IF I’d taken delivery of a Renault Captur three or four years ago, I’d have moaned about its family-friendly traits and probably come to the hasty conclusion - incorrect, I must now to add - that it was a boring creation that was about as appealing to me as watching daytime television.
Then fatherhood happened. The life-changing impact of having a child - a tiny bundle of joy who somehow requires more additional equipment on mundane journeys than a fully-grown adult - and big boots, roomy interiors and jacked-up ride heights all made sense.
The boot is the most important part of a family car as it has to be large enough to swallow a pram, toys, perhaps a bike and the week’s shopping.
The interior has to be nice enough for you to spend considerable amounts of time in as, when your child gets older, you’ll be driving here, there and everywhere to keep the growing youngster happy.
Second to the boot’s importance is the vehicle’s ride height - having a low-slung car is pointless as your back will creak, protest with pangs of pain days later and no doubt remind you of your stupidity in choosing a wholly inappropriate family car in years to come when you’re crouching down to put your child into his or her seat. It’s imperative the task is as easy as possible - I once had a Toyota GT86 in for review and despite my love for it, I admit I lost count the amount of times I banged my head on its low roof when squeezing my son through the postbox-like gap into the claustrophobic rear.
So, as years go by and your priorities change, it’s not hard to be impressed by just how capable something like the Captur - Renault’s recently-refreshed miniature SUV - thanks to its layout, quality interior and child-friendly ride height.
The previous Captur was a sales hit, and it’s no exaggeration to say that this one is sure to follow suit thanks to being improved in every notable department. It looks better than ever, the interior’s a step above and it now drives like a much smaller car would - a Clio on stilts is the best way to describe it as it retains its smaller sibling’s handling.
Under the bonnet, you’ll find a range of modern petrol and diesel engines, with power outputs ranging from 93bhp all the way up to a hybrid 158bhp model, and families will find further solace in the 422-litre boot which swallowed everything I could throw its way.
The ride - although a little fidgety - eases at motorway speeds but can at times be on the crashy side, but the optional automatic gearbox is another sure-fire hit with school-run mums.
How things change, eh? A car I’d once moan about, but one which I now fully see the point - and benefits - of completely. For a sniff under £20,000, it’s most definitely worth a look.