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The Renault Duster was a hunkered down SUV to commute to office and also use for weekend drives to the mountains. Rugged was the word for the Duster, and it was even better with the combo of AWD and diesel motor . With the Duster, Renault could easily poke and bully the Hyundais and Marutis of this segment. And the pricing? Very reasonable.
Which begs the question: What does the Captur do here? Launched almost a year ago, we were told that it is positioned as a more premium offering. They called it “the most stylish SUV in India”. Stylish it was, but underneath all that jazz was a humble Duster with a 1.5-litre, K9K diesel motor that made 240 newtons of torque. Quite a combo it is. But did it really need a petrol motor? I mean it would make sense only because of the fluctuating fuel prices, but otherwise, nope! A naturally aspirated petrol motor in an SUV seemed like a daft idea, unless it made good power right from the bottom of the rev band. Even the boys at work were ranting about the petrol Duster being sluggish.
Good news or not, the Renault Captur also comes with a 1.5-litre, H4K motor, seen on the Duster, under the hood. The 4-cylinder, DOHC motor produces 104bhp at 5,600rpm and 140Nm of torque at 4,000rpm. The styling is the same and so are the interiors. Just the motor then, mated to a 5-speed gearbox, which could have been tweaked better though. The power and torque figures suggest, nay, compel you to go higher up the rev band to get it moving, with overtaking maneuvers requiring frequent downshifts and a very patient mind.
The stylish SUV has a ground clearance of 210mm, a minimum requirement for compact, affordable SUVs these days. While the suspension delivers amazing ride quality, it can also take serious beating. That, coupled with 215-section 17-inch tyres, make potholes and bad roads an easy affair. We drove it around Pune’s crowded city streets and then were off to Lavasa the next morning. The handling is also upto the mark for a compact SUV weighing in close to 1.2 tons. However, though your hands will enjoy the way the hydraulic steering feels in the corners, your right foot may not feel the same about the unresponsive gas pedal.
To the slightly beaten path, shall we? Taking the front-wheel-drive Captur to the bad patches, it instantly showed that its underpinnings were doing a good job. We did, at more occasions than one, look at the climbs and realise the importance of more power and AWD. Realistically speaking, the Captur wasn’t made for this. It was made to be driven on highways and to be taken to places on the weekends. But if those places had bad terrain, it would surely handle that too.
Personally, along with the handling, I liked the interior. Not too much the fit and finish, but definitely the funky layout of things. The cabin lights were in-flight style, the instrument console was damn cool and those comfy seats felt right out of a more expensive SUV. The arm-rest, though, could have been fold-able, because it is a pain to operate the handbrake without constantly hitting it. Also, the buttons on the centre console could have been more evenly spaced, instead of being at random spots on the dash.
During the city drive, the Captur returned a mileage of 10 kmpl, which went down to 9 kmpl on our drive to Lavasa the next morning. I would be more satisfied if it made more power and torque at the bottom half of the rev range and then returned those figures. That, i believe, would have been worth it.
With prices starting at Rs 10 lakh for the base RXE variant, it is still Rs 50,000 dearer when compared to the Hyundai Creta’s 1.6 E petrol variant and also Rs 2 lakh more expensive than its own sibling, the Duster. Overall, the Captur has been styled really well, and has been given essential features. The petrol motor was probably given just as a way to fill the gap in the brochures, but it is, nevertheless, a viable option for those who hate noisy diesels and black smoke.