Model: Renault Captur Dynamique TCe 120.
Price as tested: $30,280.
Kilometres this month: 2926km.
Fuel economy this month: 6.5-litres/100km.
The good: Comfortable ride and decent steering and cornering balance, impressive combined fuel economy, decent specification, nice looking thing.
The not so good: Acceleration is tardy, smallish size means two child seats compromise front seat positions, bluetooth is sketchy.
GERMAN cars are reliable, British cars look good but rust away, Italian cars sound brilliant then stop working and French cars, well, they're a bit quirky, aren't they?
Old stereotypes all, but it's funny how many national brands still conform to our traditional beliefs.
One month into our long-term loan of Renault's Captur small SUV and the little Frenchie has managed to charm and frustrate in equal measure.
Firstly it's taken some adjustment having a small SUV as a family car, not least because we've just stepped out of Hyundai's mighty Sonata sedan. The Korean had vast boot and rear passenger space.
Child seats are so damn bulky these days it's little wonder parents covet whopping seven-seat SUVs, meaning our two kiddie chairs are tightly squeezed along the Captur's rear pew. The offspring have plenty of space, but we front passengers need our chairs a bit too far forward to accommodate them comfortably.
Positively, the boot is of good enough size to cram in a pram and child's bike, and as an everyday runaround the Renault's proved comfortable and even a dynamic handling little thing when thrown around, helped by its decent Clio DNA. Average fuel economy at 6.5-litres/100km has also been unexpectedly good (though quoted is 5.4), while I'm still enamoured by the Captur's chic body design.
Not great is the response from the 88kW/190Nm turbo 1.2-litre engine though. Squeeze the throttle and you've time to light a cigarette and brew a coffee (how very French) before much happens.
Spec in our range topping Dynamique is generous: a 7-inch touchscreen, rear view camera and park sensors, hands-free entry, "walk away" door locking and auto headlights and wipers are notable. Arguably to be expected in a $28k car these days however.
I'm not convinced by the fiddly dash top storage box - cavernous though it is - and no centre armrest is an oversight. Meanwhile the cup holders are seemingly good only for titchy espresso coffee cups rather than a good size sports drink bottle. Again, how very French.
While I'm grumbling the bluetooth has proved inconsistent so I've been connecting the phone via USB cable (First World problems, I know), but a boon has been learning the Captur accepts the Unleaded E10 with a promised octane rating of 95 I found at a local United servo.
The Renault demands premium, and this discovery is saving me around 25c a litre over the Shell Unleaded 95 I'd been using previously. It will be interesting to see if the fuel economy suffers as a result though, which I'll report on next month.
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