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 …

  1. BongoJoe Silver badge

    I wonder if I am the sort of person then that this pile of crap is aimed towards. I know bugger all about cars, I see them as a tool nothing more or nothing less.

    I want to knw if I can get myself, wife, dog and assorted wheelchairs and what-not into the thing, whether I can get half a ton of wood in the back and up my lane to the cottage. If I can, then I am interested.

    I don't even know the model number of the Landie that I have nor do I know the registration number come to that (I can recognise the thing in a carpark; it's the one that recently caught fire) and that's enough for me.

    And anyway, if one wants a thrill out of drving then I suggest that one can get a thrill out of any vehicle given the circumstances or the road. Any straight line road is dull after a while anyway; when I worked in Germany and tore up and down the autobahns in my three and a half litre white car at over 110mph and I found that thrill went. Now try to go around a badly designed roundabout in the wrong gear in, say, a Micra, and then things do get thrilling -- will it oversteer at the wrong time or will it understeer? There's no way to tell other than to get one's boot down and find out.

    Going around same roundabout in a car that hugs the road at 3G is relatively dull because you know that you're going to get there.

    If one can't get a thrill out of driving that then perhaps you're driving it right and that will never do.

    1. Mark 65 Silver badge

      One issue that should concern you that people seldom think about when buying cars is "how much will this thing cost to fix?". A lot depends on whether you will buy it new and turn it over in 3 years (capped priced servicing) or not but some of these cars, and the French are bastards for it, have absolutely bizarrely laid out engine bays that are a total and utter c*nt to service. Just have a quick word with your mechanic before looking at buying and gauge their reaction. I know a few that hate certain models despite the extra money they bring in by requiring more hours for the same job as the grief they cause just isn't worth it. When the owners complain "that's a bit steep, X around the corner only paid £Y to get his clutch replaced" they often feel like retorting "well his car wasn't designed by a sadistic bastard".

      1. cambsukguy

        I think a mechanic friend told me about the Renault Fuego 30 years ago, non standard spark plugs and god knows what else.

        Amazing if they still do it. They are just not better than other cars so anything that makes them less affordable is surely crackers.

      2. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Indeed, Renault did that with the Kangoo.. I have no idea how they even got the engine in it, probably from underneath. It took half an hour to find the bonnet (hood) release, passenger side? really? and then a look in the manual to find the dipstick. Jammed under the engine next to something very hot. And it was still hot after that half hour, so there's no way you can just check it.

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          "It took half an hour to find the bonnet (hood) release, passenger side? really?"

          I feel inclined to point out that, since you drive on the other side of the road, having the bonnet release there is perfectly logical. It would be the driver side of any European model.

          1. The First Dave

            @Heyrick:

            So it's perfectly okay if they leave the steering wheel and pedals on the wrong side of the car as well then?

            1. Uffish
              Trollface

              Criticising other countries' cars...

              ... is a waste of time; expect no more than a gallic shrug in response to criticism of French cars, and probably the same from any other nation's constructor(s). If you want things to be done better try starting up your own car company.

          2. Norphy

            "I feel inclined to point out that, since you drive on the other side of the road, having the bonnet release there is perfectly logical. It would be the driver side of any European model."

            I drive a Volkswagen. Also made in Europe, in Germany where they drive on the right hand side of the road too. However, the bonnet release catch is on the driver side in my car despite the steering wheel being on the opposite side of where it would be in Germany. The good people at VW obviously took some care to make sure that they tried to make their cars as RHD friendly as possible at the design stage. By the sounds of it, Renault does not (or didn't in the case of that car).

            Not adapting your cars to LHD and RHD markets is being lazy, nothing more nothing less.

            1. Lallabalalla

              YMMV - literally

              @Norphy - Well, I have a VW Transporter-based camper - RHD - and the bonnet release is on the left. Methinks it's not so much lazy as a mixture of "who really cares" mixed with a VERY large dose of "it's cheaper that way".

            2. Alan Brown Silver badge

              German vs French manufacturers

              "The good people at VW obviously took some care to make sure that they tried to make their cars as RHD friendly as possible at the design stage. By the sounds of it, Renault does not (or didn't in the case of that car)."

              Not just Renault.

              Pedals which work well on LHD Pugeots end up being an utter bollox on RHD ones and let's not forget the issue of brake pedals being a linkage under the carpet to the left side of the cabin, resulting in a passenger who knows where to put his foot being able to stop the car.

              Then there's the electrics. Lucas (prince of darkness) has multiple french spawn.

