The Renault DeZir was my favourite concept from Paris 2010, the stand where I stood by the longest to admire. That lovely lady in red had the right proportions, the right curves and the right jewelry, and is a good first look at Renault’s fresh design direction by Laurens van den Acker. This man loves flowing lines – he came up with Mazda’s Nagare design before joining Renault.

Here’s the Renault Captur concept that will be shown at Geneva 2011, the second concept to show Renault’s design strategy. If DeZir was about “falling in love”, this is the next stage of “two people exploring the world around them”. The French are very romantic, aren’t they?

“Captur is a fun and sporty crossover, ideal for a young couple about to discover the world”, explains Van den Acker. “It takes as its basis the fundamental design language introduced on the DeZir concept car but adds a more technical dimension – more functional but still highly sensuous,” adds Axel Breun, director of concept cars.

Captur adopts the new frontal identity first presented by DeZir. The centrepiece is a large Renault logo set against a dark surface to stand out. “In designing Captur, I began with the image of a sprinter on the starting blocks, his muscles tensed, and the energy unleashed when the starting pistol is fired,” exterior designer, Julio Lozano explains. The design also references things such as helmets, gloves and other sports protective gear.

The Captur is powered by an Energy dCi 160 twin-turbo engine with 160 hp and 380 Nm from just 1.6 litres. Peak torque is available from just 1,750rpm. Paired with a dual clutch EDC gearbox, CO2 emission is less than 99g per km. 0-100 km/h is done in 8 seconds and top speed is 210 km/h. The RX2 system improves traction at low speeds. Should one of the two driven wheels lose traction, this new mechanical self-locking differential transfers all or part of the engine’s torque to the wheel with the most grip.

Gallery after the jump.

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