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Geneva show: Renault to Captur the imagination

Suits you: A plethora of personalisation options will help the funky Renault Captur SUV appeal to style-conscious urbanites.

City-sized Renault Captur SUV has imaginative mix of practicality and customisation

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Renault logo6 Mar 2013

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

REMOVABLE machine-washable seat covers and an 11-litre drawer instead of a conventional glovebox are among the quirky, thoughtful features in the new Renault Captur SUV unveiled at the Geneva motor show overnight.

Set to go on sale in Australia in around 12 months, the compact Captur crossover is likely to become one of Renault’s more popular models Down Under.

Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar told GoAuto it was difficult to make a call on volume predictions for the Captur as it occupies a segment that has not yet found its feet in Australia.

However, that segment will soon receive a glut of fresh metal in the shape of the Ford EcoSport, Holden Trax and Opel Mokka, while Honda recently revealed its Urban SUV concept at Detroit and Volkswagen and Peugeot both used Geneva to unveil their respective Cross Up and 2008.

Then there is the Juke from Renault’s alliance partner Nissan, which will launch in Australia during the third quarter of this year and has been a runaway success in Europe despite its polarising styling.

Despite being strictly front-wheel drive, the Captur’s 200mm of ground clearance puts it up there with the likes of the Subaru XV (220mm).

Ground clearance aside, the Captur is clearly designed to appeal to trend-setting urbanites, having a wide range of interior and exterior customisation options in similar style to the Mini, Fiat 500, Opel Adam and Kia Soul.

External individualisation choices include two-tone paintwork with contrasting roof colours, different designs and colours of alloy wheel (16-inch and 17-inch) and custom graphics applied to the bonnet, roof or tailgate.

Inside, customers can choose to coordinate embellishments on the steering wheel and upholstery to reflect the exterior graphics, while light or dark interior colour schemes can be offset by a choice of six trim colours for the air vents, speakers, centre console and drawer-like Easy Life glove compartment.

The aforementioned Zip Collection removable seat covers are available in eight styles in addition to four non-removable upholstery options.

Renault promises the customisation options will be “attractively priced” and Mr Hocevar said a comprehensive individualisation offering would be possible in Australia, despite the logistical hurdles of this country’s distance from the Spanish factory.

Although it is only around 60mm longer and rides on a wider track and extended wheelbase over the new Clio light car on which it is based, the Captur weighs the same as the outgoing third-generation Clio and promises a spacious interior with plenty of on-board storage.

Due to a sliding rear bench with 160mm of travel, boot capacity ranges from 377 litres to 455 litres and there are two extra storage areas beneath the reversible floor, which is carpeted on one side and rubber on the other for dirty or wet items.

The Easy Life drawer is claimed to be the first of its kind, easily accessible from the driver’s seat and easy to see and reach into.

A removable 1.6-litre bin is located between the front seats, there is a covered storage tray on the dash top and the door bins can hold large 1.5-litre drinks bottles.

Other practical features include an extension of the Clio’s silver and plastic door mouldings that protect against urban scrapes and country scuffs, and the lower doors are sculpted to prevent shoes and trousers from picking up dirt as occupants enter and exit the car.

Renault vice president of corporate design Laurens van den Acker described the Captur as combining advantages from the people-mover, SUV and family hatchback genres.

“Its balanced, fluid lines impart a friendly muscular energy to its bodywork, while its expressive style and everyday practicality provide an open invitation to discover the world – either two-up or with the whole family aboard,” he said.

Features available on the Captur include satellite navigation, Renault’s new R-Link touch-screen infotainment system, Bluetooth audio streaming, USB connectivity, keyless entry and start, cruise control with speed limiter, hill start assist, rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, static cornering lights and interior ambient lighting.

Helping the driver can get comfortable is 70mm of height adjustment for their seat, height and reach adjustment for the multi-function steering wheel and heated electrically adjustable door mirrors.

Although it is too early for Renault Australia to confirm local Captur specifications, two petrol engines and one diesel will be available in other markets including the new 89kW 1.2-litre turbo-petrol TCe 120 with six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission from the Clio GT also revealed at Geneva (see separate story).

Renault claims class-leading efficiency for the Captur, and the 89kW petrol engine consumes a modest 5.4 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres (0.3L/100km more than in the Clio GT), equating to CO2 output of 125 grams per kilometre.

But for ultimate efficiency is the 67kW Energy DCi 90 turbo-diesel that consumes a Toyota Prius-beating 3.7L/100km as a manual or 4.1L/100km when paired with the six-speed dual-clutch auto that will arrive later (CO2 output is respectively rated at 95g/km and 104g/km).

Opening the engine line-up is the manual-only petrol 67kW Energy TCe 90 consuming 4.9L/100km and emitting 113g/km.

Helping achieve the respectable efficiency figures are low rolling resistance tyres, flaps behind the air intakes that automatically close to improve aerodynamics when engine cooling requirements allow and special ducting inside the engine bay to channel the flow of air.

Renault has a strong track record when it comes to safety – the new Clio achieved the highest score in its class under Euro NCAP crash testing last year – and the Captur looks set to continue the trend with a catalogue of safety related electronic aids and engineering solutions to protect pedestrians as well as adult and child occupants.

Alongside the Captur and Clio GT at Geneva are the Scenic XMOD people-mover crossover, facelifted Scenic and Grand Scenic, a facelifted Kangoo ZE electric van and a showcase of R-Link infotainment and Energy engine technology.

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