            3. Felicity

              With Brexit and the falling pound, it is like!y that continental manufacturers will think twice as to whether it is necessary to build all models in right hand drive version.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ Mark 65

        >how much will this thing cost to fix

        To be fair to Renault, and having owned one I'm not usually inclined to be so, most modern cars are absolute buggers to fix yourself. I could wax lyrical about the times I've fixed cars with knicker elastic, and I have, but nowadays the engine bays of virtually all new cars are so cramped you can't even find a spark plug let alone replace one. Then there's the engine management control unit, I hate them with a passion. I'm suprised you don't have to get it reprogrammed simply for daring to open the bonnet and top up the wiper fluid. Just another way to try to tie you to the manufacturer. That and the need for special tools which cost a fortune and aren't profitable for a small workshop to have. These days I just drive and pray the car keeps going.

        And has anybody else noticed that the Haynes manuals aren't anywhere near as good as they used to be?

        1. Richard Taylor 2 Silver badge

          Re: @ Mark 65

          **** And has anybody else noticed that the Haynes manuals aren't anywhere near as good as they used to be? ***

          And winters really seem to have gone downhill as well. But my space shuttle Haynes manual is still giving value for money :-)a

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: @ Mark 65

          "has anybody else noticed that the Haynes manuals aren't anywhere near as good as they used to be?"

          Assuming a Haynes manual for your car exists at all.

      4. Loneseal
        Facepalm

        on my Wifes Megane 1.5 replacing the headlight bulbs entails jacking up the car, removing the front wheel and then reaching through an access panel that can barely accommodate my hand.

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          my Wifes Megane 1.5 replacing the headlight bulbs entails jacking up the car

          My Honda Jazz is similar but apparently if you turn the wheels, have thin hands and can work blind you can skip the jack and wheel removal.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          WRT bulb replacement: Recent EU design rules changes have outlawed that kind of thing for filiament bulb changes (they have to be able to be performed at the roadside with no tools).

          The probable result is an acceleration of the adoption of leds and even more bastard arrangements for replacing units.

    2. Terry 6 Silver badge

      @BongoJoe

      I'm with you. When the kids were small we had the Citroen Berlingo.

      Just totally functional.

      The very anthesis of a boy racer's car.

      But it could get two kids, baby cot, dog, suitcases and all the other stuff you need as a parent down to the seaside. It had lots of places to plug gadgets in, seatback trays for colouring books, snacks, etc.

      Storage spaces anywhere you could possibly imagine ( and a few you wouldn't).

      The rear seats could be stripped out in minutes to turn it into the van it really was - perfect for when the kids need a new bedroom suite from the local DIY store.

      But it wouldn't impress a Clarkson.

      1. Christopher Rogers

        "But it wouldn't impress a Clarkson"

        The Skoda Yeti did though and it is just as practical...

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "Now try to go around a badly designed roundabout in the wrong gear in, say, a Micra, and then things do get thrilling"

      This was most of the fun of mini sevens or fiat 850s. If you got out of shape it usually wasn't fatally so.

  2. Paul Johnston
    Happy

    Which is more dangerous?

    Watching the little processing icon is as tiresome as it is dangerous.

    v

    drive like you stole it

    Your guess is as good as mine.

    I would thought for a lot of people having a car boy racers wouldn't steal is a positive advantage.

  3. Graham 24

    Built to appeal to its market, which is not you

    It's a car for people with young families, not a car for a tech-, speed- and power-focused reviewer. Unsurprisingly, you don't like it much. That doesn't make it a bad car - it makes it a bad car for you. It sounds very good for taking Mum, Dad and two kids and all their paraphernalia out on a Saturday afternoon, which is its intended market.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Graham 24 Re: Built to appeal to its market, which is not you

      ".....It sounds very good for taking Mum, Dad and two kids and all their paraphernalia out on a Saturday afternoon....." So you missed the bit about the lack of rear leg room then?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Graham 24 Built to appeal to its market, which is not you

        And how many young families have kids over six foot that would find the rear leg room cramped - very few I would imagine.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Graham 24 Built to appeal to its market, which is not you

          >>And how many young families have kids over six foot that would find the rear leg room cramped - very few I would imagine.

          I have a young family. A 5 month old in fact. I bought a new car when she came along and rear leg room is very important. This is because my wife sits in the back. When baby starts screaming my wife can comfort her, give her a bottle etc. and as we chose a car with decent rear legroom (a Golf in case anyone gives a shit) she can sit in comfort throughout the journey.

