back to article Renault Captur: Nobody who knows about cars will buy this

The Renault Captur (Dynamique MediaNav dCi 90, to give it its full name) is the kind of car people who buy them describe as “easy to drive”. These are the same people who when you ask what car is that, they say “a red one”. I once reviewed the IBM PS/1 and was more than a little disappointed. The only thing IBM and I agreed …

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  1. MrNed

    How much?

    £16,595 for that?!

    Or spend half as much on a 2-to-3 year old Focus / Civic / Golf etc. etc. and get a car with space, comfort, economy (when you want it), performance (when you need it), etc.

    And it looks liable to roll over if you take a corner at anything approaching a normal driving speed.

    1. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Re: How much?

      Makes you wonder whether the car companies are taking the piss or the pound has really been made that worthless over the last few years.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: How much?

      "£16,595 for that?!"

      No, don't be silly. It will be £900 down, and £239 per month for 3 years, then pay balloon payment of £9000 or hand it back.

      Angel Dust you see. Phencyclidine.

      A new PPI scandal in gestation.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “Nobody who knows about cars will buy a Renault Captur”

    Well, you either want a car or you want a Renault. :-)

  3. jzlondon

    I don't give a rat's a*se how a car drives and I'm proud of it. How well it functions as transport is key. Does it cost a bomb to run? Is it reliable? Is it safe? Is it big enough?

    If cars are your hobby, that's nice for you. But the number of people who need to buy cars is much greater than the number of people who care about the process of driving them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You mention one important factor which is directly attributable to how a car drives: is it safe?

      Safety isn't just about whether you die or not if someone crashes into you. If you have to swerve to avoid something, are you going to be able to maintain control of your car? Can you reach 70 mph up a steep slip road to be able to filter into a busy motorway? Are you confident that you can stop safely if someone or something jumps out in front of you? Unfortunately this last example is one of the worst things about the motor industry. Higher spec models get good brakes and the entry level models get crap brakes. People have this misconception that you only need good brakes if you "drive quickly".

      The safest cars are usually the best to drive. OK, so a rear wheel drive car with loads of power is going to allow you to powerslide should you wish to, but you don't have to drive like that even if you're car's capable of it.

      The NCAP stuff should be a given. All cars have a driver though and cars which give the driver control and confidence are the safest.

      1. jzlondon

        If you can lock the wheels up, the brakes are good enough. Obviously modern cars have ABS to prevent this, but the point stands: brakes can only be *so* good. Unless you start fitting parachutes to the car.

        As for handling, the worst situation is that I'm going to need to swerve. Generally, all cars are capable of doing that. And most of the time, safety is about keeping a good distance and not speeding.

        Fast cars tempt people into speeding.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          >As for handling, the worst situation is that I'm going to need to swerve. Generally, all cars are capable of doing that.

          Not true, I'm afraid. If your car has a big heavy diesel engine in the front and is front wheel drive with skinny tyres, you are more likely to continue in the direction that you were going in before you moved the steering wheel than if you are in a light car with four-wheel drive, active differentials, and the ability to brake wheels individually or send power to where it's needed. Of course, for the keen driver this means being able to corner well, but it also means being able to maintain control in a tricky situation.

          >safety is about keeping a good distance and not speeding.

          This depends on how you define speeding. If you mean not going so quickly that you are potentially unable to stop then you're right. If you mean staying below the posted speed limit then you're not. In many situations, a safe speed is well below the posted limit, and is dependent on weather, traffic, road condition etc. In many other cases a speed above the limit would be safe, but there needs to be a defined limit and it wouldn't be sensible to change it on every bend.

          Safety is actually about being constantly aware of your surroundings and driving with the limit of the conditions, your car, and your own abilities, and being capable of preventing an accident in unexpected situations.

          >Fast cars tempt people into speeding.

          Every car on sale today is capable of exceeding the national speed limit. "Fast" cars may be able to get you to the speed limit more quickly but in the right hands a fast car is perfectly safe. When I was younger I drove crap old cars, and certainly when I was in my teens I often drove like a dick, in cars that struggled to get to 60. Now I'm old, sensible and earn my own money I buy cars which are capable and have a decent amount of power. In over 20 years of driving I've never claimed from my insurance and never had a speeding ticket.

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Handling, communication is the key.

            Some good handling cars do not actually grip that well but you can find the limit and know how far you can take it. Some cars have massive grip but you cannot go anywhere near it due to lack of communication.

