Analysts say the costs of a plug-in hybrid system have largely priced that powertrain out of the small vehicle segments.
Renault has been able to save money on the E-Tech system largely by using a relatively low-tech 1.6-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine developed by alliance partner Nissan, said Romain Gillet, powertrain analyst at IHS Markit.
Gillet said the Captur would also be competing with several battery-electric SUVs including the Peugeot e-2008 and Hyundai Kona Electric.
“But the Captur is offering a long range that the others can’t,” he said. “And, in terms of pricing, it’s still lower than the BEVs. That’s why it’s good in terms of positioning.” The Kona Electric starts at 34,900 euros in France, and the e-2008 at 37,100 euros.
The small SUV segment grew by 20 percent in 2019, giving it the third-fastest growth rate after electric vehicles and midsize premium cars, according to data from JATO Dynamics. With 1.92 million sales, the segment is the fourth-largest in Europe and gaining quickly on the compact SUV/crossover and compact car segments.
The Captur continued to lead the segment in 2019, with 223,634 sales according to JATO. That is an increase of 4.5 percent following the midyear introduction of the second-generation Captur, which has an evolutionary body redesign but all-new underpinnings and interior. It is slightly larger than the first generation, and the interior has been upgraded with more luxurious surfaces and seating, a digital dashboard and a larger touchscreen.
The E-Tech version differs from combustion-engine versions in its screen options and the lack of a spare tire; the trunk space is used for a charging cable.