Since 2012, Renault has experienced sales increases well above the market average – and to some extent it has the Clio and the Captur to thank for this. Its fun, feisty supermini and its practical, appealing small SUV are two of its most popular cars. The Captur is actually based on the Clio, but provides greater flexibility for young families. So how do the two compare?
Captur: The bestselling Renault in the UK, and one of the bestselling small SUVs in Europe. Just six years old, it’s still in its first generation.
Clio: Europe’s second bestselling car in 2018, and the bestselling French car of all time. Now in its fourth generation, the Clio has been around since 1990, and has been European car of the year twice.
The trendy Clio’s chic style has always been one of its major plus points, but the chunky, Captur, restyled in 2017 to give it a more off-road appearance, looks good too.
Inside, the pair look pretty alike. Both dashboards are cleanly laid out, and the steering wheel, instruments and many of the controls are similar. The Clio’s cabin feels particularly plush and good quality, while the Captur has the benefit of the high SUV driving position, which provides a better view of the road ahead than the Clio. The Captur also has a good number of storage spaces, including a lidded bin on the dashboard, a phone tray in front of the gearstick, cupholders and a small space under the front armrest. An overhead sunglasses holder is a nice touch.
Both are roomy up front, with an adjustable driver’s seat and a steering wheel, so you can find a comfortable driving position. A very handy touch in the back of the Captur are the easily unzippable, machine-washable seat covers – something you’ll almost certainly appreciate if you have kids.
Both get a DAB radio with Bluetooth, USB and aux connectivity as standard, and the Captur’s infotainment system also includes smartphone integration. It also comes with either a leather or synthetic leather steering wheel.
The Clio is spacious for its supermini size: four adults can travel comfortably, and its 300-litre boot is good for its class, increasing to 1,146 litres with the split-folding back seats down. The Captur is larger, however, with a 377-litre boot that can be increased to 455 litres by lowering the boot floor and sliding the back bench seat forward. Fold the seats and it grows to 1,235 litres. Handily, there’s no boot lip, making it easy to load. The Captur can also tow up to 1,200kg.
Overall, the Captur is the better choice if you need extra practicality, but the Clio is roomy enough for urban living and offers all the connectivity you’ll need.
The two cars are again very alike mechanically, with similar suspension systems and brakes, so unsurprisingly they feel similar behind the wheel. And this as a good thing, as both drive sharply, with impressive ride and handling.
The Clio's smaller size gives it the edge, as it's lighter, faster, more agile and, yes, more fun. It's lower too of course, so has less body roll. The easy, refined Captur is not far behind, however, feeling agile, quiet and comfortable, with light steering and good grip.
New Clios are powered by either a 0.9-litre petrol or a 1.5-litre diesel engine, with fuel economy of up to 57.6mpg. Stop-start engine technology comes as standard to increase efficiency.
The Captur has a wider range of engines: a 0.9-litre 89bhp petrol, a 1.3-litre petrol with up to 148bhp, and a 1.5-litre 89bhp diesel. Fuel economy in the diesel reaches 53.3mpg under new WLTP figures; petrol Capturs deliver up to 45mpg.
The Clio is known for being economical to run and maintain, and it should be a bit cheaper than the Captur - the latter’s extra weight makes it less frugal, and insurance on the Clio is likely to be slightly cheaper too, giving it the edge in terms of running costs.
Both cars have a five-star crash test safety rating from Euro NCAP – the Clio has held its since 2005, and includes ABS with Emergency Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Control, Hill Start Assist, tyre pressure monitoring and several airbags are standard. The Captur matches this, and adds an alarm to help prevent theft.
Both the Clio and the Captur are generously equipped, with alloy wheels, air conditioning, front fog lights and electric heated mirrors as standard across the range.
The Clio gets rear fog lights as well, while the Captur also includes electric rear windows, a 12-volt socket and automatic headlights and wipers. Dynamique S trim in the Captur and Iconic trim in the Clio add satellite navigation and rear parking sensors.
Both are compatible across the range with Renault’s R&GO smartphone integration app, allowing you to play music, make hands-free calls, have text messages read to you and use your phone as an internet radio. The app can even check your tyre pressure.
Carwow said of the Captur: “It’s one of the best and most distinctive SUVs for the price – ideal if you want the security of a tall car but without the tricky-to-park size of a bigger SUV.”
The AA commented on the Clio: “Offering above average performance in nearly every area, the Clio is versatile, practical and exciting, and offers one of the best drives in the supermini class.”
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