Renault Captur E-Tech Hybrid vs Toyota Yaris Cross, the big game of urban SUVs

Launched in 2021, the Toyota Yaris Cross has become a new benchmark among hybrid urban SUVs, thanks to more than 20 years of experience of the Japanese brand in the field. Find your way to the Renault Captur E-TECH Hybrid, a version also launched in 2021. Which is the most sober, which is the most versatile? Embark with us for the comparison of the two cars.

Sacred aspect for the Yaris Cross, the Captur becomes very discreet

It’s a body, this Yaris Cross! Protruding wheel arches, front and rear fog lights fitted inside the heavily sculpted shields, wheel arch protections, gray and black treated front and rear shields, rear lights integrated in one side for the head, no doubt about its look assumed from the modern SUV. In this first edition launch series and its pure gold tone, this “baby RAV4” is stunning!

Next to it, the Captur is very discreet. A well-known variation of the first generation for more than two years, we always appreciate its modern style, curved and with characteristic “C-Shape” optics. Our test setup faces the famous Rouge Flamme with the Toyota, with a two-tone body; the car also looks certain.

4.18 m long for Toyota, 4.22 m for Renault, a size still acceptable for a hectic urban life.

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A remarkably more luxurious interior in Renault

The difference in philosophy can be found on board our two cars … or in any case, the most elegant is still the Captur! Large 9.3-inch vertical shelf protruding from a floating console, a 7-inch digital instrument panel here in front of the driver, refined materials from foamed plastics to door trims and a clean fabric upholstery leather, it’s good to live inside this little French SUV. There is only the automatic control of the antediluvian gearbox that denotes modernity and quality of grip. Finally, Renault is correcting the shooting of its latest productions.

Perceived quality in the sense of solidity, this is the historic credo of Toyota. Solidity that often rhymed with austerity. However, the Japanese brand has made great strides in recent years at this level. If the interior of the Yaris Cross, extracted largely from the city car, marks progress (curved board, fabric sheets on the door panels, yellow-stitched leather seats to match the bodywork), the interior remains more timid and conventional than the French. rival. No madness on the screens of our trial version, with graphics that seem to date back to the early 2000s. But, surprise, Toyota is starting to introduce a new 9 ‘”Smart Connect” screen with now very modern graphics and good resolution. . Remote updates, Android Auto Wireless and Apple CarPlay, also connected services. He equipped another copy of Yaris Cross, at the end of the Trail (see the latest images in the gallery below). A good thing.

Both cars maintain a lot of physical controls, for active lane maintenance, automatic headlights, and so on. So many advantages for ergonomics, that it can sometimes seem a bit sacrificed on the altar of modernity.

In practical terms, the Yaris Cross offers a high-end finish with a 40/20/40 bench seat, compared to a classic 60/40 Captur. Both offer height-adjustable boot floors, and even 60/40 for the Japanese in high-end versions with two-wheel drive (our launch edition is four-wheel drive). It has between 320 and 397 L of trunk depending on the transmission of the Yaris Cross, and 305 to 440 L for the Captur, thanks to its sliding seat. Due to its slightly larger dimensions, the Captur will retain the advantage in terms of rear space for small families … but the Yaris Cross benefits from an electric opening tailgate.

Urban agility or tranquility on the highway?

Honor to the most recent. A joy in the city, this Yaris Cross. The take-offs from the stop at the green light always take advantage of the immediate efficiency of the electric motor-generator -80 hp and 141 Nm- to be assisted later by the recent three-cylinder atmospheric 1.5 – from 92 hp to 5500 rev. / min and 120 Nm from 3600 rpm -. The set offers a symbiosis, of more than twenty years of experience in Toyota hybridization, that the “sound nuisance” of the CVT-style planetary gear set so characteristic of the brand, is much less remarkable than before. except to really need the total performance of the set (116 hp in total). The fairly permanent support of the electric brings a lot of flexibility and pleasure, and combines wonderfully with the agility of the car and the ideally assisted controls, relatively firm. The downside to this is a slightly too heavy steering in maneuvers, unfortunately. But the French competitor of the day is worse …

A Captur not so urban?

The direction of the Captur E-Tech is heavy when parked! To believe that the assistance of the Sport modality has been adopted … permanently. A strange choice for what is still an urban SUV, and that could come from the calibration of the change of direction of the big brother Arkana, on the same platform. An element that does the job, especially because the Captur did not have parking assistance in our Intense trial version, unlike the very advanced and semi-automatic of our Yaris Cross. However, Captur is not unpleasant to drive in urban areas. The starts are made systematically in electric mode, and for longer, up to 35 km / h (all-electric driving can be carried out in stabilized mode up to 75 km / h against Toyota 130). What to hear in a “big Zoe”, with the same source of noise for pedestrians, a little nasty, too. Note that braking is less instinctive on the Captur, with a more brutal mechanical regeneration / braking transition here. A common question. In addition, the regeneration intensity is adjustable according to the different driving modes, and at least in Eco mode (highest in Sport). Therefore, the Captur consumes more electricity depending on the speed; the Toyota at launch, very low speed and releasing the accelerator.