          It was lucky we thought of that. A lot of cars we looked at had crap legroom in the back and while it's tempting to say that kids won't care, in reality it made a huge difference, at least for us. But maybe we're the only ones with kids who decided to start with a baby ;-)

          1. fishman

            Re: Graham 24 Built to appeal to its market, which is not you

            When our kids were little, sometimes I would sit in the back with them (I'm 6' tall) when it was my wife's turn to drive on trips.

            Also, we hold onto our cars for a long time - one car is 17 years old, another is 11 years old. We bought cars with enough rear legroom that we didn't have to replace them as our kids grew up.

            1. Lallabalalla

              Re: Graham 24 Built to appeal to its market, which is not you

              So this car isn't for you. Get over it and buy a Zafira. Or an XC90...

          2. JeffTravis

            Re: Graham 24 Built to appeal to its market, which is not you

            It's not just babies, as they get older, before they can sit with their feet on the floor then because of the shortness of their legs the legs stick out at an angle more or less perpendicular to the seat base. You certainly notice a lack of rear leg room then, you want as much space as possible between your seat back and the back seat in those circumstances.

            Arguably it's only when they are adult size, when they can plant both feet on the floor while sat in the seat so that the feet go underneath the front seat that leg room becomes less of an issue.

          3. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Graham 24 Built to appeal to its market, which is not you

            If wife is sitting in the back then the front passenger seat can be slid forward for more legroom on that side.

    2. yoganmahew

      Re: Built to appeal to its market, which is not you

      Except that there is a safety issue to an underpowered car, particularly a high-sided one. Having been terrorised by driving a 1.6 Verso up a hill trying and failing to overtake a truck on a motorway on a windy day, I can attest to the need for at least some torque, even if it is turbo-lagged. Pootling around is fine if that is all you are ever going to do, but joining fast-moving traffic (as another example) from a short slip road is no picnic.

      1. HarryBl

        Re: Built to appeal to its market, which is not you

        If you knew you were driving a torqueless car why did you try to overtake a truck going uphill on a motorway on a windy day? Was it the car's fault or yours?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Built to appeal to its market, which is not you

          > If you knew you were driving a torqueless car why did you try to overtake

          Can't speak for the other chap, but I'd hazard a guess that it was at precisely that point that he became acutely and painfully aware of the aforesaid lack of torque.

          I drove a 205 once, and you'd measure its 0-60¹ with a calendar.

          ¹ And that's km, not miles.

        2. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Built to appeal to its market, which is not you

          @HarryB Damn it, you got there before me.

          Anyone who isn't already going a noticeable amount faster than the vehicle ahead shouldn't be in the lane to the right failing to pass it.

          I spend a good part of my life on the stretch of the M1 between junctions 2 and 6. Most of it behind cars poodling along in the middle lane when the lane to the left is either empty, or with a car ahead actually going faster than they are.

          I hate overtaking on the left. I actually put some effort into not doing it.

          But when I'm approaching my exit point in an empty left lane and some d***head is going down the middle lane at a leisurely 60...

          1. Stacy

            Re: Built to appeal to its market, which is not you

            Or.. A Maxi Cosi Pebble baby seat on a family fix base. Takes about as much legroom at the rear as a 6+ foot passenger in the back. And any Iso fix seat is very similar.

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Built to appeal to its market, which is not you

            "I hate overtaking on the left. I actually put some effort into not doing it."

            Middle/right lane twats continually tempt me to fit a ships foghorn behind the grille. The fact that the compressor to drive it would be larger than the engine goes some way to dissuading me.

        3. NumptyScrub

          Re: Built to appeal to its market, which is not you

          If you knew you were driving a torqueless car why did you try to overtake a truck going uphill on a motorway on a windy day? Was it the car's fault or yours?

          How many drivers that this vehicle is aimed at (the ones who view it as purely a transport tool) would actually ask themselves that question prior to attempting an overtake manoeuvre? In my experience it's approximately none; I have been witness to more failed overtakes than I care to remember. So this is acting completely in character for the target market, and thus could be argued to be good journalism for a review.

          The fact that the act itself should never have been attempted simply points at our somewhat poor standard of driver training. All drivers should be carefully appraising all those facts (available space, vehicle performance, visibility and other road conditions) prior to any manoeuvre. The fact that many don't is mainly a slur on their own skills :(

          1. yoganmahew

            Re: Up a hill? In a Verso? Full of Wind? Of course I was very, very drunk...

            As one AC says, it was then I became aware of the shortcomings of my wife's car. My own rather clapped out Focus diesel turbo would have neither problem with wind nor hills, but then even as a short-arse, I'd get a crick in my neck with the low roof...

            The point is, if reviews don't give you a clue about performance, you don't realise how much trouble you are in until you are neck deep in a Lola...

