Are you in the market for a compact crossover? This crossover group test will give you some insight into the strengths and weaknesses of 3 of the segment's most influential offerings. We test the Suzuki Vitara, Hyundai Creta and Renault Captur, take a look...
The compact family car market is flourishing and we’ve rounded up 3 of the local market’s most impressive offerings to see what they offer at their respective price points. Priced from the mid R200k mark to just under R400k, these contenders offer their own blend of talents and strengths.
The Renault Captur 66 kW Dynamique
The Renault Captur is the stylish choice in the compact crossover segment with a feature-laden cabin and attractive pricing.
The Captur is a popular choice in this segment thanks to its chic styling and feature-packed cabin. The 66 kW Dynamique featured here is priced at an attractive R264 900 and represents good value in the crossover segment when you consider the wide range of features offered as standard. Its 0.9-litre turbopetrol engine delivers 66 kW and 135 Nm of torque to the front wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission. Fuel consumption is claimed at 4.9 L/100km.
The Renault Captur's cabin is simple yet stylish and comes well-equipped with features.
The Renault’s interior is unquestionably stylish. Some of the controls are oddly placed and the gloss black surfaces tend to mark easily, but the Captur’s driving position is good and the driver’s seat is adjustable for height. The steering can be adjusted for rake and reach too. Rear legroom isn’t as generous as in the others while the rear seating position is not the most comfortable either.
The Captur's infotainment system is colourful and simple to use. The navigation system could be better though.
For the price, the Captur offers a good level of feature specification. Automatic headlights and automatic windscreen wipers are standard and a touchscreen infotainment system with navigation and Bluetooth functionality (plus USB and Auxiliary ports) is standard. The graphics are clean and colourful, but the navigation system isn’t the most sophisticated around.
Other standard equipment includes climate control, electric windows and side mirrors, steering-wheel-mounted controls, and cruise control. The Captur is the only car here with a start/stop button.
The Captur's load bay is flexible with a good space offering including a false floor and a rear bench that can slide forward to increase boot space.
For its size, the RenauIt offers a 377-litre loading capacity and the 60:40 split rear bench can be folded down to access the full 1 235 litres. The rear bench can slide forward though, opening up additional space in the load bay and there is a false floor for storing items out of sight.
The Captur has 3 cup holders and there are bottle holders in the front and rear door mouldings. Rope magazine holders are found on the backs of the front seats. Additional storage space can be found ahead of the gear lever and in the glove box.
The Captur's performance is adequate and its low fuel consumption is its draw card. It's the kind of car you want for city driving.
Despite its small capacity engine, the Captur still manages to deliver decent performance on the road. The engine is noisy under hard acceleration and the power delivery is average, but the 5-speed manual transmission is light in operation even if the throws are quite long. It takes some practice to achieve a smooth pullaway and if you get your gear changes slightly wrong, the Captur will become quite jerky. Fuel consumption is good, however: expect figures in the region of 7.0 L/100 km.
Ride & handling
As expected of a cheeky small crossover, the Captur feels light at the wheel and it offers good levels of ride comfort. It copes well in corners with very little body roll and its suspension is generally good, but its ride is a bit harsher on poorer surfaces, but it’s by no means uncomfortable. The Captur rides well overall, however. Buyers should find it adequately pleasing to drive on a daily basis.
In terms of safety, the Captur falls short in the airbag count (just 4 in total), however, ABS with EBD, brake assist, stability control, traction control and ISOFIX seat mounts are all standard. There’s no rearview camera, but the Captur is fitted with rear park distance control.
The Captur is sold with a 5-year/150 000 km warranty and a 3-year/45 000 km service plan.
Want to buy a Renault Captur?
Suzuki Vitara 1.6 GL+
The Suzuki Vitara is a charming and solid all-rounder that offers space and versatility coupled with a reasonable price tag.
The 2016/17 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards champion in the compact family car segment offers an attractive mix of style, spaciousness and everyday usability, backed by Suzuki’s enviable reputation for reliability and aftersales service. Priced at R303 900, the Vitara 1.6 GL+ steps up to the plate armed with a naturally aspirated 1.6-litre petrol engine offering 86 kW and 151 Nm of torque, mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. Fuel consumption is claimed at 5.8 L/100 km.
Simple and uncomplicated, the Suzuki Vitara's interior is more conservative compared with its rivals.
The Vitara’s interior fit and finish leaves little to be desired and its basic, conservative cabin design lacks flair. The driving position is suitably comfortable, with a rake- and reach-adjustable steering column and a height-adjustable driver’s seat. Rear passengers also have sufficient leg-, head- and shoulder room and the rear bench offers relatively good levels of comfort.
The Vitara offers a basic radio system, but it is Bluetooth-enabled for connecting devices.
The Vitara has most of the features you’d expect in this segment but it’s by no means lavishly appointed – there’s no touchscreen or navigation, just a simple audio system with CD player and Bluetooth functionality which can be controlled using buttons on the steering wheel. A USB port is included, but there’s no auxiliary input. Climate control air conditioning and cruise control are standard. The front and rear windows are electrically operated, as are the side mirrors.
Space is one of the Vitara's strengths and its wide load bay opening and false boot floor will prove useful.
