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Test Drive: Renault Captur 0.9 – TCe 90 – fast review

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Test Drive: Renault Captur 0.9 - TCe 90 – fast review

After we’ve tested almost all Renault Captur models, we decided to check out the 3-cylinder engine – 898 cc 66kw (90 hp) model.

Why we’ve tested all Captur models? This mini-crossover managed to rank third in the European small crossover segment for 2013. It was a clear success for Renault; despite being on sale from April 2013, the French automaker sold 84,000 vehicles – and it was the segment’s best seller in the last quarter of 2013.

Test drive Renault Captur 90 tce

Engine, transmission, fuel consumption
The 898 cc aluminium Energy TCe 90 (codenamed H4Bt 400) is the first three-cylinder turbo petrol engine developed by Renault. It develops 66 kw (90 hp) at 5250 rpm and 135 Nm of torque at 250 rpm. Renault says the Energy TCe 90 benefits from breakthrough technologies and an expertise derived from Formula 1. For example they use some materials with low friction coefficients like the Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) or graphitecoated piston skirts that are used on F1 vehicles.

renault captur 90 tceengine

Out on the road, the engine has a little delay after 70km, but for short-and-sharp city or suburban runs this might be a perfect unit to go for.  It will take about 13 seconds to get you to 100 km/h and it will cut the fun part that you get with the larger 1.2 116 hp engine.

On the highway, at over 110 – 120km/h the engine feels underpowered. To compensate you have to keep it running over 3,000 rpm; but the fuel consumption will rise quickly.
Renault says 90 per cent of torque is available from 1,650rpm – but in reality, in second gear for example the small 0.9 cc unit comes alive from 2700 rpm.

To have some fun, you need to stay somewhere between 3,300 and 4700 rpm – that’s the area where the engine begins to feel quick.

There’s an ECO button somewhere in the cabin – is basically enhance the fuel economy by changing throttle and gearbox behavior and turning the air conditioning into a wimp mode. Renault says in this mode you can save up to 10% more fuel. However, my advice is to not push the button if while embarking on a long, steep ascent.

After more than 1,200 km I can say that this is an efficient vehicle. If you can go gently, with ECO mode On it will do 4 – 5 liters / 100 km. But again, if you’re driving style is a little bit sporty, fuel consumption will go up quickly (over 7 liters / 100km).

The French automaker doesn’t offer any AWD option and there won’t be for the platform this car rides upon hasn’t been designed to take it. Also, you won’t get any systems like the “Grip Control” from Peugeot or Traction+ from Fiat.

Handling, safety
As expected with the extra ride height (there’s a decent 200mm of ground clearance) you get some extra body roll through the bends. However Captur features an ESP with Roll Movement Intervention. The system intervenes in extreme situations, if the body roll angle threatens to become excessive. It makes use of the ESC’s control unit to brake individual wheels.

We tried to simulate a situation when the “Roll Movement Intervention” should intervene and I can tell you that the car feels more stable in corners than a Peugeot 2008.

Regarding the suspension, even if this vehicle was designed for comfort … we found out to be a little bit too stiff.

The electrical steering reacts quickly and is pretty elastic, but feels a little bit too heavy for an urban crossover.

The car brakes pretty well but the pedal has a long travel and you have to get used to it; it basically respond once you’ve pressed it half way. Hill Start Assist comes as standard and prevents the vehicle from rolling back when the driver releases the foot brake by temporarily holding the vehicle stationary.

EuroNcap awarded Captur with 5 “stars” rating in January 2013. With a 80.5% mark of the global result, Renault Captur is the 15th car in the Renault range to be awarded the top score of 5 stars for the Euro NCAP passive security test.

Interior, cargo space and practicality

Despite being just 4.12m long and 1.77m wide, Renault claims the Captur has a degree of MPV practicality. Indeed there’s plenty of headroom and legroom in the front as you’ll find in many C-segment vehicles – despite being technically based on the B-segment. Rear-seat passengers over 1.8 meters will find their knees touching the seat in front if the driver has the same size. But the good news is that the entire rear bench can be moved backwards or forwards by up to 160mm.

Also, boot space is big – overall boot space is 377 liters with the rear seats farthest back. That’s the same you get from a Vw Golf; fold the rear seats and you get 1,235 liters in total.

Plus for: steering wheel, many ways to personalize, removable seat covers, good price

Minus for: If you are a little bit claustrophobic you may not like the interior.  There are plenty hard plastic elements with sharp edges. The engine feels underpowered on faster roads.

Our advice: go for the diesel with EDC.

Competition
Peugeot 2008 (tested here 1.2 VTi / 1.6 e-HDI), Nissan Juke, Mini Countryman, Fiat 500L

Tested vehicle
Renault Captur Tce 90
Engine: 898 cc H4Bt 66kw (90hp) at 5,250 rpm petrol and 135Nm @ 2,500 rpm
Length: 4,122 mm
Width: 1,778 mm
Height: 1,567 mm
Curb weight: 1,101
Transmission: Front – 5 speed manual gearbox
Steering: Electric variable-rate power steering standard
Suspension: Front: Mac-Pherson type with rectangular lower wishbone and anti-roll bar / Rear: Programmed fl exible beam and spiral beam
Fuel Tank: 45 liters
Acceleration 0-100km/h: 12,9 seconds
Top Speed: 171 km/h
Official fuel consumption: Urban: 6,0l / Extra‐urban: 4,3l / Combined: 4,9l/100km
Emissions: 113 CO2 g/km

Rating:

4.2 / 5

March 3th, 2014

inautonews

by Mircea Serafim (my Google+) - Sunday, March 2nd, 2014 - filed under Editors, News, Renault, Sticky news, Test Drive. Image credit: .
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