            Most cars these days do not communicate. This is why the Toybaru is so liked.

            My current car is not a good handler but is not bad, it does communicate. Sits on 2 heavy live axles, permanent 4WD, big heavy Diesel, understeers if you are too fast into a corner and surprisingly oversteers if you boot it in a corner, but from a standstill tries to spin a front wheel which the TC controls. But basically even though it has enough grip, and reasonable suspension you would not choose it for twisty road driving, but despite that it is still fun, (and startles boring cars), because I can tell what it is doing so I have confidence that I am not about to slide off into a hedge.

            Others by the same manufacturer vary from big upright sports car, to slow and ponderous and not sure what lane it wants to be in, via 2CV levels of roll.

        2. NumptyScrub

          If you can lock the wheels up, the brakes are good enough. Obviously modern cars have ABS to prevent this, but the point stands: brakes can only be *so* good. Unless you start fitting parachutes to the car.

          The single most important safety item on any car is the tyres. If you put shitty £10 teflon tyres on then your grip levels are compromised, and braking and cornering (including swerving) will all be far below safe levels.

          Summer tyres are practically worthless in snow or ice. Winter snow/ice tyres are subpar in dry summer conditions. Cheap tyres with shitty grip levels mean you could lock up the wheels just using your handbrake. You want the right tyres for the conditions, and you want the best grip available because that is the safest configuration available.

          I've had sports vehicles that could lock the wheels up using "performance summer" tyres, but that could not lock up the tyres running slicks on track, no matter had hard I stomped the pedal. The more grip that is available, the harder the brakes are able to work.

          It's all about the tyres ;)

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        "Can you reach 70 mph up a steep slip road to be able to filter into a busy motorway? "

        I've noticed that most commercial vehicles that are governed to 56mph or less do tend to struggle with that essential safety manoeuvre. So motorways should be littered with flattened cars at every on ramp then?

        1. Streetwiser

          struggle with this car

          The cars got no power and should not be used on the motorway after 20,000 miles

    2. Robert E A Harvey

      Answers

      >Does it cost a bomb to run?

      My hire car managed 28.8mpg on diesel . Don;t believe what the manufacturers claim

      > Is it safe?

      In my experience no. Neither brakes nor lights were adequate, and it rolled like a tea clipper on the easiest of roundabouts or bends.

      >Is it big enough?

      No. Put a tall person in the front and the seat behind is only good for dogs.

      >Is it reliable?

      it has one of those proximity cards instead of a key. I did not have it long enough to evaluate reliability (although the passenger sun visor did fall off). But those proximity cards fill me with dread.

      1. Cynical Shopper

        Re: Answers

        "My hire car managed 28.8mpg on diesel . Don;t believe what the manufacturers claim"

        The manufacturers don't claim the MPG figures, they're the real result of standard EU tests.

        OK, they game the system to get an astoundingly impossible result, but that's the fault of the test not the manufacturers.

        1. Hans 1 Silver badge

          Re: Answers

          @ Cynical Shopper

          News flash: Brit blames EU.

          Please, you do not know what you are talking about. They are bringing specifically modified cars, with overinflated tires for example, different clutches etc to the test.

          The manufacturers are cheating ... you cannot yet launch a class action suit in France (it will be coming, I heard), but you should certainly do so elsewhere if your country allows it. They are advertising results for a non-showroom car - that's it, false advertizing.

          Apple analogy: Apple claim its iPhone 6 can hold 40Tb of data - well, because the prototype with new generation flash ship showed that in its tests.

          Apple do not do that, they would get in trouble ... car makers? No problem! Why ? Jobs, not Steve, workers in Europe ...

          1. Cynical Shopper

            Re: Answers

            @Hans 1

            "Please, you do not know what you are talking about. They are bringing specifically modified cars, with overinflated tires for example, different clutches etc to the test"

            The EU test *allows* the manufacturers to do this. It should not. If Apple were *allowed* to claim its iPhone 6 can hold 40Tb of data (5TB?) then you can be sure that it would.

            The test is to blame.

        2. Robert E A Harvey

          Re: Answers

          >manufacturers don't claim the MPG figures

          As far as I know the EU does not tell me what the results are, the manufacturers do. They could add "of course, this is bollox, the real world results will be...". But they don't. Seems a lot like a manufacturer's claim to me, in that they communicate it and don't offer any other value to use.

