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Renault Captur ready to roll

By Byron Mathioudakis, 10 Oct 2014 News

Renault Captur ready to roll

French compact SUV will now launch in January

RENAULT has at last overcome the myriad Australian Design Rule-related obstacles that have delayed the local release of the Captur crossover by almost a year.

Now due to touch down in January, local spec versions of the Holden Trax and Nissan Juke rival are finally rolling down Renault’s Spanish production line. It follows confirmation of the Citroen C4 Cactus for Australia. 

According to Renault Australia boss Justin Hocevar, the Clio IV-based Captur will hit the market leaders like the Trax hard with “very competitive” pricing and a generous level of standard specification.

“I think it will be quite a success,” he told Wheels at the Paris motor show. “The Captur will be priced and specced against the segment leader, being the Trax.”

That means the Renault should kick off from less than $24,000 for the entry-level Authentique variant, powered by a variation of the base Clio’s 66kW/135Nm 0.9-litre three-cylinder TCe 90 petrol engine and a five-speed manual gearbox.

More expensive models will gain an 88kW/190Nm 1.2-litre four-cylinder TCe 120 unit mated exclusively with an EDC dual-clutch transmission. All Capturs will be front-wheel drive.

A diesel won’t be offered at launch, though it is understood that Renault is readying a 1.5-litre DCi powerplant should demand dictate it.

One of the Renault’s biggest hurdles for Australia concerned the fitment of rear child-seat restraint points, which – according to Hocevar – took much longer to homologate than usual.

“We were ready to go,” he said. “It was so frustrating … like being on plane waiting on the tarmac to take off while heavy fog clears”.

Additionally, once all the ADR issues had been sorted, Australia’s allocation of vehicles faced further delayed by the unexpectedly high demand for the Captur in Europe and South Korea, where it is sold as the Renault Samsung QM3. Currently it sits in third place on the French sales charts – an unheard of result for a compact SUV.