I got the impression someone in Renault said, “Lads it’s about time we gave the Captur a bit of a facelift”, and then scratched their heads to see what was needed.
After four years or so on the road, it is about time they gave the biggest-selling compact urban crossover a bit of a revision.
At the same time, I suspect they didn’t want to do anything too mad because if it ain’t broken, why try to fix it? And why spend money on what’s not needed?
Yet, the game does move on; new arrivals bring freshness and equipment levels that any four-year-old would struggle to emulate.
It still has to be said, though, that as facelifts go, the Captur’s is, in the overall scheme of things, a relatively minor one.
They’ve spruced it up, adding chrome strips and improving the feel and quality of materials in the cabin.
They’ve also tried to get this Clio-based motor to look more like an SUV – just like they’ve done with the Kadjar and Scenic.
Nothing dramatic: things such as LED headlights and rear tail lights are designed to make it look beefed up a bit.
From a driving point of view, I can’t say I noticed any dramatic difference; this isn’t about a technical overhaul. It remains a smart, likeable and driveable compact Crossover.
There are two engines new to the range – probably the most important part of the exercise in many ways.
There will be a 120bhp version of the 1.2-litre 4cyl turbo petrol. It joins the 3cyl 90bhp. The 1.2-litre didn’t get much of a chance to show its prowess in choking Copenhagen rush-hour traffic. The extra bit of power came in handy a couple of times; the 3cyl is a fine peppy little engine too.
There is also a 110bhp version of the ubiquitous 1.5-litre turbo diesel. It will join the existing 90bhp model.
We didn’t get a real opportunity to exploit the extra 20bhp.
We did give it a decent, if heavily speed-limited, run through green, sun-bathed countryside.
The 90bhp diesel and petrols have 5spd boxes; the more powerful duo have 6spd transmissions.
There are more than 30 combinations of colours for the outside (roof and body mixes) a full-size fixed sunroof, improved seats, a new dash and upgraded connectivity.
But the top-level R-Link system only caters for Android Auto and not CarPlay. Renault says their research shows most people use Android Auto. I wouldn’t be so sure of that in Ireland.
So what took me to Copenhagen to drive a minor facelift? Well the fact that this car accounts for 29pc of compact SUV sales in Ireland is a major justification – it affects a lot of people.
A second reason was to see how it has stepped up a bit in class and design. It is easy for buyers to compare, and if they feel a model is getting a bit dated, they have no problem, correctly, in going elsewhere.
There is demand for more and more spec, so they have added a top-of-the-range Signature S Nav version.
The trim levels now go like this: Expression; Expression + Nav; Dynamique Nav; Signature X Nav; and Signature S Nav.
The bad news is the revised Captur doesn’t get to Ireland until August (dealers take orders from July).
I expect a price rise, but I don’t think it will be that much. It is after all a minor revision.
We’ll see the new larger Koleos SUV before that. I got a chance to get a good look at it here, and it’s a big, strong, spacious Crossover.
However, there are no plans to have a seven-seater; it will be a five-seater only.