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The Captur, an exciting-looking B-segment crossover from Renault, was launched this week and I was in Johannesburg to drive it. The Renault Captur is the French brand's compact crossover and on the back of massive sales in Europe, much is expected of this vehicle in South Africa. The Captur is no different and is a serious head turner, especially in its bold Bi-Tone colour scheme.
There are two derivatives to choose from: Dynamique and Expression, but interestingly there's not much to separate them. The other engine is a turbo'd 1.2-litre four-cylinder motor and this is coupled to a six-speed twin-clutch gearbox. The twin-clutch gearbox had me instinctively feeling around the steering wheel for shift paddles, and there were none to be found.
The engine may feel a little underpowered, but this is essentially the only mark against an otherwise good car, and even then it will only be a problem for some customers.
Another Renault party trick is offering an amazing amount of specification fitted as standard.
On the practicality side of things, the Renault Captur is a lot more versatile than the Clio which it is based upon. Aside from a slightly underpowered engine, the Renault Captur is a promising product and takes the fight to the Ford EcoSport and Nissan Juke, both of which have been a success in our market. The first generation Renault Laguna was launched in December 1993 as replacement for the Renault 21, initially coming as a hatchback only. The Laguna's equipment levels were gradually getting more lavish, and soon all models came with power steering, electric front windows, driver's airbag and remote central locking as standard.
At the start of 1998 the Laguna received a moderate facelift, including a restyling of the hatchback of the Sport Tourer version, and a redesigned front. More notably, the engines were updated and, in some markets, equipment levels enhanced again. Renault has previewed the one-tonne ALASKAN bakkie concept which will be officially revealed in 2016. The bakkie market worldwide accounts for more than a third of sales in the light commercial vehicle segment and Renault is set to claim its share of the pie. With a payload of one-tonne, the ALASKAN Concept is designed to cater for both leisure and business purposes. The production version will be similar in spirit to the ALSAKAN Concept and will feature the same dimensions.
This Renault ALASKAN will be joining the Mercedes-Benz bakkie and the two look likely to turn the segment upside down when they launch in 2016.
We will keep you updated as more information becomes available, but for now take a look at this video of the Renault Alaskan Concept. Gero Lilleike is a published writer and photographer with most of his work appearing in the fields of travel and motoring. Six-cylinder fans might be upset that some of the tradition has gone with the latest four-cylinder BMW 328i Sport Line.
BMW swapped to an all-turbo lineup a few years ago to combat fuel consumption and emissions regulations. To start with, the Sport Line no-cost option gives the 328i, as the name suggests, a sporty theme. Stowing cargo is made easy thanks to a wide boot opening and a generous 480-litre capacity. There are some interesting gadgets like live power output gauges, a sophisticated trip computer with detailed economy reports so you can fine tune your hypermiling technique (if that’s your thing), internet connectivity, and selectable driving modes (Eco Pro, Normal, Sport, Sport Plus). If you put it under some very serious pressure on a bumpy back road, as we did, you might find the suspension travel is not quite long enough.
On smoother roads the amount of speed you can carry into and through a corner is mind-blowing.
Tweaking the options and option prices is a smart move by BMW, making it all the more appealing.
While the French car maker Renault can lay some claim to establishing the contemporary large MPV class with its original Espace, it is Ford that has gone on to define it with the Ford Galaxy. The current, third-generation Galaxy has been with us largely unchanged, save for evolving trim and engine options, since 2006. The driving position and cockpit ergonomics are hard to fault, with the driver getting an upright seating position that allows clear all-round visibility.
Of note is the new 1.6-litre Ecoboost, which isn’t short of power or torque with 158bhp and 177lb ft on tap. The flagship 2.2-litre diesel offers good performance, but for most the economy penalty will prove unpopular. The Galaxy’s biggest mainstream rivals are the Volkswagen Sharan and Seat Alhambra, with which the first and second generation Galaxy shared much of its mechanical componentry.
But in terms of driver engagement the Galaxy’s biggest rival is the almost as large, almost as practical and even better to drive S-Max.

The 488's incredible engine and handling and open-top experience make for something very special indeed.
The Isuzu D-Max is starting to show its age; after a drive in the range-topping Blade version, is it still competitive?
