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A small SUV with a plug-in hybrid powertrain is a rare concept - one Renault is pursuing.
We previously drove the Captur E-Tech in Launch Edition form - now it's the turn of the regular S Edition model.
Standard equipment on S Edition:
Full LED headlights and tail lights, LED DRLs, 17in alloy wheels, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, extra-tinted rear windows and tailgate glass, automatic wipers, hands-free key card, 9.3in touchscreen with satnav, Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity, 10in TFT driver display, climate control, cruise control and speed limiter, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera, autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, traffic sign recognition
Of Renault's trio of new E-Tech hybrid models, the Captur is arguably the most interesting proposition. As a plug-in hybrid B-segment SUV, it very nearly has the market to itself - only the far more powerful and more expensive Jeep Renegade PHEV is an alternative. A conventional hybrid version of the Captur - which is Renault's bestselling nameplate in the UK - is also on the way, but for now the plug-in hybrid is striking out by itself into a relatively unexplored market.
The Captur E-Tech takes the same powertrain as the Megane lower-medium estate - a 1.6-litre petrol engine with a pair of electric motors, with a total output of 160hp and a 9.8kWh battery. On electric power alone, the Captur can cover up to 31 miles on the WLTP cycle.
The Captur E-Tech is a likeable car from behind the wheel. The hybrid powertrain may add weight, but with all the relevant gubbins low down in the car, the centre of gravity is kept low, meaning the handling isn't adversely affected and it changes direction willingly, with steering that is light but accurate. The ride is generally decent - it's not soft and can get a bit jiggly on rough urban roads, but it's nicely damped, and takes ruts and bumps in its stride rather than crashing over them.
The 67hp offered in pure electric mode might not sound like much, but it's actually enough on its own to make the Captur feel rather sprightly for urban work, and adequate enough for A-road speeds. With the engine also engaged acceleration is good, though upshifts from the gearbox can be a bit jerky. It's a better performer than the Megane we drove in February, but that's not surprising given that it has the same power, but weighs more than 100kg less.
The second-generation Captur arrived in 2020 and benefits from impressive tech, such as an improved 9.3in infotainment touchscreen and a 10in driver display - both standard with E-Tech models. The car tested here is in the S Edition equipment grade, below only the Launch Edition in the Captur range. The quality of interior materials is generally good and the floating centre console arrangement is attractive, even if from an aesthetic point of view we found our test car's burnt orange colour scheme a bit questionable. The rear seats offer good headroom and reasonable legroom for the segment. Since the E-Tech retains the regular Captur's sliding rear bench, the latter can be traded for increased boot space, though this does leave a crevasse where the regular boot floor ends. Wherever the seat is positioned, the hybrid battery means boot space is reduced by 157 litres compared with a petrol Captur.
As you'd expect, the official fuel economy and CO2 figures paint a picture of hefty running cost savings, given drivers are able to regularly charge the battery. However, while it's not surprising that the PHEV is substantially more expensive than the rest of the Captur range, it's also worth noting that depreciation is forecast to be relatively high, meaning much of that extra value will be lost over the course of a three-year use cycle.
Renault Captur S Edition E-Tech Plug-in Hybrid
Residual value: 34.8%
Service, maintenance and repair: £1,818
Cost per mile: 40.68p
Fuel consumption: 188.3mpg
CO2 (BIK band): 34g/km (11%)
BIK 20/40% a month: £57/£113
Boot space: 265 litres (379 litres with seat forward)
Engine size/power: 1598cc/92hp plus 67hp electric motor
Usual impressive PHEV tax saving and potential fuel economy