Renault Captur PHEV review

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Renault is expanding its electrified ‘E-TECH’ range and we’re testing an interesting variation. The plug in hybrid version of Renault’s smallest SUV is many things. The Captur E-TECH is powerful, green and sadly quite expensive. At €35,000+ before the soon to be killed off €5,000 SEAI grant is factored in, is worth the money? You’ll clearly save on fuel costs if you use the PHEV as intended and of course as a result your conscience will rest easier as its emissions will be relatively low at 34g/CO2 per kilometre.

The Renault Captur range starts at just over €23,000 – a competitive price. You can read our review here: http://motorhub.ie/renault-captur-review/ The price walk from a fairly frugal petrol model to an albeit well equipped, petrol plug in hybrid version seems a long stretch. The highly competitive small SUV class is a very price sensitive category of cars. There is no denying the second generation Captur is a very cute, stylish and urban friendly runabout. It’s exterior is full of flare, while its interior makeover is impressive also. The current car has grown – just like the supermini car class it is built on. Every cent that can be shaved off a car’s asking price is critical. With the E-TECH Renault hasn’t just picked its price out of the air for the plug in hybrid powered Captur.

So what do you get for all the added cash? More power for a start. The entry point ‘TCe’ Captur has 100hp/160nm – the 1.6 litre E-Tech develops 160hp/240nm from its engine and two electric motors. With its power sent to the front wheels and delivered smoothly by an automatic gearbox the E-TECH Captur is quite effortless to use. The E-TECH has plenty of power to cruise on the motorway and to overtake safely too. More importantly the PHEV can run in zero emissions electric only mode. The E-TECH has a 9.8kWh rechargeable battery (roughly a quarter the size of an electric car’s battery). The car has a fuel filler cap for petrol and another for a Type 2 electric cable. The Captur E-TECH can be plugged in to a home EV charge point or public charger. You can also plug it in to a domestic three pin socket too with one of its two cables. With a full battery the E-TECH can run in EV mode (100% electric) for up to 50km.

When used as PHEV properly i.e. with a fully charged battery the E-Tech Captur emissions are very low. Emissions and fuel consumption go hand in hand and the Captur E-TECH can average 1.5l/100km – that’s an astonishing 188mpg! Again with all PHEVs this fuel figure is dependent on being frequently charged up. Sadly too often PHEV users neglect to do this and run their plug in mainly on petrol power. This produces a lot more CO2 and has an impact on fuel consumption.

So how can you spot an E-Tech from lessor Capturs? There is E-TECH badges outside and in. As with all PHEVs the E-TECH is automatic with a multi-mode clutch-less gearbox. The e-shifter (that’s the gear lever to you and me) is close to hand on the floating centre console. The auto features a ‘D’ position but another little pull back puts it in ‘B’ mode and this maximises regenerative braking. There is an EV button that allows you activate ‘PURE’ mode (100% electric drive) when there is sufficient charge in the battery. Three driving modes are selectable with Renault’s ‘MULTI-SENSE’.

The E-Tech’s boot’s underfloor segment has space to house the two charging cables. There are lots of safety and convenience features like: Active emergency breaking system (AEBS), Traffic Sign Recognition, cruise control and speed limiter, Hill Start Assist, distance warning alert, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, lane departure warning and lane keep assist. The E-TECH gets nice 17” Nymphea flex alloys, full LED front and rear headlights with integrated daytime running lights, body coloured auto folding door mirrors, tinted rear windows and black gloss side door protection with chrome insert.

The only niggles during our testing were the slightly flimsy gear selector and how it felt, and the lack of a passenger seat height adjuster. You sit tall in the Captur and one banged passenger’s head on entry was experienced (lesson learned) – access is quite conservative. On the road the PHEV is lively and surprisingly nimble. 160hp is a perfect amount of power in the Captur, as you can tackle motorway with the same vigour as you would the urban jungle. The Renault Captur E-TECH is very green and who wouldn’t like being able to run on electricity alone for up to 50km – but the plug in hybrid E-TECH must be used as intended to make the asking price palatable. Oh and act quick to get the SEAI five grand off!

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About Author

Michael Sheridan

Michael is Motorhub's Editor. Well known from TV and radio, Michael has been writing, presenting and judging cars since the mid 90's. He is a renowned Producer/Director and documentary film maker. Dozens of credits include: The Whole Way Round (Gay Byrne), The Shamrock Run (Alan Shortt), The Viking Run (Clodagh McKenna) and The Irish 66ers (David Mitchell) and The Climb for Kids (Colin Farrell). Print credits include: the RTE Guide (motoring editor 1999-2003), many national daily papers and Sundays including The Irish Times (freelance) plus other magazines. National radio credits include multiple at RTE Gerry Ryan show, the Mooney Show, The Dave Fanning Show, Drivetime etc. TV credits as a motoring expert include RTE's flagship current affairs show Primetime and TV3's Ireland AM. Michael also presented RTE's car show Drive! in the late 90s and directed some items in MPH2 on TG4. Michael contributes weekly on motoring issues to The Last Word show with Matt Cooper on Today FM. Michael has represented Ireland's motoring journalists in Motorsport at the International Mazda MX-5 endurance race series in Italy and the Arctic Ice Race. He has been a Car of the Year Judge for 20 years, more recently a judge for Van of the Year. Michael is a former Chairperson of the Association of Professional Motoring Press (APMP).

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