Renault Captur E-TECH hybrid review

Despite a lack of rivals, Renault thinks there’s a market for a small plug-in hybrid SUV; the Captur E-TECH promises a 30-mile electric range

Renault Captur E-TECH Plug-in Hybrid
£30,495 - £30,995
Plug-in hybrid

Pros

  • Low emissions
  • High-tech cabin
  • Smooth electric running

Cons

  • Expensive to buy
  • Some cheap materials
  • Hybrid system can feel jerky
Car type Electric range Fuel economy CO2 emissions
Plug-in hybrid 30 miles 188mpg 34g/km

While demand for and availability of pure-electric small cars has rocketed, the idea of fitting a plug-in hybrid powertrain to a supermini or compact SUV has been deemed by some as too expensive to justify.

But Renault – maker of the hugely successful ZOE electric car – has found a way. Along with its new Clio E-TECH hybrid, it has launched this: the Captur E-TECH SUV. Unlike the Clio, the Captur is a full plug-in hybrid that can manage up to 30 miles on electric power, with CO2 emissions of just 33 to 34g/km. It's one of the smaller plug-in hybrid cars on the market and so is particularly efficient, on paper at least.

Renault has revamped its small SUV for this generation and the results are welcome – a high-quality interior with versatile rear seating features, along with much-needed improvement in the infotainment department. The car now boasts one of the best interiors in the class – one that can challenge models in the class above for fit and finish.

Boot space is down considerably on petrol and diesel models due to the car's 9.8kWh battery, but the rear bench slides forwards and back to help maximise the room on offer. And with those seats pushed all the way back, rear-seat occupants get acres of legroom.

On the move, the Captur hybrid is particularly enjoyable in pure-electric mode, offering smooth and quiet progress for up to 30 miles – very useful for shorter journeys and urban crawls. However, in hybrid mode the two power sources can feel a little mismatched: the switch between petrol and electric power is far more noticeable than in the non-plug-in Clio.

There are just two trim levels for now, S Edition and E-TECH Launch Edition, but each is well equipped and both get our preferred, larger 9.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system complete with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and 4G internet connectivity. It's a slick system that really lifts the interior ambiance, as well as offering control over the car's hybrid functions. 

Elsewhere, Renault's reputation for safety is upheld: the Captur plug-in hybrid boasts strong Euro NCAP ratings and comes with a long list of standard safety and driver-assistance features. A five-year/100,000-mile warranty should ensure peace of mind, while a free BP Chargemaster wallbox home charger helps to sweeten the deal.

Overall, the Capture E-TECH is a solid plug-in hybrid SUV that should suit company-car users with smaller families down to the ground – and will also appeal to private buyers who do lots of urban miles but need the flexibility of petrol power.

The list of direct rivals is quite small but filled with talent – the larger Kia Niro and Hyundai Kona hybrids run it closest. We'll have to wait to bring the smaller plug-in hybrid SUVs together to see how they compare directly. 

For a more detailed look at the Renault Captur E-TECH hybrid, read the rest of our in-depth review...