      2. Lallabalalla

        Re: Built to appeal to its market, which is not you

        Pootling around is exactly all you are going to do in this: it's a school run car, with trips to the hairdresser and Tesco and dogwalking thrown in.

        Any serious travelling is done in Dad's vehicle - you know, the powerful one with the twin turbos.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Built to appeal to its market, which is not you

          "Pootling around is exactly all you are going to do in this: it's a school run car, with trips to the hairdresser and Tesco and dogwalking thrown in."

          At which point that magical 70+mpg figure will never be achieved and the DPF will clog regularly.

          We are well past the point where cars for those purposes can be EVs (I was pleasantly surprised by a Leaf test drive) or PHEVs

  4. Teiwaz Silver badge

    'drive like a christian'???

    I used to know a 'born again' who drove like a lunatic and professed to not adhering to any law but gods law...

    He was scary to be in the car with (if he was drivng) and just annoying otherwise - throwing tapes of Jeff Waynes War of the Worlds out the window 'cause they were anti-christian...probably causing people to take the lords name in vain as bits of plastic hit their windshield at speed.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: 'drive like a christian'???

      That's the people who have a "JESUS SAVES" sticker on the bumper. Seen those.

      But even in the world of Higher Sanity (tm), go to Portugal, drive like a mofo playing chicken with trucks, but at least the rosary hanging off the rear-view mirror gives you assurance.

      Apart from that, what was so bad about the PS/1 except its eye-popping price (which was expected since you bought the IBM sticker actually, not the machine underneath). Ok, nobody would have wanted an 80286 if he had known what that was...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 'drive like a christian'???

        Obviously Jesus didn't save these people's driving skills. When I see a bumper sticker that says: "God is my co-pilot", I generally suggest to the driver that they allow Jesus to drive.

      2. Richard Taylor 2 Silver badge

        Re: 'drive like a christian'???

        Jesus saves, but Bobby was a better captain.

    2. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: 'drive like a christian'???

      @Teiwaz

      He threw tapes of the War of the Worlds out the window??? I'd have struck the little bugger with lightning for that

    3. MJI Silver badge

      Re: 'drive like a christian'???

      A term mentioned by James May, basically very polite driving.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 'drive like a christian'???

      I knew two born agains who drove on the basis that God was looking after them. The day they hired a minibus to take the choir to some event, she was asleep on the job and they wrapped it round a street lamp on a corner, fortunately before the kiddies were on board.

      So yes, they decided God was still on their side because nobody got hurt.

      1. Glenturret Single Malt

        Re: 'drive like a christian'???

        As my son informs me, Thai drivers have as the basis of their driving technique the motto "Buddha will provide".

  5. Richard Jones 1
    Meh

    Looks Good For Dogs

    The low opening at the rear looks ideal for dogs, perhaps I will not need that for too much longer for my arthritic elderly Lab, but still good for my daughter's two hounds. As a town run about dog and granddaughter transporter the only things that puts me off are the maker, their reliability record and its a diesel. Still my Jazz is getting a bit long in the tooth and mileage is now building so I need something to think about as a replacement.

    1. Dapprman

      Re: Looks Good For Dogs

      It is.

      My next door neighbour, who works for Nissan/Renault UK, got one partly due to their large dog. It is also cheaper to run/maintain than the Nissan Quashqai and Nissan Juke, all three of which have the same chassis. Oh and she felt the Juke was less practical on the inside.

      I'm still contemplating the fact I can get the Friends and Family discount on a Nissan GTR ....

      1. James Hughes 1

        Re: Looks Good For Dogs

        I'd keep the Jazz. I've been impressed with my 02 plate Civic 1.6s petrol, 220k miles, still going strong. Do all my own servicing, and have done for last 5 years. Probably needs new clutch (still original) and cam belt (on second), but TBH, I'll just run it until is dies a death. No point in trading in.

      2. Chz

        Re: Looks Good For Dogs

        I'm not sure about the practicality of its twin brother, the Juke, but the Nissan certainly feels less cheapo inside. Does Renault offer the fun little turbo petrol engine (190ps) that the Juke has?

      3. Otto is a bear.

        Re: Looks Good For Dogs

        Actually, the Captur is a Nissan or Alliance B platform, shared with the Juke, Note, Micra, Clio and Dacia Duster, the Quasqai is a CMF, which shares with the X-Trail.

        The Juke has a 4x4 option, so i'd guess Renault might do one in the end.

    2. Dr_N Silver badge

      Re: Looks Good For Dogs

      If you are looking for a hound carrier check out Fiat's 500L

  6. Ian Emery Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    An ideal car for the French market

    How so???