          1. Cynical Shopper

            Re: Answers

            @ Robert E A Harvey

            Manufacturers are compelled by law to include the results of the standard EU tests, along with CO2 emission figure, on all advertisements.

            1. Robert E A Harvey

              Re: Answers

              @Cynical Shopper

              And does the same legislation forbid them telling us what to actually expect?

  4. Wombling_Free

    drive like a Christian? eh?

    Ayrton Senna was devout Catholic, and when once asked how he got around corners so well answered: "Jesus is there pointing to the apex for me"

    No idea if that's true or not, but as a certified agnostic I find that to be quite a beautiful image.

  5. xyz

    The advert made me doubt this car

    Freshwater fish does a "Great Escape" job and seemingly ends up loving a salt water sea. I thought at that point that if the marketing bods were so dumb, the car had to be.

    Also reminds me of that old joke...Heaven is where the police are British, the mechanics German, the cooks French, the lovers Italian and the whole thing's run by the Swiss. Hell is where the cooks are British, the mechanics French, the police German, the lovers Swiss and the whole thing's run by the Italians.

  6. JDX Gold badge

    Built to a price?

    Based on the article I thought the price would be like £9k... not £16k! That's proper car prices.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tce Engine

    I drive hire cars at least twice a month and have been doing so for the past several years.

    I regularly drive between Cardiff and Southampton and back again.

    I was given a Captur with the .9 litre turbo petrol engine just before Christmas.

    Seriously it did not have many redeeming features.

    As per the reviewer of this one the car is mahoosively underpowered for it's size - but then doesn't make up for it with economy. The car is plastered in Eco badges. They are a joke. The economy was the worst of any modern car I've ever driven. Driving back I maintained a steady 70mph. Even so it achieved a staggering 29mpg!

    My own personal car is a 2003 (Back before the environment mattered) Volvo S40 2.0 litre petrol. Even that would easily achieve 34mpg on the same journey.

    Combined with a hideously small fuel tank it had to be refuelled before I got back to Cardiff.

    I've also driven the clio with the same engine. In that car the performance isn't too bad.. However it's a weird thing to drive. It's ridiculously easy to hit the rev limiter. You go to pull out past something on a duel carriage way - just feel like you're hitting the power band and then you hit the limiter - next thing you know you're avidly searching for gears. I'm usually a fan of manuals - but this one feels like it needs one of those flappy paddle boxes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tce Engine

      That's the problem with underpowered cars. Driven at normal speeds, i.e. 70 mph you'll get terrible fuel economy. A couple of guys at a place I used to work got Priuses on the company scheme when they came out. BIK was great and the fuel economy figures looked great. In reality on the motorway the economy was terrible and they'd have been better off getting something with a 2l Diesel.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tce Engine

        I've driven a Prius for around 20 000 miles (before I needed something that could tow). The economy on the motorway, when the batteries are not in use, is that of any mid size hatchback with a modern engine, i.e. around 50-55mpg at a steady 70. The engine horsepower is irrelevant. A Diesel under the same conditions will use much less fuel by volume, because Diesel versus Otto cycle and Derv is much denser than gasoline.

        But on real congested motorways it's a very different story because the Prius comes into its own in slow traffic when it is on electric. A car with stop/start is stopping and starting the engine every time a few yards progress is made, causing a lot of wear. A Diesel or petrol car without is using fuel all the time to do nothing. Shortly after I got the Prius I was stuck in traffic on the M6, and in three quarters of an hour made barely a quarter mile of progress. Suddenly there was a strange noise, and I realised that the engine had only just come on to charge the battery.

        If you can be sure of driving mostly on motorways at unsocial hours your Diesel may have an advantage, but my experience is that in mixed real world traffic conditions the Prius uses less fuel.

        1. NumptyScrub

          Re: Tce Engine

          But on real congested motorways it's a very different story because the Prius comes into its own in slow traffic when it is on electric. A car with stop/start is stopping and starting the engine every time a few yards progress is made, causing a lot of wear. A Diesel or petrol car without is using fuel all the time to do nothing. Shortly after I got the Prius I was stuck in traffic on the M6, and in three quarters of an hour made barely a quarter mile of progress. Suddenly there was a strange noise, and I realised that the engine had only just come on to charge the battery.

          If you can be sure of driving mostly on motorways at unsocial hours your Diesel may have an advantage, but my experience is that in mixed real world traffic conditions the Prius uses less fuel.

