In late 2013, the Imperial Group who import Renault product into South Africa, increased their stake in the French marque by 11%, expertly taking a controlling share of the pie. It was quite possibly the best time to do this as Renault has enjoyed massive success since that very time. It wasn’t because of the deal as such, but moreso because Renault was on the cusp of launching a barrage of new product that South Africans absolutely love. The Clio 4 was a turning point of sorts for the brand. The launch of Duster in SA was another sock to the gut of the competition. The upgraded Sandero and Sandero Stepway are still the major volume sellers and so the notches keep getting ticked off. Well done Imperial.
Enter the Renault Captur to the market with such a fine team standing behind it. The Captur was launched into the Compact Crossover segment, one in which there were already some standout leaders. The EcoSport from Ford has almost dominated this segment but with competition like the Nissan Juke, Opel Mokka, Kia Soul and the new Citroen C4 Cactus, the game was never going to be easy. But sales speak volumes and Renault has enjoyed the first few months of sales in South Africa. (figures were not confirmed at the time of publishing).
The Renault Captur is a very surprising and unassuming package. Based on the Clio 4, it’s a more practical alternative to the compact hatch and thanks to competitive pricing, it represents a good value option for young family buyers. It’s styling is chic and contemporary, unlike its Duster family member or the very conspicuous C4 Cactus. The interior too, is almost identical to the Clio and that’s a good thing. The Dynamique EDC comes with a host of standard features, most notable of which is a 7-inch touchscreen multimedia interface. From this your entertainment and car settings are at the touch of the intuitive screen – including Bluetooth connect and SATnav. The features list also includes electric side mirrors and windows, climate control, parking sensors, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers.
The Captur is compact and drives like an everyday hatchback, with light controls and precise handling, but it also has the advantage of a raised driving position that affords good visibility. The Interior space is impressive. In my driving position there was still plenty of comfortable leg room at the back for passengers, kids and dogs alike. The added benefit is that if you’re slightly on the tall side and prefer a driving position that is further back, your rear passengers will still be comfortable because the rear seat is a sliding bench.
Running costs on the Captur should be very low thanks to the two frugal engines in the range. The 900CC 66KW petrol and the 1,2 Litre 88KW petrol version that we drove. For the first time, we managed to outperform the claimed fuel consumption figures of the manufacturer. This is no small feat especially when the claimed consumption is a respectable 6,6 l/100km on the Urban Cycle.
The Captur 88kW Dynamique EDC version retails for R279 900 and is sold with a 5 yr/150 000km Maintenance Plan. It seems to be going well for Renault and the Captur, I am sure, will not upset the apple cart.
Avon Middleton is a multimedia and digital media manager by profession and an avid car-lover. He runs Drivingsa which is a motoring content provider producing and delivering automotive insights for various high-profile media channels. He is a long-time friend and partner of Kasibiz and contributes his insights on a regular basis.