    I once asked a group of French ski instructors why they all used "Atomic" skis, when the brand had a piss-poor reputation of snapping in half after a weeks gentle use.

    They looked at each other and came up with the reply....

    ""Because they are made in France"

    Paris - just because.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: An ideal car for the French market

      "Because they are made in France"

      The Captur is made in Spain...

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: An ideal car for the French market

        There are things still made in France?

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
          Holmes

          Things still made in France?

          A nice Claret from Bordeaux perhaps?

          Some Tomme de Savoir? (esp from the mountains)

        2. James O'Shea Silver badge

          Re: An ideal car for the French market

          "There are things still made in France?"

          Frenchmen. Alas.

          1. Khaptain Silver badge

            Re: An ideal car for the French market

            Strange, I thought Atomic were an Austrian company.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: An ideal car for the French market

          "There are things still made in France?"

          A few. But Renault can move the production to cheaper places and now make unreliable crap at lower cost. I speak as an unhappy Nissan/Renault owner who has enjoyed the flimsy products that this alliance has gifted to Nissan (who were once reliable, but never had a name for durability in the first place).

      2. GitMeMyShootinIrons

        Re: An ideal car for the French market

        "The Captur is made in Spain..."

        Many folk don't let the facts get in the way of a good bit of nationalism and the French are more nationalistic than most (even Alex Salmond would tell them to calm down). After all, its a Renault, therefore it is French!

        I had similar discussing a (then) recently acquired German car with an elderly gentleman who hadn't cottoned on that the war ended a little while before. I pointed out that my 'German' car was built in Portugal - at which point his rant changed to fits of laughter and derogatory descriptions of Hispanic working practices. Some people are just that way inclined....

    2. regadpellagru

      Re: An ideal car for the French market

      "I once asked a group of French ski instructors why they all used "Atomic" skis, when the brand had a piss-poor reputation of snapping in half after a weeks gentle use."

      Hmm,

      I agree the french market is chock-full of people that "buy french", and therefore, we indeed build crap to maximize income. Note it is now changing, as Peugeot learnt their lesson, after shafting their customer base for one decade, basically building cars with all parts to be replaced within 30 000 km, at insane costs.

      However, Atomic is actually a good ski brand. I have a handfull of Atomic skis and they are great and don't snap, at least if you're under 150 kg :-)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: An ideal car for the French market

      > I once asked a group of French ski instructors why they all used "Atomic" skis,

      Atomic are from Salzburg, Austria¹, and their skis are (mostly) made in-situ.

      I have no comment on their quality.

      ¹ But Finnish-owned.

      1. cambsukguy

        Re: An ideal car for the French market

        Part of the same group that Suunto and Salomon belong to. Good stuff IMO.

      2. Ian Emery Silver badge

        Re: An ideal car for the French market

        Perhaps I misunderstood them; they explained the skis were made just down in the valley, so I assumed they meant on the French side of the border; however we were very close.

        Atomic make good "top end" skis for the pro market (or so I have been told); but as of 2004 - when I was looking for my son - there were HUNDREDS of posts on ski forums complaining about low - mid range Atomic skis breaking.

        I agree about Renaults being a dog to work on, I made the mistake of buying an old one once; but unless they have completely changed - that is not the only problem. Certainly into the 90's they were still making them differently in each factory, so for example - on my late 80's model, there were seven different exhaust layouts and 140(ish) different carb/fuel injection systems being used; more than once I was told a part didnt exist - even while I was stood there with the oily old part on the counter in front of them!!!

        They also had a nasty habit of raiding the old parts bin if they ran out of the correct component; no one could identify the starter motor on mine when it died, until one of the older mechanics recognised it as coming from the Renault 4!!!!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: An ideal car for the French market @ Ian Emery

          "I agree about Renaults being a dog to work on, I made the mistake of buying an old one once; but unless they have completely changed ....."

          Nope. Still full of stupid, stupid, stupid Gallic ideas like headlamp bulbs that can only be changed by entirely removing the front bumper, or on different models require removal of the front wheel and lining of the wheel arch. Not to mention dodgy electrics that cost more to fix than the car is worth after a few years.

          1. Jagged

            Re: An ideal car for the French market @ Ian Emery

            "Still full of stupid, stupid, stupid Gallic ideas like headlamp bulbs that can only be changed by entirely removing the front bumper"

            Sadly my VW is now the same. First time I went to replace a bulb I lifted the bonnet to see an embossed sign saying something along the lines of "Go to a garage to change the bulbs". Couldn't believe it, don't the Germans have a law saying you have to carry replacement bulbs?

