Before we go any further, can somebody tell me how to get in the boot?
The lovely lady who delivered the Twingo opened the hatch for me when she arrived. I put my bag in and drove away. Later, when I arrived home, I couldn’t open it.
I tried the ‘boot opening’ button on the key-fob (they never work, do they), I tried pressing the Renault badge logo on the lid. Then I ran my fingers under the lip of the boot in search of a button to press.
Several minutes later, I was tearing at the back seats. Unable to open to boot. Eventually, the only way to retrieve my Christmas shopping was to fold the seat backs and reach in from there.
Why should I revert to the manual? Getting in to the boot should be as intuitive as opening a side door.
Eight hours later and I still can’t get in. I can be stubborn too Mr Twingo..
I’ve just come off the phone from interviewing Sofia Helin, the actress who plays Swedish detective Saga in Nordic noir drama, The Bridge. She drives an alarmingly green Porsche 911 in the series – so what does she think of orange cars?
Sofia, who graduated with a degree in philosophy in the 1990s, thought long and hard about the answer. “I think the green car is perfect for Saga’s dysfunctional character – orange would be one step too far.”
So, there you have it. Conclusive proof from the coolest woman on the planet that driving an orange Captur, or any other orange car, really isn’t good for the soul.
Unfortunately, her own image was then slightly dented when I asked what car she drives in real life. You guessed, a thumping great Volvo…
It’s a flat Monday at Car Couture HQ. The World Cup has ended, we’re out of the Tour de France and I’ve almost finished my box set of Breaking Bad. Not even the orange blob that is the Captur can raise a smile.
This morning I noticed the test car has a tow bar. Interesting, I thought. Renault don’t offer their urban SUV with a four-wheel drive set up but I just wondered if it could cope with a deeply rutted dirt track across the farm…
It’s a route I take every week or so in the summer, humping a load of grass cuttings to the giant compost heap. My ancient Land Rover does it in high ratio no problem – how would the Captur fair?
Easily, as it happens. It seems that the extra 200mm of ground clearance does at least come in useful for something, apart from peering over hedges. Shame Renault can’t offer a 4×4 version, I’m sure there would be a market out there…
Yesterday was a good one for orange – Netherlands won third place in the World Cup and the Marching Season kicked off without much trouble in Northern Ireland. However, I’m still not sure about the in-yer-face nature of the sunburst paint on my Captur.
I took a peep at the Captur colour pot online this morning and what Renault might like to call ‘personalisation’ is really just encouraging people to scream about a very middle of the road SUV. Are there really motorists out there who are so enamoured with their Captur that they want to shout about it?
Well, apparently yes. Apart from the garish colour schemes, a quick search of the Internet turned up the Captur Owners Club. I kid you not – there are people uploading images of their beloved Captur, with outpourings of love for their French fancies.
Some have even given them nicknames like Misty and Kucho – one chap has a picture of his gleaming Captur on his wedding day (adequate grounds for divorce in my book, and I should know).
This may be great news for people who want to set up a website for interestingly-shaped navel dust but surely there’s more to life than this, Nandos and out of town shopping?
Make your own mind up:
I blame Porsche – weren’t they the first to offer an orange car for sale? Or maybe it was the three-wheeled Bond, or I seem to remember MG did something similar…
It’s all a matter for personal taste but orange is up there with yellow as the worst colour ever sprayed on a motor vehicle. OK, possibly pink is worse.
Whatever – I know that manufacturer press offices like to offer journalists bright colours because they look better in photographs. Make your own mind up but I can’t imagine anybody buying one this colour. Or so I thought…
This morning I trundled in to Stow-on-the-Wold to buy a paper. As I arrived at the newsagents, guess what parked behind me? Yep an orange Captur! The owner seemed very pleased with himself but I decided to scuttle off before we got engaged in a conversation on the joys of going orange.
Just the colour you need to be driving in Belfast today, on the glorious 12th. What a strange nation of car drivers we are…
Compact SUVs – there’s so many of them out there these days that they all seem to blend into one. Ten years ago we would have bought a hatchback, now everybody want’s a family car that’s high of the ground with chunky styling.
On paper, the Captur isn’t that different. Despite the looks, it’s front-wheel drive only, which means the 20cm of extra ride height only aids visibility and nothing else.
Yet in the metal, the Captur is actually rather good. It’s been well thought out by the designers, with deeply sculpted side panels, a funky front end that encapsulates a big Renault badge, plus plenty of personalization options. The chrome exterior pack looks especially neat.
And this youthful approach continues inside, with colour-coded seats, a wrap around dashboard and seven-inch display screen.
My favourite feature are the seats bins on the back of the front seats. They are strands of bungee chord shaped liked a spider’s web. Look great – but crap for carrying your kid’s pencils…
It’s quite incredible how the colour of car can affect the way you perceive it. I once came close to buying a Saab and when the dealership wasn’t able to offer me the paintwork I wanted, the salesmen said in desperation, ‘well, you won’t see the colour when you are driving…’.
Surprisingly, the Renaultsport Clio is unmissable and not for the right reason. I just can’t get my head around why anybody would want a car in yellow, or mustard or call it what you will.
The Renaultsport Clio is a great car but it somehow lacks the excitement and raw edge of past Clio hot hatches, like the 172 Cup and the Williams. It’s more refined, more forgiving and probably less of a buzz than the class-leading Ford Fiesta ST, which is lighter and more agile.
Fun? Yes of course, but gentlemen of a certain age will remember driving previous Clios and possibly be a little disappointed.
You don’t buy a Renaultsport for practical reasons but considering it is based on the multi-talented Clio then it should have a lot to recommend it – right?
Well, yes it does. Once you have located the hidden rear door handles, the back seat is more than capable of coping with two full-size adults. There’s an OK boot that can be extended quickly with some easy-drop rear seats too.
The dashboard is functional rather than creative – the Clio is a modest supermini after all – but there are lots of cabin bins for wallets, gloves and so on. And the door pockets are even big enough to take my sunglasses case. You would be amazed how many cars bigger than this don’t.
Grumbles? Well, the tailgate grip for shutting the boot down is awkward to grip, as are those rear door handles. Headroom is restricted in the back and I recommend sensible shoes if you are planning to thrash the Renaultsport – those aluminium pedals are not designed for big boots!
Rumour has it The Stig burnt out the brakes and trashed the tyres on the Renaultsport Clio tested by Top Gear.
Now, some might say that’s ridiculous and rather stupid but the fact is there is only one place to enjoy the 200 to the full and that’s on the race track.
There’s so much power scrabbling through the front wheels that believe me, this Clio needs to be treated with the greatest respect. You really do need a circuit to get the most out of it.
What’s remarkable about the Clio is that you can drive it modestly most of the time – then it turns into beast when you hit the EDC button behind the automatic gear changer.
Two very different cars, which will suit some people who can only drive in the real world and don’t have access to a racetrack…
I’m not sure the last time I was presented with a yellow test car. Back in the 1990s, there was a rash of banana-coloured motors left on my driveway with no apology letter at all.
It wasn’t just family runabouts either – Porsche and Mercedes were guilty of painting perfectly good cars a very silly colour.Yellow is for AA vehicles only. Full stop.
So if the Renaultsport Clio wasn’t already in your face enough, the bling paint job just adds insult to injury. At least the copious amount of mud splashed around the countryside at the moment is dulling the pain.
The trouble with this particular Clio is that once you open the door, it gets worse. Apart from a rather cheap-looking ‘Renaultsport’ sticker slapped on the dashboard, the red safety belts clash horribly with the orange metal door trim.
For such a startling little performer, it seems the interior designers were rushing to get the job finished too….