The Renault Captur is proving a popular choice amongst those after an alternative to a common-or-garden hatchback.

Based on the same platform as the Clio supermini, it’s a similar length but both wider and taller. Engines mirror the Clio range with 900cc and 1.2 litre turbocharged petrol engines along with a 1.5 litre diesel on offer. It may be competitively priced but is it any good?

First impressions are positive; the exterior is smartly styled with an attractive take on the Renault corporate ‘face’, nicely sculpted sides and pert rear. There’s even the option of a contrasting roof and coloured highlights on the wheels for those that want to stand out. The Captur may ride higher than the Clio it’s based on but don’t think it has any off-road ability. There isn’t even the option of four-wheel drive.

Move inside and everything is laid out pretty sensibly apart from the switch to toggle between the cruise control and speed limiter; this was unhelpfully between the front seats. Still, the heater controls are easy to use and the infotainment isn’t mounted too far down the dashboard like some rivals. It’s not overly exciting but it is attractive enough, especially with the piano black trim and body coloured highlights of higher trim levels.

The Captur is practical too, the boot is a decent size and the seats naturally fold down. Cleverly, they also slide back to give rear passengers more legroom albeit at the expense of carrying capacity. It is however in the cabin where the Captur’s cheap price really shows. Closer inspection reveals acres of hard plastic while the infotainment system looks exceedingly dated compared to rivals. It works well enough though.

On the road, the Captur proves a comfortable companion that only got caught out by particularly rough surfaces. Not only could it deal with bumps well, it resisted wallowing too. You’d never call it engaging though; the steering provided little to no feedback as to what the front wheels were doing and I couldn’t turn off the traction or stability control. Although that may not be of too much concern to many of you, I found the traction control cut in far too quickly leaving you accelerating out of junctions far slower than you’d expected.

While it may sound like there’s too much power for the chassis, that isn’t the case at all. Initially, the 1.5-litre diesel seemed quite punchy around town but this feeling soon disappeared on the open road. Despite a quick and enjoyable gearchange, a 0-62 time of 13.1 seconds means getting up to motorway speeds can be a bit of a chore and a noisy one at that. Economy hovered at just under 50mpg on a mixture of roads. Not bad at all for a real world test if somewhat below the official figure of more than 70mpg.

Still, the Renault does have price on its side. Even before discounts, you can pick one up new for a little over £14,000 which is very competitive indeed. Opt for a decently specced mid-range model and you’ll still be looking at under £18,000 for a vehicle with air-con, sat-nav and cheap running costs. With that in mind, you can forgive a lot of the negative points of the Captur. It’s easy to see why it’s so popular, that’s for sure.

PROS

Inexpensive

High driving position

Looks

CONS

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Slow

Cheap feeling interior

Dated looking infotainment system

The Lowdown

Car – Renault Captur 1.5 dCi Dynamique Nav

Price – £17,695 (£18,964 as tested)

Power – 110hp 0-62mph – 11.0 seconds

Top Speed – 109mph

Co2 – 98g/km