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Geneva show: Renault mini-SUV to Captur sales

French fancy: Renault will offer a range of customisation options for its Clio-based Captur SUV, such as two-tone paint and interior flourishes.

Chance to tap into mini-SUV boom as Renault works toward 2014 Captur launch in Oz


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14 Jan 2013

RENAULT has whipped the covers off its Captur compact SUV well ahead of its official global debut at the Geneva motor show in March.

Renault Australia corporate communications manager Emily Ambrosy told GoAuto the local outfit is excited by the Captur and working toward a 2014 launch.

The French car-maker says the Spanish-built vehicle will combine fashionable crossover styling with people-mover-like interior space plus “the agility and driving enjoyment of a compact saloon car”.

The Clio-based crossover will help Renault to achieve a much-needed sales boost by tapping into the popularity of city-sized SUVs and compete with similar upcoming products such as the Ford EcoSport, Holden Trax and Opel Mokka.

Honda will reveal a baby SUV concept at the Detroit auto show this week and Geneva will also host the debut of Peugeot’s 2008 crossover, while Volkswagen unveiled its Up-based Taigun concept at the Brazilian Sao Paolo show back in October.

Renault sister brand Nissan has enjoyed European sales success with the quirky Juke that is beating a path to Australia for a third-quarter launch and Subaru’s XV has quickly become its second-best-selling model here.

In a departure from the coupe-like concept of the same name unveiled at the 2011 Geneva motor show, the Captur expands on the styling of the new Clio light car that will hit Australian showrooms in August this year.

The new Clio’s bold badge-dominated grille styling, steep windscreen angle, snub rear end and two-tone alloy wheel style are carried over to the Captur, which also features an expansion of the Clio’s black and chrome lower door claddings.

In addition to the door decoration, the Captur follows crossover convention with swathes of black plastic around the lower body and wheelarches, but this is offset by a contrasting colour applied to the A-pillars, roof and exterior mirrors, and plenty of chrome brightwork.

Renault says the two-tone colour scheme and chrome make the Captur easy to customise – suggesting a long options list in the vein of the BMW Mini, Fiat 500 and Opel Adam.

The new Clio will also offer a high level of personalisation, which Ms Ambrosy said Renault expects to offer here, despite Australia’s distance from the European factories meaning customers potentially face a long wait for individualised cars.

Renault says Captur will provide stylish city transport and promises to “take every aspect of everyday motoring in its stride” through its combination of “compact volumes, raised ground clearance, large-diameter wheels and sill guards”.

Captur is about 60mm longer than the Clio at 4120mm, but, as GoAuto reported last October, could offer almost as much interior space as the larger South Korean-sourced Koleos according to Renault insiders.

Renault describes the Captur’s interior – which borrows funky two-tone styling cues and a large R-Link touchscreen infotainment system from the Clio – as colourful, warm and relaxing with “generous” dimensions and a modular layout for versatility.

Features will include keyless entry and start, Bluetooth with audio streaming, rear parking sensors and a six-speaker sound system with digital enhancement by French audio specialist Arkamys, resulting in a specification Renault claims is “worthy of the next segment up”.

A range of three- and four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines shared with the new Clio are expected to lurk under the bonnet, yielding CO2 emissions as low as 96 grams per kilometre (equal to 3.6 litres per 100 kilometres for a diesel).

The Clio is offered with a 68kW/135Nm 0.9-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol, a 90kW/190Nm turbo 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol or a 68kW/220Nm 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel.

No details of an all-wheel-drive version have been released and it has been speculated that Renault will side-step AWD in favour of weight and fuel savings.

Next SUV off the rank for Renault should be a replacement for the Nissan X-Trail-based Koleos, which will share underpinnings with the Pulsar small car that is due for imminent release in Australia and possibly offer a seven-seat option.

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