. While few will go searching for every last bit of power in a car like this, it translates into effortless performance at all times.
The official electric range of this car is 50 kilometres, though as ever with plug-in hybrids, that’s only achievable at low speeds and, as a whole, the car works best when it can be used for short journeys with frequent plugging in to charge it up. Nonetheless, it better suits town driving than the diesel Capturs, while giving more performance than the basic petrol models, so it will suit those that want a little more than the entry-level versions can provide.
Renault Captur Pricing
That’s just as well, as the Captur E-Tech is not the cheapest car in the range. Captur pricing starts at €22,595, while the E-Tech is from €29,695 – including the €5,000 SEAI grant. That sounds like a big premium, but in fairness, the E-Tech model is about the same price as the 130hp petrol version with an automatic gearbox – and less expensive than the less powerful automatic diesel option.
Carzone Verdict 4/5
Get used to the E-Tech badge, as Renault is rolling it out across the range. On the Captur, it might not be the default option as yet, but it’s a good plug-in hybrid option for those that would choose a high-spec model anyway. Good timing too, as hybrid sales are set to blossom in the coming years.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: Renault Captur E-Tech
Price: from €29,695
Hybrid system: 1.6-litre engine, two electric motors, 9.8kWh battery
Annual motor tax: €140
0-100km/h: 10.1 seconds
Boot space: 265-1,118 litres