It looks good and the country-road ride and compliance is great, there is enough space in the boot and it's fine for a modern family with one or two youngsters. The Captur, like the Renault Clio upon which it is based, was designed by Dutch-born Laurens van den Acker. Sunset Orange is the official launch colour and can be ordered with either a black or white roof. This is a similar unit to the one found in the Renault Clio RenaultSport, but not identical.
There's a slight hesitation upon take off, but once you're moving the engine pulls reasonably well. The Captur offers the drive of a normal hatchback, boasts MPV-like practicality and space, while even throwing in good ground clearance of 170mm like an SUV.
There's a decent amount of legroom for the rear passengers, and the rear bench can slide forwards and backwards. With Renault reporting European sales of around 161 000 units sold in 2014 alone, the Renault Captur should do well here. Most of the range had twin airbags, anti-lock braking system, air-conditioning and CD player as either optional or standard equipment. This included different design of the lights, most noticeable are the circular fog-lights in the front. The Renault Duster Oroch concept shown earlier in the year is intended solely for the South American market while the ALASKAN Concept paves the way towards becoming a global model. Flared wheel arches are home to 21-inch wheels and there's that big Renault logo up front, flanked by C-shaped headlights with full LED lighting signature.
Gero has worked in the motoring space for the last four years and enjoys driving and photographing the latest cars. You needn’t worry though, BMW promises similar thrills as the old inline six with significant economical benefits. They offer adjustable side bolsters, a soft lower cushion suitable for long journeys, and adjustable lumbar support for a healthy posture.
The bench is also very comfortable and somewhat sporty, but it is narrow and the large driveline tunnel does intrude on some space compared with the other German rivals. The volume is the same as what is offered in the A4 and IS, but 15 litres smaller than the C-Class’s boot.
It’s easy to use and unlike many new model cars on the market, you can operate the sat-nav while on the go.
The driving modes change the feel of the electric steering, the suspension, the transmission response and point of gear changes, and the engine response. It’s beautifully engaging, communicating every bump, every shaving of understeer or oversteer as soon as it happens, and all with a reassuringly meaty weight to it. Body roll is almost non-existent and the grip levels are sensational for a rear-wheel drive vehicle. We think this does detract from BMW’s tradition of offering genuine and organic driving machines. It really jumps and keeps building impressive momentum when you plant the throttle, screaming angrily while it’s at it. The handling is a step above the rest and the engagement makes it a true companion on the road. Simply put, if you’re in the market for this type of vehicle you must at least take one for a test drive. He's obsessed with driving, having played with Matchbox cars until he was tall enough to drive a real one. So there’s nothing particularly groundbreaking about this incarnation’s roomy cabin, but with seven seats that slide and fold individually (and without undue effort), the Galaxy’s airy interior is highly flexible. Ford resculpted the centre console during the most recent facelift to incorporate an integrated armrest and even more storage space than most families could find use for. For regular large loads and longer journeys, however, a diesel is a more sensible option, with the 2.0-litre TDCi offering the best compromise of power and economy. Both the Seat and VW offer great refinement and build quality, and much the same as the Galaxy in terms of seating and practicalities, but they lag behind the Ford in terms of dynamic appeal. The re-named Nissan Qashqai is the class favourite, ahead of the Hyundai ix35, but the newcomers are splitting the decisions and it's only a question of time - for me - before the CX-3 takes class leadership.
This man is responsible for the big bold Renault logo on the nose of the car and even from a non-car enthusiast's point of view, these designs are simply breathtaking. I have a particular lust for a Pacific Blue with a Diamond Black roof which looks sensational.
Firstly, there's the familiar 0.9-litre three-cylinder turbo which does duty in the Renault Sandero and Renault Clio.

Our launch route took us from the Cradle of Humankind to Sun City, via Hartebeespoort Dam and it was on these roads that I got to sample the Captur's abilities. Renault was keen to show off its offroad credentials to us and the launch route included numerous dirt roads of varying qualities.
