Good: diesel unit much better suited to the Captur than TCe petrol with extra torque better equipped to move the crossover.
Not so good: some of the nicer options will not make it to Ireland. We also have to wait for EDC-equipped diesel models and the R Link system.
Having spent two days driving the new Renault Captur crossover in various guises we can now deliver our definitive verdict on which car to go for: the 90hp 1.5-litre dCi diesel. No big surprise there then; Ireland is a predominantly diesel country with sales wholly determined by tax bands and low fuel economy. It is for neither of these reasons that we recommend the diesel unit however.
While the 120hp TCe petrol and double clutch EDC transmission combination left us feeling cold, the 90hp 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine is much more suited to the compact crossover. Mated to a five-speed manual transmission you can work it much more effectively and utilise the 220Nm of torque on offer, more so than in the TCe model with an automatic transmission.
With only 90hp on offer, the engine is overwhelmed while overtaking, meaning such manoeuvres have to be planned well in advance, but it is unflustered in most normal circumstances.
Refined too, which is not something that would normally be said of Renault's diesel engines. Only deep into the rev range does it make its presence felt and at that point you have ridden the wave of torque and reached for another cog from the gearbox. Other drivers did comment on a problem with the second to third shift but that is not an issue we encountered during our drive along the mountain roads in Biarritz.
The 90hp diesel engine will, in 2014, become available with the EDC transmission. This is the first time Renault has offered this pairing and, while it did not impress us in Biarritz, we suspect that has more to do with the petrol engine it was connected to than anything else. As expected the diesel engine scores well in the efficiency stakes with standard stop-start contributing towards 95g/km for Band A2 road tax and the quoted figure of 3.6 litres/100km was actually seen during our time with the car.
The Captur has been designed with families in mind, offering the practicality of an MPV in a body little bigger than that of the Clio. Innovative solutions such as removable and washable seat covers along with an abundance of storage space means it should appeal to the target market, especially if suggestions of an €18,000 price tag prove true.
Nissan Juke: the originator of the segment, but looks are divisive. Better range of engines but likely to be more expensive than Renault cousin.
Opel Mokka: marginally bigger than the Captur and with the engines to match. Cannot match the Renault's price however with €22,000 required for the model you want.
Peugeot 2008: can the Peugeot take on the Captur and Juke in the groovy stakes? We find out next week.