We ended up buying the Renault Captur 2016 model.
In this Renault Captur UAE Review, I’ll tell you how it happened.
It all started when then wife persuaded me to buy her a new car which should be a crossover. I had to put my foot down and say yes dear. Then we began short-listing cars based on budget, features, looks, safety, etc. We also researched online forums, manufacturers websites, pre-owned car reviews and such.
The criteria we gave highest ratings in our next car were:
1. Fuel; economy because I’m a casual tree hugger
2. Safety; because we want to live a little longer
3. Budget; because that holiday in Switzerland
4. Looks; because the status quo
5. Luxury; Features for passengers other than us
We could only afford around AED 80K ($22K) so most of the European crossovers were out of reach. It also took some time to convince the wife that we seriously could not afford the Infinity QX50. We had a bad experience with American manufacturers (a/c and electrical issues) so we kept those out of the final list. We finalized the following cards for our test drive:
1. VW Tiguan
2. Nissan Qashqai
3. Hyundai Tucson
4. Kia Sportage
5. Mitsubishi ASX
The Mitsubishi ASX
We went down to the Mitsubishi showroom in Mussafah / Abu Dhabi / UAE, and requested to test drive the ASX. A really accommodating sales agent tended us while going through the options and features of the car.
He also mentioned Mitsubishi has a few 2013 ASX models in their inventory giving them away at a bargain price with insurance and service options the only difference between the top end of both is the navigation/media center.
This actually struck a chord with us. Now we can save some money and who needs navigation when you got Google Maps for free with live traffic available.
Moreover, we are not heavy users with just normal office-home, weekend driving to Dubai and occasional travel to the northern emirates. The 2013 model would actually be a good thing. The interior of the car was bland, hard plastic-y and very similar to the 2008 5-door Toyota Pajero I currently own.
Test driving the Mitsubishi ASX
We went for the test-drive and the first negative thing we found was that I could not adjust the seat to drive comfortably because of my unusually long legs. Then the drive itself was extremely awful, the feeling from the acceleration’s response was like that of an institution where they happily accept your application but make you wait for the result by giving excuses.
This CVT engine just is not built for the roads in UAE; sudden acceleration and braking is a must on the roads. You have people driving at 80 KM/H in the second lane when the posted speed is 120. You have to overtake that while in the left lane cars are zooming past at speeds of around 140. The wife drove and did not like the car as expected.
The salesman understood the issue we had with the car and offered us to have a look at the Outlander instead. Unfortunately that car did not fit into the criteria we had set for the cars we would be looking for. We said our goodbyes to the sales man and made our way out of the showroom.
The Kia Sportage
Then, we went to the KIA showroom, also in Mussafah and asked the single sales person in the showroom who was busy with another customer for the test drive. We had already booked a test drive for the car and after completing the pretest drive formalities we made our way to the top-range shiny orange-colored KIA Sportage.
The car is really attractive and does look nice when on the road with other cars. It had push button start, panorama sunroof, leather seats, daytime running lights (I seriously need to understand the requirement of running lights during daytime) and almost all things that come with any top end car these days.
The handling of bends was a bit uncomfortable and the car did give the feeling of a large SUV. The one we drove was priced at 94K AED after discount from 99K AED without any other benefits on insurance and service. The lower option was priced at 87K AED and the difference was the navigation system.
The one below this was offered at 79K AED did not have seat warmer and power driver seat which we could live without. It’s the Middle East and panorama sunroof itself raises questions about the target market and you have seat warmers and that too for the rear seat.
We went for a test drive on a hot afternoon in June where the temperatures were hitting high 40’s C; the panorama sunroof is not so cool literally. We did not like the idea of the sunroof but were overall happy with the car – maybe because we just came back from driving the ASX.
On arriving back from our test-drive, we were greeted by the now free sales person and we went on with options and features with pricing etc. We were happy with and placed a tick mark on the 79K one and made our way out of the place.
The Hyundai Tucson
We made our way to the Hyundai showroom to have a look at the Tucson however they did not have one at the time for a test drive. The sales person asked us to come back in about 2 hours and he would have a car ready for us. We were a little disappointed but I could understand as the showroom was a little bit busy than the previous one we had visited.
Maybe it was around late afternoon or the discounts and added offerings were good to gain that much interest. However we left the showroom with the intention of returning a few hours later.
The Nissan Qashqai / X-Trail
Next we arrived at to the Nissan showroom and asked for the test drive on the Qashqai. Unfortunately they had discontinued that model. Now they were offering X-Trail and asked us if we would like to test drive that one instead. Why not? We were already there anyways.
Took the test drive in the full optioned vehicle and the thing that stood out in the car was feeling of the steering wheel. It was light and extremely responsive. I overall liked the car as any would look better from the inside than the bland interior of the 2008 5-door Pajero that I own as well as the Sportage and ASX.
Now time for the wife on the wheel. She drove and really looked uneasy with the car and said it gave the feel of a really huge car from the inside even though it was not that long or big. I understood what she meant as she is really uncomfortable driving the Pajero.
