This past weekend my neighbour threw a party for his daughter’s 18th birthday. She’s off to North-West University next year, so will soon be in need of a set of wheels and for the past few months the father has quietly gone about sourcing a vehicle for her.
Being a practical guy — and working in financial services — he left no stone unturned as he considered factors such as the initial outlay, insurance, styling, comfort, safety, warranty and resale value.
With him being a diehard lover of the Ford brand, I expected to see a Figo or an EcoSport in the driveway, sporting a large ribbon replicating a scene from the reality TV show My Super Sweet 16.
Instead, after much research and numerous test drives, he settled for the Renault Clio. It was, he explained, “the best value”.
I’ve mentioned this scenario to illustrate how far Renault has come these past few years.
The days of uncertainty around the reliability of French cars are disappearing quicker than a croissant at Patisserie de Paris in Blairgowrie in Johannesburg on a Saturday morning.
Another success in the Renault range is the Captur.
Since its launch in May 2015, an impressive 4 700 units have been sold — and it was obvious that it was just a matter of time before the range was expanded.
The vehicle was available only with 1.0 and 1.2-litre turbo petrol engines (66kW and 88kW) until last week. That was when Renault’s proven 1.5 dCi 66kW turbo diesel engine was introduced, along with the Captur Sunset Limited Edition, of which only 100 will be available.
The turbo diesel engine is Renault’s best-selling engine worldwide.
From the Mercedes-Benz A180 to the Nissan Qashqai, from the Renault Scenic and Duster to the Nissan NP200 — plus many vehicles in between — this engine has proved one of the best small diesel powerplants ever produced.
The figures speak for themselves: a maximum output of 66kW and torque of 220Nm help equate to a combined fuel cycle of 3.6l/100km with CO emissions at a negligible 95g/km — meaning carbon tax is avoided.
To put the fuel-cycle figure in perspective, that bastion of frugality, the Toyota Prius — along with all its hybrid technology — returns a claimed figure of 3.7l/100km.
Since its introduction last year, it hasn’t taken the Captur long to cement second place — the Ford EcoSport leads the way — in the hotly contested B segment for small SUVs.
A combination of SUV, multi-purpose vehicle, passenger car and hatch means the Captur has found favour with many motorists. It’s quite a mix, but in the end it strikes a balance between design and practicality.
Taking customisation up a level, the Captur Sunset — powered by the diesel engine — will be recognisable by a striking diamond-black exterior, 17-inch black diamond-cut alloy wheels, and detailing on the roof, front grille, fog-light surrounds and boot lid in sunset orange.
The interior also gets the sunset-orange treatment, with speaker surrounds, steering wheel and centre console glowing brightly. The seats are also of a sunset hue, and have unzippable covers — which are machine washable.
For those who are tech-savvy, updates have been made to the seven-inch touchscreen multimedia tablet. Included now is integrated navigation, radio and telephone with Bluetooth connectivity.
Across the Captur range, safety is a priority, earning the car a five-star Euro NCAP (new car assessment programme) rating.
On the open road the Captur provides a nice ride height and the seating is comfortable. Hooked up to a five-speed manual gearbox, we managed to get pretty close to those claimed fuel consumption figures, which speaks volumes for the F1 technology that has filtered down to these everyday vehicles.
As fuel prices continue to fluctuate, motorists are beginning to see the long-term savings that fuel-efficient engines provide. The addition of this excellent diesel powerplant will see the Captur continue its impressive gain of market share. – Bruce Fraser
Fast Facts: Renault Captur Lineup
1.5 dci 66kW turbo Dynamique (diesel) R289 900
1.5 dci 66kW turbo Dynamique (diesel) Sunset Limited Edition R292 400
1.0 66kW turbo Expression (petrol) R243 900
1.0 66kW turbo Dynamique (petrol) R264 900
1.2 88kW turbo Dynamique EDC (petrol) R304 900
All vehicles come standard with a five-year/150000km mechanical warranty and a three-year/45000km service plan. Services at 15000km/one-year intervals