The luggage bay offers 375 litres of luggage space and the 60:40 split rear seats fold down flat to open up a sizable loading area with 1 120 litres of space. A false floor in the boot also allows you to store additional items out of sight.
In terms of storage, 2 cup holders are availed to front occupants and bottle holders can be found in the front and rear door mouldings. There’s also a small storage compartment in the centre console in addition to the glove box and extra space for smaller items can be found ahead of the gear lever.
The Vitara performs well overall but lacks some punch on steeper inclines. Nonetheless, buyers will find its performance to be adequate.
The Vitara’s performance is best described as “willing”. Its perky 1.6-litre engine is well matched to its 5-speed manual transmission. Acceleration is smooth and the Suzuki is easy to drive and it copes well in most driving scenarios. The Vitara does lack punch on steep inclines, however, and the driver will have to gear down to find the sweet spot. Buyers will be pleased to know that the Vitara will return respectable consumption figures between 6 and 7 L/100 km on a daily basis.
Ride & handling
Given its humble family car underpinnings, the Vitara’s driveability is a revelation. The ride quality, for the most part, is smooth and comfortable; imperfections in the road surface are adequately absorbed. What’s more, allied with a well-weighted steering, the Suzuki handles well with minimal body roll discernible while cornering. Noise in the cabin is relatively low while driving too.
In terms of safety, the Vitara has 7 airbags (the most in this line-up), ABS with EBD, Brake Assist, stability control and ISOFIX child seat mounts. Park distance control is not fitted.
Not only does the Suzuki come with a 3-year/100 000 km and 4-year/60 000 km service plan, the brand has an outstanding reputation for reliability and aftersales service. Suzuki was named the 2016/17 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards Brand of the Year after finishing as the highest-ranking company in our Cars.co.za’s Owner Satisfaction Survey (in association with Lightstone Consumer).
Want to buy a Suzuki Vitara?
Hyundai Creta 1.6 CRDi Executive
The new Hyundai Creta comes to market with attractive styling and a practical interior, but it's pricier than its rivals.
Price-wise, the recently introduced Creta 1.6 CRDi Executive automatic (R369 900), sits at the high end of the compact family car segment. It offers attractive styling, a solidly built interior and lots of space. The 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine produces 94 kW and 260 Nm of torque driving the front wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission. Fuel consumption is claimed at 7.4 L/100 km.
The Hyundai Creta's cabin is solidly built and offers generous space for passengers and luggage.
The Creta has a solid, well-built interior with a neat, uncluttered dashboard and minimalist cabin design. The steering wheel can be adjusted for rake and reach. The leather-covered seats are comfortable and the driver’s seat is adjustable for height. Rear passenger legroom is quite generous.
The Creta's infotainment system is comprehensive and easy use. We are, however, disappointed that cruise control isn't offered.
The Hyundai comes fitted with a relatively intuitive touchscreen infotainment system with navigation as standard. The system offers Bluetooth functionality with steering-wheel-mounted controls, USB and auxiliary ports. Disappointingly (at least for a flagship derivative), the Creta doesn’t have cruise control and only a basic air conditioning system is fitted. There are electric windows front and rear as well as electrically adjustable side mirrors with a folding function.
The Creta has a sizable load bay, the largest compared with the Captur and Vitara, and the luggage net is a handy feature to secure items.
The Creta is a good example of a vehicle that straddles the small crossover and compact family car/SUV markets. Compared with the Renault and Suzuki, the Hyundai has the biggest luggage bay by far, offering 402 litres. Luggage hooks are fitted, along with a net to prevent items from rolling around. The 60:40 split seatbacks fold forward, leaving a sizable area for loading larger items.
There are 2 cup holders, as well as bottle holders in the front and rear door mouldings. Additional storage space can be found in the glove box and directly ahead of the gear lever. A sunglass holder is also fitted as standard. Second-row passengers have access to 2 cup holders in the rear bench’s central armrest, plus there are rear-facing air vents for added rear passenger comfort.
The Creta is a strong performer with solid, surefooted handling ability and its ride quality is to be admired.
Given its generous torque reserves, the Creta executes overtaking manoeuvres with ease. Its engine is relatively quiet but becomes notably noisier under hard acceleration. The 6-speed automatic transmission is relatively smooth too but can hesitate slightly if throttle applications are uneven. The Creta is the thirstiest of the trio; expect fuel consumption in the region of 8 – 8.5 L/100 km.
Ride & handling
The Hyundai’s wider track gives it surefootedness when cornering at brisker speeds. The steering is weightier but sharper, giving the driver added confidence. In general, the ride quality is good; the suspension is set up for comfort, which explains why the Creta copes well on rougher surfaces and does a good job of soaking up bumps without being crashy. Overall, it delivers a pleasant drive.
On the safety front, the Creta offers 6 airbags, ABS and EBD as standard. Note that brake assist, stability control and traction control are not offered. The Creta does have rear park distance control with a rear view camera and ISOFIX child seat mounts.
The Creta offers exceptional peace of mind courtesy of Hyundai’s comprehensive 5-year/150 000 km warranty, 7-year/200 000 drivetrain warranty and a 5-year/90 000 km service plan.
Want to buy a Hyundai Creta?
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