The Nissan Juke
After looking around the showroom, I pointed towards the Nissan Juke and said: “How about that one over there” to the wife. The response was less than affirmative with wide eyed response: “Do you really think I would like to be seen driving that frog?”
I don’t blame her, that car does look like a toad. It’s a weird looking car and has got its attractive points but still…
Anyways, we went over the options we wanted in the X-Trail and the pricing was too high for us and it did not click with us. And now it was time for us to head home and plan the test drive of cars remaining on our list.
Renault Duster? Renault Captur?
On the way out I just asked my wife if she wanted to have a look around the Renault showroom and see what they have to offer. It was in the same building since the dealership is the same, Al Masood. We thought maybe we could give Renault Duster a try because it was almost fit our criteria for except the looks. We sat in the car and immediately disliked the interior.
Bad Renault Duster, Bad!
Take this; the power window buttons were on the dashboard center console under the radio for the front windows and the for the rear windows, in the cup holder between the front two seats.
(Seriously, I would like to meet the person behind the designing of the interior.)
It was amazingly-bad but still I see a lot of Duster’s driving around on the streets and I feel to see the appeal.
Giving Renault Captur a try / chance
Now we were introduced to a salesman who was busy with some customers when we entered the showroom. He made some small talk and tried to understand what we were looking for. He then suggested we go for the Renault Captur (link).
I had thought before about the Renault Captur but ruled that one out because it had 1.2L engine even though it had a Turbo tag attached to its name. I did not think that it would be able to perform with that big body on the UAE roads.
I had visited online forums and heard nothing but praise about the Renault Captur. It is based on the Nissan Juke but luckily not as ugly as that one.
The one in the showroom was the midrange one with white on blue which did not have the extra exterior styling, stylish wheels and touch screen entertainment system with navigation.
I really liked the car and it did fit well with the luxury and styling part of the criteria but I was skeptical of its performance. The salesman insisted I take a test drive to get the feel of the car.
My Renault Captur UAE Test Drive
I was offered the black on orange full option for the test drive which I hesitantly accepted. I really liked the exterior and the interior of the car but felt it would be a let-down because of the performance. Boy was I wrong.
Captur performed much different from what I anticipated and all that prejudice went out the window and I was genuinely amazed. The handling was almost like a small hatch back and that 1.2L engine was just waiting for the accelerator push. I also own a 1.6L Nissan Tiida and the performance was similar to it.
The interior, the exterior and now the performance was just perfect for what we wanted. The 1.2L with ECO mode saves fuel in the city driving. The small things and adjustments in the car are very well thought-out . You can easily remove seat covers and wash them in your washing machine at home.
The rear seat not only has folding option but you can also move them forward and backward a few inches to increase boot space or leg space. The first one ever I have seen is the drawer style glove box that slides out rather than falling out.
Renault Captur UAE price
The wife took the test drive and she really liked the overall feeling of the car. Now we were heading back to the showroom to look at the options and pricing.
Amazingly, the top tier price was 68K AED ($18.5K). That meant we saved a lot from what we planned to dish out.
Having said this, I need to say that currently the Renault Captur Dubai price starts from 52,900 AED or $14,450.
Looks like that Switzerland holiday seems a bit closer than before. We LOVED this one.
Next, we looked at the colors and options. We wanted to have the top tier with blue with black top which unfortunately they did not have any. They would not have any available in the combination we wanted anytime soon they said. Disappointed we were. Went home that day just to think it over and see if we still want the mid-range one.
The Renault Captur UAE Offer
The next day we were visiting friends in Dubai. On the way back from their place we saw another Renault showroom and thought of trying our luck. A very friendly salesman attended to us yet he gave us the same response that the combination we are looking for are not available. He was not sure if that combination is available in the new stock which was a few days away.
He looked through the system and said that there is one car available but it is on hold for reasons unknown to him…
Proud owners of a 2016 Renault Captur in UAE
He asked us to pay the booking and if that held car becomes available he would immediately get that one or if any exists in the new stock he would get one from there for us. He promised to refund the booking fee if we don’t get what we are looking for.
We thought about it and paid the booking fee. Later in the evening, we got the call. The salesman said he booked the car from the new stock for us and he wants us to come and finalize the deal. It took us a week to arrange for the mortgage. Now we are proud owners of a 2016 Renault Captur in the UAE.
This car has won the European best compact crossover SUV in 2014. I can understand why and now with the increase of fuel price in the UAE.
I am totally thankful I did not go with a heavy engined car. Mainly I’m very happy about the choice we made as all of the other cars were about 2.0L or above.
I was on the Dubai sub-Reddit where a redditor asked about buying a new budget car with good fuel economy as well.
I did give my two cents in there. At that time, I was still researching the cars and mentioned Renault Captur as a car that grabbed my interest.
There was one who was skeptical of the performance from a 1.2L engine. I promised him I would report back once I had driven it.
The same person asked me to pen my experience. So here I am writing about how I came about owning a car.