          If you can make the charge back from the regenerative braking, then I completely agree with you, electric mode will be better than running the engine. However, if you are making the charge back by using the internal combustion engine as a generator (it is not designed to be an efficient generator, it's designed as a car engine), I suspect that the total power efficiency of motive force from engine generated electric charge sent to the wheels, vs total power efficiency of motive force from the ICE, are going to be comparable, if not slightly biased to driving directly from the ICE. Storage losses plus electric motor efficiency will need to be as good as, or better than, transmission losses for it to be better using the engine to charge the batteries than just drive the axle.

          Does anyone know those comparative figures for hybrid vehicles? If driving the car from an engine-charged battery is still 10% more efficient than just using the engine then hybrids are a (literal) no-brainer for fuel economy, and ICE only cars should be phased out. If driving the car from the engine is even 1% more efficient than driving it from an engine-charged battery, then the design should really only allow for charging via regenerative braking (that literally is free energy, since you want to lose the kinetic energy anyway, you might as well get some use out of it).

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If no one with a clue about cars...

    ...would buy this, then it will probably be a great sales success as 95% of the world is clueless about cars so they should love it.

  9. Matdamon

    Why are you reviewing cars?

    Review an S-CLASS or a flying Delorean and I'm with you. But a particularly rubbish random Renault for wives of people who have no concept of how things work? I'm not sure that's a demographic you should be targeting.

    1. Queasy Rider

      Re: Why are you reviewing cars?

      I would guess he wrote the review because he thought people would be interested, and with over a hundred comments so far I'd say he was right. This isn't Hot Rod magazine. Get over it.

      1. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: Why are you reviewing cars?

        I'm inclined to think he reviewed this car because Renault were willing to let him. Seriously, would you trust a Reg hack with anything they could do serious damage in?

        ;o)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It never going to surprise you in a good way or bad.

    oh, like I want a surprise with my house keys, MS Office 2020, wife? They have their uses. So does this car (ridiculous name, by the way), to take you from A to B and be trendy, or the right colour, whatever. Not that I can afford it, or if I could afford it, that I would buy it, but it's a means of transport, like facebook being not the means of communications with your friends.

  11. Yamas
    Joke

    @ voice recognition

    "This has voice recognition but, like the engine, the processor is so underpowered it spends an age decoding what you have asked it."

    It's because you asked in Englishe mon ami, some pre-processing translation job kicked in:

    var voiceCommand = getVoiceCommand();

    if (!NativevoiceAkaSuperiorFrench())

    voiceCommand = translateFromOtherInferiorLanguage(DefaultLocalLanguage); // delaying bit

    ApplyRecognistedCommand(voiceCommand)

    DefaultLocalLanguage variable is set to "English" in the UK

    Bonne journée mon ami!

  12. Yugguy

    Leave the letters on

    What next?

    The Cli? The Lagun?

  13. Hans 1 Silver badge

    French Saying

    Qui part en Renaud rentre a velo.

  14. Ol' Grumpy

    Won't buy another Renault or any other car for that matter where you have to remove the battery to change a head lightbulb. This from the country that insists you carry a spare bulb kit so you can change them by the side of the road.

  15. Indolent Wretch

    Wife has one, it's the main family car.

    Plenty of space, including for adults in the back, good space in the boot. Lots of headroom. I'm big and tall and it's comfortable in the front.

    The seatbeat mounting positions are comfortable and don't dig into your shoulder. A rarity these days.

    Bluetooth hookups work perfectly, the sat navs alright, the touch screen media panel is fine. The keyless entry and start buttons work well.

    The car seems perfectly fast enough and my wife enjoys driving it. It has a ridiculously low road tax, costs very little to ensure and has extremely good fuel efficiency.

    It's got bags of style (a personal thing I know).

    Reliability, well we haven't had any problems yet except a flat. It was I thought a bit expensive but comparable with the equivalent supermini-crossovers from Nissan, Suzuki, Mazda, Vauxhall, etc.

    Given all that and the comments he made I'm not at all surprised that the reviewer hated it.

  16. IsJustabloke Silver badge
    Meh

    never gonna be an exciting car to drive

    I agree with the consensus, in as much that for the people that car is aimed at it'll probably be just fine. I also agree with people that say an under powered car is as dangerous as an overpowered one.

