Renault’s captur is a success story: more than 1.2 million of the fashionable compact SUV have been sold since 2013. In the course of its life so far, it has already become a sought-after everyday companion thanks to its comfortable interior, skilful design, two-tone paint finish and many customization options. For the second generation, launched on 11. January 2020, the captur has not only been given a facelift by dutch design chief laurens van den acker, but has also been given a technical makeover. This is made possible by the 85 percent new platform on which the renault clio and nissan juke are also based. And an LPG engine is also on board.
LPG? This is not the abbreviation for the agricultural production cooperative that existed in the GDR. The abbreviation LPG stands for "liquified petroleum gas" and indicates that LPG is a liquid gas – a gas mixture of propane and butane that is liquefied under pressure and is a by-product of gasoline production. The gas tank itself is made of 3.5 millimeter thick steel and may only be filled to a maximum of 80 percent for safety reasons; this is ensured by a special differential pressure valve. And the multivalve ensures a controlled release of gas in the event of a breakdown. An LPG car is therefore in no way more dangerous than a petrol car.
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Fuel costs halved
The biggest advantage of LPG over gasoline is the significant cost savings on refueling. For example, fuel costs for the same vehicle can be cut by around half in LPG mode – despite an increase in consumption of around 20 percent in gas mode. Another advantage: liquid gas is more environmentally friendly than gasoline. Carbon dioxide emissions reduced by around 15 percent, nitrogen oxide emissions by as much as 80 percent. In addition, the saarland university of technology and economics has found that the alternative fuel can reduce particulate emissions by up to 99 percent compared with gasoline-powered gasoline engines. And compared to diesel cars, autogas models emit only one fiftieth of the harmful nitrogen oxides.
However, tax incentives for this environmentally friendly fuel will incomprehensibly expire at the end of 2022. Until then, the tax advantage of autogas will be reduced by 20 percent per year. experts estimate that a liter of autogas will then cost 75 to 80 cents instead of the current price of 52 cents. That is still less than half the price of a liter of gasoline. From 2021, drivers will be rubbing their eyes at the gas station: a so-called "CO2 price" – which can also be called a new tax increase – will also make gasoline and diesel more expensive from next year. This is what the federal government decided on 8.October 2020 decided. According to the CAR Institute of the University of Duisburg-Essen, the price of gasoline will increase by seven cents per liter starting in 2021, by 9.7 cents in 2022, by 11.4 cents in 2023, by 14.6 cents in 2024 and by 17.2 cents in 2025. For diesel, this new tax is even higher: from 2021, diesel will be 9.2 cents more expensive, followed by eleven cents in 2022, 12.8 cents in 2023, 16.5 cents in 2024 and 20.2 cents in 2025. The federal government has not yet revealed how the "CO2 price" will continue to rise after that..
That’s where a brand new renault captur with an efficient autogas drive ex works comes in handy. The captur tce 100 LPG experience. It is only available from this second highest equipment level and costs 21 euros with a manual five-speed transmission.152.94 euros. This makes it only 974.69 euros more expensive than the entry-level tce 90 model with the same equipment experience with 90 hp gasoline engine but manual six-speed transmission.
The new captur looks beefier, the car is more modern. The sharp taillights take up the momentum of the eye-catching daytime running lights. The crossover has changed its character – instead of a feminine, gentle shape, it now comes in a masculine, angular form. And 4.23 meters in length is eleven centimeters more than before.
Plenty of space – but a high loading edge
The rear passengers can thus enjoy two centimeters more knee room. However, most of the increase in length has gone into the luggage compartment. The second-generation captur offers the largest trunk in its class – up to 536 liters normally, and up to 1.275 liters with the rear bench seat folded down. A flat surface thanks to the double loading floor. The 16-centimeter sliding rear bench is as practical as in the predecessor. Unfortunately, at 78 centimeters, the loading edge is uncomfortably high.
When you open the door, the new renault captur greets you with a warm signal tone: "hello, welcome to my home!"a funny gag. Just like the perfectly functioning keycard handsfree system for keyless access. The captur opens when approaching, closes when leaving. Automatically, with a light beep and friendly flashing, so that you can be sure that the captur is safe.
Although there is still quite a bit of hard plastic in the test car in the middle equipment experience, but the plastic is cleanly processed and looks like more. Many switches have chrome inlays, and the screen shines brilliantly like a high-quality smartphone. The "leather-look steering wheel" doesn’t feel plasticky at all and sits well in the hand. By the way, the menus in the center display between the two luminous analog round clocks can be easily selected using the steering wheel buttons – without having to study the operating instructions beforehand! What more could you want?
