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

Launching in 2021, the Toyota Yaris Cross has become a new benchmark among hybrid urban SUVs, thanks to the Japanese brand’s more than 20 years of experience in the field. It finds on its way the Renault Captur E-TECH Hybrid, a version also launched in 2021. Which is more sober, which is more versatile? Board with us for the comparison of the two cars.

Sacred gaze on the Yaris Cross, the Captur is very discreet

It’s bodybuilding, this Yaris Cross! Protruding wheel arches, front and rear fog lights nestled in heavily sculpted shields, wheel arch guards, gray treated front and rear shields, black roof, taillights integrated into a headband, there’s no doubt about its assumed appearance of modern SUV. In this series of First Edition releases, and in its pure gold hue, this “baby RAV4” is imposing!

Next to him, the Captur is very discreet. A familiar variation of the first generation for more than two years, we have always appreciated its modern style, in curves and with the characteristic “C-Shape” optics. Our test setup pits the famous Rouge Flamme against the Toyota, in two-tone bodywork; the car has a certain appearance too.

4.18 m in length for the Toyota, 4.22 m for the Renault, a size still acceptable for busy urban life.

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A noticeably more sophisticated interior at Renault

The difference in philosophy is on board our two cars… or, in any case, the most chic remains the Captur! Large 9.3′ vertical shelf hanging from a floating console, 7′ digital instrument cluster here facing the driver, refined foam plastic materials for the door trims and pure leather fabric upholstery, it’s good to live in this little one. French SUV. There is only the antediluvian automatic gearbox control which denotes modernity and grip quality. Renault finally fixes the footage on its latest productions.

Perceived quality in the sense of solidity, such is Toyota’s historic credo. Solidity that often rhymed with austerity. The Japanese brand, however, has made great strides in recent years at this level. If the interior of the Yaris Cross, largely taken from the city car, marks progress (curved instrument panel, fabric upholstery on the door panels, leather seats with yellow stitching to match the bodywork), the interior remains more subdued and conventional than that of the French rival. No madness on the screens of our test version, with graphics that look like they date back to the early 2000s. But oh surprise, Toyota is starting to introduce a new 9′ “Smart Connect” screen with now very modern graphics and a good resolution . Remote updates, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, connected services too. Another example of the Yaris Cross, in Trail finish, was equipped with it (see the latest images in the gallery below). A good thing.

Both cars retain a lot of physical controls, for active lane keeping, automatic high beams, etc. So many advantages for ergonomics, that it can sometimes seem a little sacrificed on the altar of modernity.

In practical terms, the Yaris Cross offers a high quality finish with a 40/20/40 seat, compared to a classic 60/40 on the Captur. Both offer height-adjustable boot floor and up to 60/40 for the Japanese in high-end two-wheel drive versions (our launch edition is four-wheel drive). Count between 320 and 397 L of trunk depending on the Yaris Cross’s transmission, 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 electrically opening tailgate.

Urban agility or tranquility on the highway?

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

A not-so-urban Captur?

The Captur E-Tech’s steering is heavy when parked! Believing that Sport mode assistance has been adopted… permanently. An odd choice for what remains an urban SUV, and it could come from the big brother Arkana’s turn-key calibration, on the same platform. An element that gets the job done, especially as the Captur had no parking assist in our Intens test version, unlike the very advanced, semi-automatic on our Yaris Cross. However, the Captur is not unpleasant to ride in urban areas. Starts are systematically operated in electric mode and, for a longer time, up to 35 km/h (all-electric driving can be performed in stabilized mode up to 75 km/h against 130 for Toyota). What to feel in a “big Zoé”, with the same noise directed at pedestrians, a little unpleasant, by the way. Note that braking is less instinctive in the Captur, with a more brutal regeneration/mechanical braking transition here. A usual question. Furthermore, the regeneration intensity is adjustable according to the various driving modes, and at a minimum in Eco mode (higher in Sport). The Captur therefore uses more electricity depending on speed; the Toyota at launch, speed too low and releasing the accelerator.