Satellite navigation, Bluetooth, cruise control, USB port, touchscreen infotainment, auto headlights, rain-sensing wipers as well as the usual safety acronyms of ABS, EBD and airbags have been thrown in. When these seats are folded flat and the bottom of the boot has been dropped, you're looking at 1 235 litres of space to play with. A camera is fitted in the side mirror housing which will allow for filming of the passing landscape. The TwinPower branding, which refers to twin-scroll turbocharging technology, can be seen under the bonnet of every model in the showroom. There’s a sweeping dash design which is infused with multiple materials and textures, lots of leather and exposed stitching, and some brushed aluminium for a touch of class.
The company has made some adjustments to the list though and trimmed it down for all models. This could be due to our test vehicle having nearly 10,000km on the clock – probably made up of a lot of hard driving and testing from other journalists. And if you throw some weight around and get on the go-pedal nice and early, you can provoke a hint of opposite-lock fun. After initially working as a mechanic, Brett earned a degree in journalism and entered media as an editorial assistant at Top Gear Australia magazine. Dynamically the Galaxy is terrific, with precise steering and body control that delivers a relatively involving drive that makes you forget you’re piloting a big, flat-sided box. But what about the Captur?It's closely tied to the baby Clio, both mechanically and visually, and it shares lots of parts right down to the well-shaped handles used to close the rear hatch.It's a car I drove and liked - a lot - at a European preview, and I'm still a fan of the shape and the comfort of the seats and the headlamps and the way it drives.
It has 66kW, and based on that spec item alone (I did not drive it), I'd be a little apprehensive of the performance.
Thanks to Renault's great safety and stability features, I felt confident when driving through gravel and sand. On the safety side of things, the Renault Captur scored a five-star rating at the 2013 round of evaluations. The ALASKAN will be powered by a four-cylinder, twin-turbo diesel engine. Renault says the ALASKAN will also come fitted with equipment, connectivity and comfort features which will make it suitable for driving on a daily basis. Specifically, there’s red highlights seen in the interior, gloss black trimmings for the exterior, some 18-inch alloy wheels, adjustable ambient lighting, aluminium sill plates, and a Sport Plus driving mode. In the Sport Line you get some red piping down the main contours of the unique sports seats, with red stitching for the seats, sports steering wheel and door trim inserts. Being fairly high in the model range, you do get plenty for your money in the 328i without ticking any boxes. Whether you’re simply trundling around the city, zipping through the suburbs, or giving it a proper thrashing out on a mountain road, the 328i responds like it is always one step ahead of you. Our driving style was mostly energetic as opposed to aiming for outright efficiency, if that’s any consolation. It's not huge inside, but one of the trendy new double-decker boots with a lift-out false floor means reasonable load space and the back seats are set a little higher than the fronts to improve the view.Equipment is what I expect for the size and price, including that essential rear-view camera, and the infotainment screen is well sized and easy to use. Drive the Captur in a gentle manner and let the gearbox shift on its own accord, and things are adequate.
In this segment, the BMW and the Lexus IS interiors feel the smallest compared with the Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. It’s like a schizophrenic, snapping from smooth and relaxing to angry and rampaging in no time. A space-saver spare would normally earn a cross, but weight and space are a premium in all the small SUVs.The starter motor only has 66 kiloWatts and, even in a car weighing only 1135 kilograms, it's not enoughIf that was the end of the story it could be 'happily ever after', but it's not. The base price for the Captur is $22,990 and that means a wheezy three-cylinder petrol engine and a five-speed manual gearbox. Australia is an automatic landscape, which means you have to pay at least $25,990, although the up-sell brings the benefit of an 88 kW four-cylinder engine.The starter motor only has 66 kiloWatts and, even in a car weighing only 1135 kilograms, it's not enough.
Still, the shift is light and the fuel economy and range is good.It's impossible to write about the Captur without talking about safety, since it would have been only a four-star ANCAP car in 2014 because - like the Clio - there are no rear curtain airbags. Rule changes mean it's a controversial five-star performer in 2015, based on test results and not just a tick for the back bags.I have seen the actual NCAP side-impact crash car in Paris, complete with a baby capsule and booster in the back seat, and I'm convinced the child protection is fine without the airbags thanks to good design and high-strength steel in the body.
And Renault has lots of numbers to show the risk in a side impact for a rear-seated child is tiny. Bottom line?

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28.04.2016 admin

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