            1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

              Re: An ideal car for the French market @ Ian Emery

              We should petition the AA / RAC to hassle NCAP into downgrading the safety rating of any car where the light bulbs can't be changed at the side of the road using tools supplied with the car. Preferably without tools at all.

    4. Tik

      Re: An ideal car for the French market

      Atomic is, I believe, an Austrian brand sold to a Finnish corporation and now built in Bulgaria? I'm not defending Renault, it's only Clio and Megane that make some sense for me, but even in that class I'm more for a Peugeot or Citroen.

    5. DaveDaveDave

      Re: An ideal car for the French market

      "I once asked a group of French ski instructors why they all used "Atomic" skis, when the brand had a piss-poor reputation of snapping in half after a weeks gentle use."

      I don't know what they may have told you, but the actual reason was because they had a good mass-discount deal with Atomic negotiated on condition of exclusivity: they got cheap skis, but weren't allowed to use anything else.

  7. jason 7

    You get the cars the conditions demand.

    Is driving all that exciting/fun anymore?

    Petrol costs (excluding OPEC's current strangle hold on the US oil), speed bumps, restricted limits, speed vans, mums in 4x4's blocking the roads at school time, lorries everywhere, morons driving and texting etc. etc.

    Most just want something that looks nice, will get from A to B, is comfy, hassle free servicing/warranty and has a few gadgets.

  8. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Meh

    It is a French car.

    I came to the conclusion many years ago that the French simply hate driving. For them, it seems, the priority is "looking good" over actually enjoying the driving experience. I have always maintained that was a crucial difference between the French and British car markets and explained why boring diesels had captured the French market years before they did in Britain.

    And before anyone mentions old fun French cars like the Peugeot 205GTi please go and check and you will often find all the fun bits were added to boring base cars by British development teams to suit the British market.

    1. photobod

      Re: It is a French car.

      I suppose that depends on what you mean by 'enjoying the driving'. I've had a series of big Citroens, and the single abiding feature was the ability to drive in comfort all day long and arrive without fatigue after any journey, however long. This was possible because the emphasis was on making the car quick for that type of driving, pretty much effortless in every conceivable way and also insanely comfortable. They didn't jar the spine when driving over anything thicker than a gnat and the noise was non-existent. That won't suit everyone, of course. Some people seem to be motoring masochists.

      1. Steven Raith

        Re: It is a French car.

        Horses for courses indeed. I'm currently ratting around in a Puma, which is hilarious on the backroads and capable on DC/motorway stuff, if a bit noisy.

        Now that I'm doing near 1000 miles a month, those £1000-2000 Citroen C5s are starting to look mighty tempting....

        Clearly the correct answer is to move somewhere that is a backroad thrash away from work, rather than 40 miles of A road away ;-)

        Steven R

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: It is a French car.

      "why boring diesels had captured the French market"

      Diesel is subsidised (here in France). I don't know the difference between how far a litre of 95/98 unleaded gets you vs how far a litre of diesel gets you; but I do know that diesel is generally €0,30ish per litre less expensive and back in the days when "Some nut blew up a pipe? That's €0,20 a litre extra, thank you!", unleaded was very sensitive to price rises(*) while diesel seemed to lag a bit.

      * - not quite so quick at coming down, I note.

      1. Nifty

        Re: It is a French car.

        Are you sure is actually subsidised for private drivers, as in: Subsidy is money contributed by a government to make an item or commodity cheaper than it's cost? I thought France still levied a tax on diesel, albeit not as large as UK tax.

        1. Hans 1 Silver badge

          Re: It is a French car.

          @ Nifty

          > Subsidy is money contributed by a government to make an item or commodity cheaper than it's cost? I thought France still levied a tax on diesel, albeit not as large as UK tax.

          Yes, well, in France, the taxes on diesel are lower (%-wise) than those on unleaded petrol - mainly because some lobbyists told the French government that Diesel was cleaner (more environmentally friendly) with, of course, absolutely no reliable data to back that claim up. Not sure how they convinced the gov ... especially if you consider Greenpeace, grey beards, hippies, and the French Green party kept saying it was utter bollocks. Who knows what happened ...

          I know what happened, but the moderator will veto my comment if I tell you.

          Now, almost 20 years later, 70 to 80% of private cars use diesel and health problems have proven what the consequences of the decision are. Then again, who listens to those idiots ...

          For those who live in France, there is a pretty reliable study made by a pediatrician (air sensors in prams), using an army of mother's to record air quality in a city in France. http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrice_Halimi

    3. EndianX

      Re: It is a French car.

      I had a 306 GTi-6 a few years back. Great fun.