More torque than a gasoline engine
The front seats are firmly upholstered for a french car and offer good side support. However, the tester misses an effective lumbar support. After five hours of non-stop driving, he senses something is wrong. The back "sags" because it is not supported enough. It’s a pity that Renault is still sticking to the antiquated, heavy-handed adjustment of the backrest angle using a ratchet.
The newly developed bivalent powertrain with a 100 hp three-cylinder gasoline engine with conventional multi-point injection and exhaust gas turbocharger is a perfect match for the overall friendly layout. Renault does not use a balancer shaft in the Drilling to make the engine run more smoothly. Instead, a conventional two-mass flywheel and a vibration damper are used on the crankshaft. This design makes it possible to dispense with additional balancing weights on the crankshaft in order to avoid unnecessarily increasing the weight of the engine. And unlike earlier LPG variants, the new optimized autogas engine no longer compromises on performance compared to the gasoline-only engine. With 170 newton meters at 2000 rpm, the tce 100 LPG mobilizes more torque in LPG mode than the gasoline tce 90, which has 160 newton meters at 2750 rpm and, interestingly, ten horsepower less than the previous model.
Acoustically unobtrusive three-cylinder engine
The powerplant in the mini-SUV is well muffled, even at 181 km/h according to GPS measurements (factory specification 175 km/h) the car remained surprisingly refined, and little was heard from the engine. Chapeau, renault! The one-liter turbo is not only an acoustically inconspicuous three-cylinder engine, it is also remarkably elastic: even from low revs around 1000 rpm, it accelerates without a murmur. This is how it can be driven in a very shiftless and fuel-saving way. If you like to save money, this is the car for you. The driver can stay in high gear for a long time. And that’s a good thing, because the LPG Captur only has a five-speed manual transmission that proves surprisingly clumsy when changing gears quickly. That’s something you’re not used to seeing in new cars today. In ECO driving mode and with a forward-looking driving style that does not require driving slowly, consumption values of around seven to eight liters per 100 kilometers can be achieved in autogas operation in normal everyday use. The captur’s practical fuel consumption over the 1400-kilometer test drive, including some fast highway stages, settled at a very good 7.3 liters of autogas per 100 kilometers, which is only 0.2 liters above the factory specification according to WLTP measurements. Thus 100 kilometers cost only 3.72 euro with a liter price of at present 51.9 cent! With these extremely low fuel costs, neither a modern diesel nor an electric car can keep up. You can’t drive a car cheaper at the moment!
Switchable from gas to gasoline
However, only those who always drive with autogas, which is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than gasoline, drive cleverly. One tank of gas gives the car a range of at least 400 kilometers. Speaking of refueling. This is almost as fast as with the gasoline engine. The only thing that needs to be done is to screw the pistol-type fuel pump system onto the adapter and lock it in place, which is uncomplicated. And because the captur, with its bivalent drive system, has a 48-liter gasoline tank in addition to the 40-liter LPG steel tank, a theoretical total range of over 1000 kilometers is possible with a practical consumption of 5.4 liters of super E10 (only 0.3 liters above the factory specification). And no one has to worry about not finding an LPG pump. With status from 1. October there are 6196 service stations in the country with an LPG pump. So statistically at every second gas station. However, the switch between gasoline and autogas looks more like a DIY store retrofit solution. Unfortunately, Renault has chosen the worst possible place for this switch with its pi-by-thumb indicator: at the bottom left of the steering wheel; you have to bow down to see this switch.
The new platform enables the use of various assistance systems. For example, a cross-traffic alert system and a 360-degree camera are available for the first time. The newly developed easy link multimedia system cooperates with smartphones via apple carplay or android auto as standard from the mid-range trim level onwards. Any updates to navigation and software are done automatically without the driver having to do a thing.
Conclusion: the captur is an attractive, pleasant to drive, well-suspended car, with which you can safely go on longer trips. How ideally such a well-made small SUV fits into everyday life. Get in casually, sit up high, drive comfortably and, thanks to the sliding rear seat, have the flexibility to take children or boxes with them. This is clever. And above all, LPG is not only more environmentally friendly than gasoline, it is also unrivaled in terms of price. It is therefore all the more incomprehensible that only a few manufacturers still offer LPG cars ex works. Until 2019, there were seven manufacturers (dacia, fiat, ford, hyundai, kia, opel and renault), but now there are only three – fiat, dacia and renault.