In the game of increasing the speed of rolling, the Captur blows hot and cold. If Toyota’s CVT transmission drives out of cities to modulate its pressure on the accelerator to limit sound rises, Captur imposes them … every now and then!

The answer lies with the brand’s innovative E-Tech hybridization solution. Here the internal combustion engine is an atmospheric 1.6 four-cylinder of 94 hp (148 Nm at 3600 rpm), and is assisted by an electric motor of about 49 hp (205 Nm of torque) and an alternator-start of about 20 hp (50 Nm of torque). The transmission consists of two half-boxes, one with two connections linked to the main electric motor; the other four-speed linked to the heat engine. The starter alternator then replaces the clutch and synchronous, to connect the two half boxes if necessary. Then, competition dog clutches allow you to select gears very quickly. In practice, only three proportions are used nominally. One adapted to urban rhythms, one on the road, the last on the highway. The electric motor can do everything possible to try to make up for the abundant “intermediate” gaps, the pleasure is inconsistent. In a nominal situation, the box may fall into a lower gear and howl the heat engine with unprecedented rusticity in a modern car … or be doomed to the apathy of a very low-gloss performance.

Random performance by E-TECH

Then we alternate very regularly from the convincing 145 hp of a versatile and pleasant SUV, to less than 100 hp of a thermal that has suddenly become very light. On the mountain, you will drop the dog box in first gear, otherwise it will never be used! Yes, the 1.2 kWh capacity battery runs out very quickly in road conditions … but fortunately it also recharges very quickly, which increases the overall pleasure away from the city centers. If the 116 hp Yaris Cross is sometimes a little fair (and especially less comfortable than the small Yaris), at least they have the quality of being more constantly available.

In general, don’t worry about the behavior of our two urban SUVs. Quite efficient front axle, precise steering and properly assisted, rear axle that can gently accompany the movement (perhaps sometimes more brutally through the semi-rigid axle of the Captur than the double fork axle of the Yaris Cross AWD; wheels by a small additional rear electric motor, for some potential evolutions anyway, at most), both cars offer a good dynamic homologation. That in the end can be paid daily: the Yaris Cross has trouble filtering small irregularities of the road, especially on fast lanes, but better absorbs urban descents than the Captur … An imperfect balance of comfort for our two protagonists.

A slightly light Yaris Cross for fast lanes

If the Yaris Cross takes advantage of the city, it is legitimately the Captur who takes it on the highway. Adaptive cruise control -although sometimes more brutal- with active lane maintenance (level 2 autonomous driving) that offers more realistic distances with the vehicle in front, but above all much better soundproofing, shows the good progress of the ascent of Renault. Toyota then proves that it is very much in favor of the urban; the air noises are quite intrusive … and the 116 hp can be a bit tight (and noisy) during highway ramps. Consumption then stabilizes at 7.3 L / 100 km, a reasonable figure in itself, but which seems high compared to the average of the values ​​shown on the Toyota ODB! Then the Captur is more comfortable, uses only its heat to keep pace and generally keeps ¾ of the battery for a power requirement: 6.4 L / 100 km, this confirms its superiority in this rural area. With a 48 L tank, it then announced more than 600 kms of autonomy, which seems like an interesting alternative to diesel … now gone from the range.

On the road, the consumption is an excellent 4.7 L / 100 km from Toyota, compared to 5.3 from Captur. In the city, the Toyota can settle for 4.1 L / 100 km, the Captur with 4.9 L.

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At the time of the balance, two very different recipes.

Two competing urban SUVs, with well-defined areas of preferred use: the city for the Yaris Cross where it stands out for its smoothness, maneuverability and elevated driving position if necessary; the most versatile and refined Captur E-TECH Hybrid highway. The Yaris Cross starts at € 31,100 at the end of the Collection, equivalent to the limited series of the First Edition of our test. Please note that a premium Toyota hybrid currently allows you to subtract € 2,000 from the final amount, and that with equipment equivalent to our test car, we go up to around € 33,500. The Captur starts at € 30,900 in a Techno finish equivalent to our Intens test, rising to € 32,870 with the same equipment, although the 9.2 ‘touch screen tablet is currently not available on its own … (without doubt because of the semiconductor crisis.). So even in terms of prices, both cars are marked on the panties!

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