14 Jan 2013

Renault Captur SUV images and specs

This is the new Renault Captur (which means nothing in English, although in Spanish it means 'pick up').  It's a new, small SUV based on the Clio platform and will rival the new Peugeot 2008, Vauxhall Mokka, Ford Ecosport et al.  The Captur is Renault's second big launch recently, following the Clio, and shares the Clios engines and chassis.  You can read all about the Clio here.

Basically the Captur is an SUV in the Nissan Juke mould, albeit without the Juke's hideous styling. In fact the Captur is a more pleasant proposition than any of it's competitors.  After the awful big butt era Renault have reined in their bustle excesses and are producing some very pretty cars.

The Captur will only be available as a front wheel drive, which could be a mistake given the competitor that no-one talks about (the Skoda Yeti), has a 4x4 option.  Renault must have done their research though - and know what proportion of Juke's sold in 2WD only.  Obviously the cost of engineering four wheel drive into the Clio platform outweighed any potential profits they would make from putting it on the market.

So the Captur should do well.  The engines are tried and tested (and good) and the chassis is great.  Thank goodness they are putting out some proper cars.  Were Renault just to concentrate on Electric Vehicles (which they have poured €billions into) then they'd go bust before you could say 'Merde, nous avons fait une grosse erreur'.

EVs may be the future in ten years when battery and charging technology give us a 300 mile range, and 10 minutes refuelling time.  But for now Renault just need to forget EVs and sell internal combustion powered vehicles in order to recoup some of their massive losses.  The French government, who normally bail them out, are running out of money themselves.

The Captur is 4.12 metres in length (30cm longer than a MINI) and has a high-up SUV driving position, a decent sized boot and lots of interior storage space.  It also comes loaded with gadgets such as hill assist, parking sensors, in-dash R-Link touchscreen, Bluetooth and a high end stereo.

It will be manufactured in Spain and will be launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March.