Renault have added a plug-in model to their Captur small SUV range & it’s called the E-Tech Plug-In. Like its petrol brethren, the new model sits on the same CMF-B platform as the latest Clio. It’s 110mm longer, 19mm wider & 17mm taller than the original version & is a far more attractive proposition, both inside & out.
The exterior has been completely redesigned & now features front & rear protection skid plates, a wider grille, prominent wheel arch extensions, scalloped sides & a two-tone ‘floating roof’ treatment. LED headlamps are standard across the range & at the rear, there’s a far more aggressive tailgate & light clusters.
The newly introduced E-TECH Plug-in is a six-speed auto which combines a 1.6 litre petrol engine with a 9.8kWh battery, combining 160 hp with 118kWh of electric power. Top speed is 107 mph with 62mph reached in 10.1 seconds.
In line with Renault’s familiar EasyLife trim line-up, standard Captur is available in three guises: Play, Iconic & S Edition. However, the E-Tech is only offered in S Edition trim. This means that as a retail customer, choice is limited, especially when the cheapest petrol Captur, is £9,000 less than the E-Tech version. This then is very much a company car contender, rather than a retail car, coming as it does with just 10% BIK.
Equipment & finish
Step inside & the interior is almost identical to the one you’ll find in the standard Captur. So S Edition gets the 9.3″ portrait touchscreen set-up, a system that’s very good to look at & simple to use.
The physical climate controls are located underneath the touch screen which is a sensible decision. As far as quality goes, the dashboard & door fittings are finished in decent quality, soft-touch grey, black & plastics, with our test car featuring matching orange colour to the car’s exterior Desert Orange.
As well full LED headlamps & tail lights, S Edition also features driver & passenger front, side, head & curtain airbags, 17″ Bahamas diamond cut alloys, extra-tinted rear windows & tailgate glass, C-shaped signature LED daytime running lights, a handsfree keycard with push-button start/stop function, EASY LINK Navigation, FM DAB double turner, sound auditorium, 2x USB’s & Bluetooth with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto. Reassuringly, connecting to AppleCar Play was simple.
The main internal difference between a petrol Captur & the plug-in version, is that the the automatic gear lever features the addition of the regenerative braking B, which is located next to Drive in the gearbox
Other standard E-Tech features include, a 10″ TFT drivers information display, flying console with e-shifter, Type 2 & 3pin charging cables & an EV button to activate ‘PURE’ electric mode.
For storage, there’s an average sized glove box, two largish front door pockets, storage under the adjustable centre armrest, a spot for your key card & a couple of drinks holders. Plus an additional storage space, located under the floating gear lever.
Whilst the petrol Captur offers a very useful 536 litres of boot space, the E-Tech however loses over half of that, so you only get 265 litres, which is less than is offered in most small hatchbacks. Fold down the rear seats & this makes a big difference, with a really useful 1018 litres offered.
Standard safety features across the Captur range include Lane Departure Warning & Lane Keep Assist & Traffic Sign Recognition. Speed Alert is also included, as is cruise control with a speed limiter function. An Active Emergency Braking System is standard which is bolstered by the latest cyclist & pedestrian detection functionality.
All of the things that make the Clio so good to drive, are also present in the Captur, namely excellent handling, precise steering & soft suspension. Only the ride is different & you’ve guessed it, the battery is the culprit again. It adds extra weight & this tends to make the car feel out bumps in the road rather than smooth these out.
The 6-speed auto box is a little jerky from a standing start & the power comes in a steady flow. As with similar plug-ins, its best to let the car choose when’s best to utilise the EV mode. although you can drive in pure EV mode if you want to. Do this & the charge runs down quickly. Let the E-Tech do it’s work & you’ll find it will only choose EV mode at slower speeds, thereby retaining the car’s EV range for much longer.
Utilising the Captur’s Cruise Control, made motorway progress relaxing & enjoyable. At steady motorway speeds you’re using the petrol engine, which is incredibly quiet. We found that 50mpg was infinitely possible at speeds of 70 mph or so.
By driving in ECO mode, which to be fair does dull the fun a little & by utilising the B regenerative braking function, every time you take your foot of the accelerator to slow down, the battery recharges.
In town, or if driving in slower moving traffic, you can can really utilise the regenerative function. In our real world testing, were were getting a pure electric range of 20 miles. Combine this EV range to our 50mpg motorway economy & we were comfortably averaging over 70 MPG on the combined cycle. This information can be accessed from the Car Info on the tablet touchscreen & offers an interesting reveal of how you drive your car.
Are there any negatives ?
Just two. With an asking price of £30,995, we don’t believe that the Captur E-Tech is a sensible retail offering, when an S Edition petrol version costs £22,100. And, thanks to the additional batteries on board, boot space is compromised.
On the flip side, the E Tech’s BIK of just 10%, is a full 21% lower than the standard petrol version. Plus, a realistic combined economy of 70 mpg in the E Tech, sits at least 25mpg higher than what you’d expect to get in the petrol-only version & 15 mpg higher than any diesel version, with the diesel attracting 32% BIK.
The best selling Captur Mk1 was always going to be a hard act to follow, but the Mk2 has improved in every way over the original. It offers improved safety, on-trend connectivity & sharper looks than the original. It also benefits from Renault’s 5-year/100,00 mile warranty.
The launch of the E-Tech plug-in hybrid Captur, also up’s the ante, as it brings with it tempting BIK rates of 10% for company car drivers & fleet managers alike. E-Tech leasing rates will be looked at with interest.
A company car winner 3.75/5