In the game of increasing the roll rate, the Captur blows hot and cold. If the Toyota CVT transmission imposes outside cities to modulate its throttle pressure to limit sound peaks, the Captur imposes them… every now and then!

The answer lies in Diamond’s innovative E-Tech hybridization solution. Here the internal combustion engine is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder 94 hp (148 Nm at 3600 rpm), and is assisted by an electric motor of about 49 hp (205 Nm of torque) and a starter alternator of about 49 hp (205 Nm of torque). 20 hp (50 Nm of torque). The transmission consists of two half-boxes, one with two ratios linked to the main electric motor; the other four speeds linked to the heat engine. The starter alternator then replaces the clutch and synchronizers, to connect the two halves if necessary. Competition dog grips allow you to select gears very quickly. Only, in practice, only three ratios are nominally used. One adapted to urban rhythms, one for the road, the last one for the highway. The electric motor can do everything it can to try to compensate for the “intermediate” cavities, the pleasure is inconsistent. In a nominal situation, the gearbox can then drop into a lower gear and make the heat engine howl with a rusticity unprecedented in a modern car… or else be condemned to the apathy of very mediocre performance.

Random performance on the E-TECH side

We then switched very regularly from the very convincing 145 hp of a versatile and pleasant SUV, to the less than 100 hp of a thermal that has suddenly become very light. In the mountains you will drop the dog crate in first gear, otherwise I never used it! Yes, the battery with a capacity of 1.2 kWh runs out very quickly in road conditions… but luckily it also recharges very quickly, which adds to the overall enjoyment away from city centers. If the Yaris Cross’s 116bhp is sometimes a little fair (and, in particular, less comfortable than on the little Yaris), they at least have the quality of being constantly available.

Overall, don’t worry about the behavior of our two urban SUVs. Very efficient front axle, precise and properly assisted steering, rear axle that can smoothly follow the movement (perhaps sometimes more brutally through the semi-rigid axle of the Captur than the double wishbone axle of the Yaris Cross AWD; all-wheel drive through of a small additional rear electric motor, for some potential evolutions anyway at most), both cars offer good dynamic approval. Which at the end of the day can be paid for daily: the Yaris Cross has difficulty filtering out small bumps in the road, especially on fast lanes, but it absorbs urban speed bumps better than the Captur… An imperfect balance of comfort for our two protagonists.

A slightly light Yaris Cross on fast lanes

If the Yaris Cross has the upper hand in the city, it’s legitimately the Captur that takes it on the road. Adaptive cruise control – albeit sometimes more brutal – with active lane keeping (autonomous driving level 2) offering more realistic distances from the vehicle in front, but above all much better soundproofing, a sign of the good progress of Renault’s upmarket . Toyota then shows that it favors the urban a lot; the air noises are quite intrusive… and the 116bhp can be a bit cramped (and noisy) during road ramps. Consumption then stabilizes at 7.3 L/100 km, a value in itself reasonable, but which seems high compared to the average values ​​presented in Toyota’s ODB! The Captur is then more comfortable, using only heat to keep pace and generally maintaining ¾ of the battery for a power requirement: 6.4 L/100 km, which confirms its superiority in this field. With 48 L of tank, it announced more than 600 km of autonomy, which seems to be an interesting alternative to diesel… now it has disappeared from the range.

On the road, consumption is an excellent 4.7 L/100 km in the Toyota, against 5.3 in the Captur. In the city, the Toyota can be content with 4.1 L/100 km, the Captur with 4.9 L.

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At the time of balance, two very different recipes.

Two competing urban SUVs, with well-defined preferential areas of use: the city for the Yaris Cross where it stands out for its smoothness, maneuverability and elevated driving position if necessary; the road to the most versatile and refined Captur E-TECH Hybrid. The Yaris Cross starts at €31,100 in the Collection finish, equivalent to the First Edition limited series in our test. It should be noted that a premium for the Toyota hybrid currently allows €2,000 to be subtracted from the final value, and that with equipment equivalent to our test car, this rises 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′ touchscreen tablet isn’t available on its own… (no doubt because of the crisis of semiconductors). So even in terms of prices, both cars are marked on the underwear!

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