      You could very clearly tell it was french though as there wasn't, strictly speaking, enough room for both the engine and the 6 speed 'box.

      The solution was to encroach on the right hand side wheel arch.

      Apparently this was not an issue in France. However, in the UK it made going around smallish roundabouts quite an adventure.

    4. NumptyScrub

      Re: It is a French car.

      And before anyone mentions old fun French cars like the Peugeot 205GTi please go and check and you will often find all the fun bits were added to boring base cars by British development teams to suit the British market.

      Renault have a history of making bonkers cars; the Renault 17 Gordini, Renault 5 Turbo, the Espace F1 (who in their right mind puts an F1 engine into an Espace?), the Clio Sport V6 et al, and the Renault Sport division is based in France. We don't have a monopoly on mental petrol-heads in the UK, there's a lot of them elsewhere as well :)

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: NumptyScrub Re: It is a French car.

        "....Gordini....." A tuning company set up by an Italian that was absorbed by Renault Sport (along with Alpine) and turned into a fashion brand with zero actual racing since. The so-called Gordini's since the Renault Sport take-over have been lukewarm hatches at best, as shown by the fact that Renault had to go to Bertone for the mid-engined Renault 5 Turbo. Even the mid-engined Clio V6 was squarely aimed at the UK market and built by Tom Walkinshaw Racing, the second version actually being designed by Porsche.

        Having driven throughout France over many years I can tell you the number of souped-up boy racer cars is far lower than the UK, Germany or Italy. You also see far less sports cars such as the Mazda Miata or BMW Z3 or Z4. Indeed, if you do see a sports car on French roads it is far more likely to have a GB plate than a French one. You do see an almost continual chain of smokey, slow diesels.

        1. NumptyScrub

          Re: NumptyScrub It is a French car.

          Having driven throughout France over many years I can tell you the number of souped-up boy racer cars is far lower than the UK, Germany or Italy. You also see far less sports cars such as the Mazda Miata or BMW Z3 or Z4. Indeed, if you do see a sports car on French roads it is far more likely to have a GB plate than a French one. You do see an almost continual chain of smokey, slow diesels.

          And yet I see vast swathes of people at Les Vingt-quatre Heures du Mans every year, and a hell of a lot of them seem to be French; I always end up talking to people on nearby plots, and the natives:furriners ratio is pretty good, usually 50% of the closest 10 plots are French. Maybe it's confirmation bias, and French petrol heads all live with a few hundred km of Le Mans? Possibly, but the ones I've spoken to were all passionate about cars, and usually had a soft spot for at least one french model.

          To be absolutely fair though, generally their favourite cars were other nationalities e.g. Jaguar, Lancia, BMW, Chevrolet, Nissan etc. ^^;

      2. MJI Silver badge

        Re: It is a French car.

        The Clio V6 was an interesting car, caught out Audi as well!

    5. Uffish

      Re: French diesels.

      Long time ago French diesel was noticeably cheaper than French petrol so lots of people bought diesels. The situation is slowly changing to equal tax/duty so the preference for diesels is diminishing.

      P.S. Of course the French hate driving - they are surrounded by French drivers.

  9. Naughtyhorse

    There's a fiat 500 4wd????

    Why?

    In case you want to park it with 2 wheels on the grass?

    Fix

    It

    Again

    Tony

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There's a fiat 500 4wd????

      There was also a Panda 4x4 back in the 80s. It was horrendously underpowered as all Pandas were (especially the 750 CC one I had) but the Panda wasn't built for the UK market. It was built for Italian hilltop towns, where only a Panda or 500 is narrow enough to get up some of the streets and only a 4x4 can deal with the lethal cobblestones during one of Italy's frequent thunderstorms.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: There's a fiat 500 4wd????

        You can still get Panda 4x4s. They're very popular in snowy alpine regions, cheap, light, and they'll go anwhere.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: There's a fiat 500 4wd????

          The Panda 4x4 was, and probably still is, excellent for getting around rural Somerset. If all you are transporting is a few ledgers and a laptop, most 4x4s are complete overkill. My wife had one for years and it went up and down hills, over roads covered in mud, snow and slurry, through farmyards and the occasional flood, encouraging the occasional cow and sheep out of the way with total reliability. The power to weight ratio is about the same as a Series III Land Rover, 60BHP/tonne, and the running cost less than half. It once went to the station with a full load on an iced road, when we were the only vehicle moving for miles, and in FWD it was perfectly controllable.

          Just because it isn't your use case doesn't mean it is not someone else's use case.

    2. That Awful Puppy

      Re: There's a fiat 500 4wd????

