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Renault Captur

With sales of a massive 1.2 million Renault Captur cars since its launch in 2013 it would be fair to say it’s been a phenomenal success story.

Renault call it “a pioneer of the small SUV market” but that hasn’t stopped them from redesigning it so they can continue to cash in.

And why not? That’s what successful companies are good at.

This new “totally refreshed” Captur goes on sale in the New Year. It’s 110mm (4in) longer than the car it replaces, has different exterior styling and features a “revolutionary interior design.”

It’s got more space inside and in the boot, while a sliding rear seat gives it extra versatility.

Choose from three petrol engines, a 1.0-litre three cylinder TCe 100 (hp) with 160Nm (118lb) torque, a 1.3-litre TCe 130 with 240Nm (178lb) or a 1.3 TCe 155 with 270Nm (200lb).

Two diesel engines on offer are a dCi 95 with 240Nm (178lb) or a dCi 115 with 260Nm (192lb).

While they all sound powerful and have enough torque to provide plenty of fun they still seem old fashioned, because the model that interests me the most is the E-TECH plug-in hybrid.

Like the rest of the new cars it’s built on Renault’s new CMF-B platform, which I’m sure you’ll immediately know stands for Common Module Family.

The letter B indicates that it’s a second generation platform which is lighter, stronger and therefore safer than its predecessor.

It was originally meant for an electric car but has been redesigned to accept the E-TECH’s plug-in engine.

The E-TECH delivers the longest driving range in purely electric mode of any plug-in car and Renault has registered over 150 patents for it.

Capable of an impressive 28 miles at up to 83mph, owners can use the car for daily trips without consuming any petrol, while longer weekend and holiday journeys can be undertaken without any range anxiety thanks to still being able to fill up the tank.

The continuous energy regeneration capability of its two electric motors means it always retains enough charge in its 9.8kWh battery to move away and run at low speeds in electric mode.

The electric part of the drivetrain is linked to a new 1.6-litre petrol engine, reworked especially for this application and is equipped with a particle filter to reduce harmful emissions.

It also features a multimode continuously variable gearbox for smooth and seamless operation.

This Captur also comes with a Mode 2-compatible charging plug for domestic sockets and a Mode 3 plug for charging stations.

Fair enough it’s not totally electric yet, but it gives a fair indication of the direction cars are taking.

And that can only be a good thing.