Since it was launched in Ireland in 2013 the Captur has been a very popular car for Renault with petrol and diesel engines. Now Renault joins the growing list of companies offering hybrid versions and last week I got to drive the new Captur E-Tech Plug-in Hybrid.
Based on the latest generation of the Captur, which was launched in Ireland in 2020, the Hybrid offers buyers a pure electric driving range of up to 50km.
That range might suit many people who do a lot of urban commuting and have a home charger. They may never need to resort to the petrol tank, unless going on a long journey.
The original Captur was based on the Clio, but with a wider track. At launch eight years ago Renault described their new car as a blend of MPV, SUV and family hatchback and they suggested that the Captur should appeal to a particularly broad spectrum of customer tastes.
Since then more and more Irish motorists are opting for small SUVs and the Captur has been one of the best selling SUVs in the country.
The Captur is very attractive and you will probably have seen orange-coloured versions on the road. This time my test car came in Celadon Blue with Pearl Black roof and it really looked classy.
Power in my automatic model was provided by a 1.6-litre petrol engine, which combined with two electric motors and a 9.8kWh battery gives you 160 brake horse power.
I love the new Renault cars where you get a fob to open and close the doors. The beauty of the central locking system in the Renault is that you can leave the fob in your pocket, handbag if you are a female, and the car will unlock automatically as you approach it and then the car locks automatically when you walk away. It’s a brilliant service and you never have any worries about where you left your keys.
Every week I get a new car to test the first thing I check is the price because that’s the first question most people I meet always ask. The new Captur starts at €22,595. But be warned, as with most car companies that’s just a starting figure, the more goodies you want in your new car, the more expensive it will get.
Prices for the regular Captur start at €22,595. Government grants for plug-in version have recently been reduced and the price of this E-Tech plug after the grant is applied is €29,695. If you go for all the extra goodies that were available in my test car the price would be €30,261. Road tax is £140.
Externally, the Captur looks like a fun car to drive and it certainly lives up to its looks. Inside the dash is dominated by a display screen that looks like an i-pad.
There is plenty of leg and head room and the seats are really comfortable. You can carry a decent load especially if you leave down the back seats. But no spare wheel, just a repair kit. I liked it and so did any family members I gave a lift to.
The jury is still out on the real benefits of plug-in hybrids. I think in the broader scheme of things plug-ins are simply a clever way of preparing us for the day when every car will be fully electric.
Renault are also introducing hybrid technology to their Clio and Megane range. They have one fully electric car, the Zoe.