      4x4 Pandas are the go-to car for doctors, farmers and anyone else who needs a cheap car to get to a godforsaken place in the mountains during winter around here. Gets you on top of every hill in snow and ice, cheap to run, small, and relatively easy to fix.

    3. lampbus

      Re: There's a fiat 500 4wd????

      I saw a Fiat Panda 4x4 - the original boxy one - just last week parked next to the Oetztal station in Austria.

      Always fancied one myself...maybe time to make an electric one with a few batteries and a motor from somewhere.

  10. Robert E A Harvey

    Tried one

    I was presented with one by a hire company for my trip to Cheshire and back.

    Awful.

    Underpowered, creaky, and with headlights so bad that driving in the dark in the rain was terrifying. I followed lorries all the way back on the A50 because I could not see to pass them. I also doubt that it would have passed them.

    Not really much space for luggage either: my tools fit in the boot of an Insignia, but took up the whole car behind the front seats. That isn't safe if you brake hard. I doubt that it would have braked that hard thiough.

    Dreadful. And dangerous.

  11. Swiss Anton

    Someday soon all cars will be like this (or worse).

    Given the EU's stance on things that consume energy I suspect that in the not too distant future the EU will prohibit the sale of new cars with engines producing more than 90bhp.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Someday soon all cars will be like this (or worse).

      Well, you sure WILL need a special license for it and cops can show up announced to check your garage for "non-licensed items". Also, sin taxes on any unconventional improvements.

      After this festive season, a little bit of Sci-Fi reading, 1979 style: Lipidleggin'

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Someday soon all cars will be like this (or worse).

      > I suspect that in the not too distant future the EU will prohibit the sale of new cars with engines producing more than 90bhp.

      May I remind you that Germany is not only part of, but also the biggest country in the EU? You know, the country with the unlimited (and toll-free) roads? And the manufacturers of obscenely overpowered cars?

      It's all good over in Germany if you want to vote green, and perhaps shut down all those nuclear power plants and get into the recycling bandwagon and stuff. But nobody is going to query whether you *really* need a car engine with more power than that on a 52-seat passenger bus.

      And no, you don't really *need* that engine, but fuck it, it's fun to have it. :o)

      1. Stacy

        Re: Someday soon all cars will be like this (or worse).

        Cars may get more efficient, bit actually they are getting more powerful. My 2.0t produces 240 bhp and 320nm and yet has better fuel efficiency than bigger engined (but lower powered) cars from the 90s when I passed my test.

        Hopefully my next car will have even more power, with even less fuel usage than this one! I want power - it doesn't need to be a petrol guzzler to do so.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Someday soon all cars will be like this (or worse).

          "Cars may get more efficient, bit actually they are getting more powerful."

          The reality is that "efficiency" is a nebulous thing anyway - an internal combustion engine is at maximum efficiency at full load and under normal day-to-day conditions it's more like 2% than the 35% theoretical maximum for an otto engine.

          There's still a LOT of room for improvement and this is why a well-balanced sports hybrid can blow the doors off a "muscle car" whilst still returning economy figures in the mid 30s.

          The problem at the moment is that the hybrid package still costs too much up front to be usable down in the economy-car segment, which is where it's needed most.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wouldn't recommend a diesel-engined car to anyone with small children just on health grounds; in terms of value they're beginning to look like a risky purchase for anyone.

  13. Peter Prof Fox

    Roads are not theme parks

    Dear dear. Some Clarksole can't get an orgasm from a family car. I've no idea what this is doing in the Reg.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Roads are not theme parks

      I've no idea what this is doing in the Reg.

      Not producing orgasm, evidently.

      El Reg: A staid webzine for the discerning public.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Roads are not theme parks

        The point is that there are cars in this class which can do what this car is intended to do (be a people carrier) but can do it better. It is entirely possible to buy a car which is both practical and enjoyable. There are always compromises to make: a Ferrari is only a great car if you don't need to carry more than one passenger and can afford to buy and maintain one. Likewise if you want to carry things around a van isn't always the best choice.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Roads are not theme parks

          "a Ferrari is only a great car if you don't need it as a daily driver and can afford to buy and maintain one"

          There, FTFY. They do tend to spend more hours being fixed than rolling down the road.

  14. 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.

  15. 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. :-)

  16. 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?

    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?

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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).

  21. 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.

  22. 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)

  23. 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.

  24. 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!

  25. Yugguy

    Leave the letters on

    What next?

    The Cli? The Lagun?

  26. Hans 1 Silver badge

    French Saying

    Qui part en Renaud rentre a velo.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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!

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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?

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

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