    For me though, the biggest crime is that this journo was driving this car while blind .... that can be the only explanation for describing this assault on the eyes as good looking.

    Its fucking hideous!

    TBF renault have previous in making "interesting" looking cars.

  17. Callum

    pushed one out of the glenshee car park last week

    for all it's ruggedness, boy is it awful in snow. An owner, with an orange one similar to the pictures, got it stuck less than 6 ft into the glenshee snow covered car park last week. The combination of light weight front end, high ration first gear and wide useless eco tyres made it get stuck in less than 3 inches of snow!

  18. werdsmith Silver badge

    Nobody who knows about cars would write this article.

    That excellent crash protection that the authors praised is earned by things like the thick A-pillar that the author criticised. And so on throughout the article.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A freedom of information request was lodged to find out the cars that failed the MOT test the most and those that failed the least. They grouped them by age for fairness.

    Most likely to fail, Renault Megane.

    Least likely to fail, Honda Jazz.

    Says it all really, Renault = poor quality.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think I'm the only one who doesn't take to the modern trend of SUVs or pretend SUVs like this and the Washcow?

    Best Renault in recent years, in terms of looks, was the Laguna coupe. From the side and rear it could easily be mistaken for an Aston Martin. A shame they never went the whole hog and put a new Ford-style grille on it.

    The Irish market facelift Laguna and Fluence (diesel) have grown as alternative D segment contenders, the latter of which is ridiculously cheap to tax.

    Remember when French cars were either poky fun superminis or floaty big barges?

  21. Rick Brasche

    as an American, all I can say is...

    "waah!" at least you HAVE an option for a tight, efficient diesel motor.

    If I want an underpowered yet utilitarian city/econo car, I am lucky to find something that queefs out any useful torque at all (HP numbers be damned) and still barely see 35 real world MPG unless I spend 2X on some hybrid heavy battery backup system.

    Even our version of the Smart got no oil-burner and barely gives 40mpg.

    So at least you guys get decent gas mileage with your gutlessness.

    (hell, we never got the Fiat 500 with the Twin Air in California either :( )

    1. Cynical Shopper

      Re: as an American, all I can say is...

      If it helps, we do get more liquid in our gallons.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some great comments again

    I can see things from both sides - I'm a bit of a petrol head, having owned Porsches and until recently a 3.0l Quattro A5.

    Whilst they were all great fun and the A5 could comfortably return 40mpg they each became impractical for me - kids being born, kids growing larger, hobbies meaning the need to carry more kit, changing jobs etc etc.

    So now I have a truck. It has 'proper' old-school switchable 4 wheel drive and lockable diffs with hi/lo ratios.

    It returns an appalling 17-30mpg depending where I'm driving it.

    But it covers off my particular use cases splendidly - it's got five seats that grown ups can all comfortably occupy, has a decent almost car-like cabin with plenty of toys to keep me occupied on long trips and I can fit all manner of work and hobby related kit in the back.

    Of course it will never compare to the kinds of cars I had previously - the A5 and Porsches comfortablye did 0-62 in under 6 seconds, were electronically limited to 155mph and cornered like they were on rails, whereas the truck does 0-62*. And corners like a ship.

    I do agree though with others - there are just better alternatives out there than that Renault. My neighbour had a people carrier thing (can't remember which model off-hand) by Renault. As I recall, it was around a 2002/2003 and he found on one MOT that to change the headlight bulb required the removal of the entire front bumper!

    I also agree with the other comments - no, you don't _need_ a vehicle that fast or powerful but yeah they're great fun.

    *It does 0-62. Eventually.

  23. Runty Dog
    Devil

    Get the piano ready & spool up the chopper!

    I guess that Clarkson, et al could rid Blighty of the dreaded Captur invasion by forceful use of pianos. Be fun to watch.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Renault Captur is tin on wheels

    Not a quality made car, just cheaply made and a straining engine that will failed at 30,000, the breakers yards will be full of these in 3 years time.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Renault Captur not made to last, DO NOT BUY

    The bonnet is very thin and can be detn by a heavy hand, the wongs are plastic without reinforcement bars, the doors are thin metal without reinforcement bars, the bumpers are held on by plastic clips, the whole car is joke , its engine is over run and will collapse after 30K miles, the interior is cheap plastic and will break easily, once again held by plastic clips, there are alot of faults with this car and its not recommend as this car will not last , just a good looking car, but safety wise a nightmare. DO NOT BUY !

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