Sunday, June 26, 2022

CAPTUR MY HEART I test drove the Renault Captur E Tech Hybrid and you might be surprised how it drives

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WHAT is the best selling Renault?

That would have to be Clio, you say.

Not. It’s the Renault Captur.

The baby SUV that’s heavily based on Clio, so you were half right.

In its second generation, the discreetly popular engine has completely eclipsed the somewhat subpar handling characteristics of its predecessor.

It actually handles pretty neatly now.

But perhaps more importantly for its target market, it looks a heck of a lot better too.

With a significantly curvaceous aesthetic and an extra chunk in its stance, it’s not to be confused with the outgoing model.

Originally only available in petrol and plug-in hybrid versions, this latest hybrid addition – generously electrified but cable-free – proves to be just the ticket.

And it’s a rarity too, as many of its direct competitors like the VW T-Roc, Skoda Kamiq and Seat Arona still don’t offer a hybrid option.

The Captur Hybrid is equipped with a 1.6-liter petrol engine, a 1.2 kW battery and two electric motors, which enable it to always start with 100 percent electricity and, at the touch of a button, to drive briefly as a purely electric vehicle if required allow the battery reserves.

It’s also nice and quiet most of the time, only getting noisy when the naturally aspirated petrol engine suddenly kicks into high gear.

With three different riding modes and three levels of energy regeneration under braking, it’s impressively customizable, allowing you to challenge the battery a little longer or take advantage of the extra power from the electric motors.

The Captur’s e-technology and fancy advanced automatic transmission were actually developed in collaboration with the Alpine F1 racing team.

But that doesn’t mean you’ll challenge Fernando Alonso at the wheel, because you won’t.

Boot space is decent, nudging 440 liters by sliding the rear seats forward. A simple but extremely useful little feature.

Another nice touch is the floating center console with a wireless phone charger embedded underneath.

The updated range of trims starts with ‘Evolution’, which features 17-inch alloys, keyless entry and a 7-inch iPad-style touchscreen, and moves up to ‘Techno’ and then ‘RSLine’, the top End choice with redesigned bumpers, larger wheels and even larger touchscreen.

The Captur hybrid costs £1,000 more than the similarly powered petrol-engined Captur – and it’s almost £5,000 cheaper than the plug-in hybrid.

You do the math. It’s the right thing.

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