Renault Captur E-TECH plug-in hybrid performance, top speed & engine

It's a great car to drive in pure-electric mode, but the Captur E-TECH's plug-in hybrid system lacks a bit of polish

Overall rating

3.5 out of 5

Performance, top speed & engine rating

3.5 out of 5

0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
10.1s107mphFront158bhp

Based on the same mechanical platform as the Renault Clio hybrid, the Captur plug-in gets an identical 1.6-litre petrol engine as that car, but it's paired to a much bigger 9.8kWh battery for vastly improved pure-electric range. There are two electric motors – one directly drives the wheels, and another, more compact unit acts a bit like a mild-hybrid system, powering a starter-generator that should, in theory, help the engine kick in quickly when needed.

In reality, however, the electric motor and petrol engine feel constantly in competition with each other, rather than working seamlessly for a smooth, efficient driving experience. The Captur is a quiet and relaxing car to drive when running on electricity, yet when the batteries run dry, the transition to petrol power feels somewhat stunted.

It’s a shame, because the conventional hybrid system in the Clio E-TECH is well integrated – the switch between the electric motor and the petrol engine is smooth; at times, almost imperceptible. The switch is more noticeable in the Captur, despite the bigger battery and second electric motor.

Renault Captur E-TECH plug-in hybrid 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration

Performance is brisk enough: 0-62mph takes 10.1 seconds and top speed is 107mph. There's 205Nm of torque from the electric motor alone, while the petrol engine produces 144Nm. Transfer between the two power sources isn't the smoothest, but there's enough performance for everyday driving.

Handling

The Captur hybrid’s driving experience is as accomplished as its petrol and diesel counterparts', with good body control, accurate steering and a largely comfortable ride. It doesn’t feel quite as fast as you might imagine an SUV with almost 160bhp might, but that’s down to the added weight: the E-TECH plug-in is almost 400kg heavier than the lightest petrol Capturs.

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