How Renault is planning to Captur market again - and hybrid looms
IT is not going to be in Ireland until early 2020, but Renault's new generation Captur could likely further shake up the market in which it is already a leader.
It had one competitor when introduced in 2013 - it now has more than 20.
I got a good look at the new Captur during a recent preview in Paris. I came back impressed.
Like its Clio hatchback half-sibling, the Captur is all new, on a new platform, with new engines which will in time include an interesting plug-in hybrid, the first in the segment.
Also like the new Clio, Renault stuck with the rule that when a style is a winner, don't mess around with it. So while it is longer, wider, taller and with an extended wheelbase, the car is very much the Captur that some 1.2 million customers know and love.
Renault's design buzzword at the moment is 'assertive'. So the revised front end has more detail and more sculpting. Not just for looks, though, some of that improves airflow too, apparently. Bigger wheels and a higher beltline add visual muscle.
Lights, front and rear, are LED as standard, which gave them the opportunity to be stylistically creative there too, all the time reinforcing the brand's current lighting signature.
Enhancing the SUV look, roof rails have been added. As if the customer and salespeople didn't have enough to do with their transaction, there are no fewer than 90 customisation variations. Overkill, anyone? Well, probably not - they're targeting a customising generation.
Couples will be tossing interior choices back and forth as well - there are 18 combinations on offer.
But they won't be arguing about the quality of the inside. This is where Renault is pushing the game at the moment - the customisable main instrument cluster, and the 9.3in central screen to manage all the stuff that has to be electronically managed these days.
Full marks from me, though, for the three big rotary knobs of the climate control.
The connectivity includes navigation in association with Google, which means getting an address into the system is so much easier. Mr or Ms G will also show you where the nearest fuel stations are and what they're charging at the moment.
All the usual safety and driver assist systems are available, including a 'traffic jam companion'.
Powertrains are extensive, with petrol options ranging from 100hp-155hp, one 100hp LPG and three diesels (95hp-115hp).
An addition coming sometime in the first quarter of next year is the e-tech plug-in hybrid version. With an estimated 150hp combined and an electric-only range of 45km, it is an interesting piece of engine technology. More about it when it comes, but in a price-sensitive segment, Renault is suggesting it will be an affordable PHEV.
Already a winner for Renault in several key markets, I'd be putting my money on the new-gen Captur keeping the nameplate's lead position.