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On January 31, the Renault Press site ran a live chat session with Laurens van den Acker (industrial design director) and Ali Kassaï (A-B range program director) on the design and positioning of Captur, Renault's new crossover. We outline some of the key points below.

Don't you think Captur's styling will come across as rather too sensible compared with the much more radical design of the concept car of the same name?

Not at all! Captur steps right into a boom segment with high-appeal styling, extensive customization capabilities (such as two-tone paintwork), and a highly persuasive profile.

With today's emphasis on a global outlook, carmakers' eyes are turning increasingly to emerging markets, so how does this influence the design of Renault cars?

Though design trends tend to be universal, people's budgets are anything but. So our challenge is to create cars that embody our values ""“ human, sensory and emotional ""“ and are priced right for our various markets. Response to the Captur photos we released has been overwhelmingly positive, worldwide. Our aim is to make cars that appeal to motorists irrespective of geographical location. It can be done: I'm sure of that.

What are the origins of two-tone paintwork, an increasingly commonplace design trend?

Two-tone paintwork is almost as old as the motorcar itself, but until fairly recently it wasn't really a viable proposition for volume production models. Technological breakthroughs open it up to a larger market today, and that fits in neatly with Renault's take on innovation for all.

Is Captur primarily a man's car, or a woman's?

Customer surveys show that Captur appeals to a much broader section of the public that we'd initially thought: families with young children; seniors who appreciate the car's practicality, high driving position and youthful image; and young motorists aspiring to a car that matches their exuberant, inquisitive outlook as they start out in active life.

The crossover format has become a must for most carmakers today, so what exactly sets Captur apart from the rest of the field, and how will Renault be facing up to brands like Kia?

Renault Captur is true to Renault's background and know-how, as expressed by the ""voitures à vivre""� (""Cars for living""�) ethic. Compared to other crossovers it comes across as particularly modern and innovative, and that applies especially to the car interior, which offers a unique range of groundbreaking solutions.

When can we expect Renault's next compact SUV, and will it look anything like Captur?

Renault will be fielding a unique and highly attractive line-up of crossovers, each with its own unique personality and positioning. But it's too early to talk about exact release dates.

Will there be a 4×4 version of Captur?

In-depth, close-contact analysis of customer needs reveals that factors such as fuel economy, compact footprint and interior features greatly outweigh interest in off-road capabilities.

How does the exterior styling differ from that of the concept car?

You have to realize that a concept car is a bit like a film trailer. It's designed to give people a taste of what's to come. So it's deliberately over the top on several counts: very wide wheels, excessively broad shoulders, a little cramped inside, etc. A concept car is great to look at, but it would hardly make a realistic purchase choice, because the people who buy cars have more everyday concerns in mind, such as practicality and running costs. That being said, we do want the car in the showroom to carry over the spirit of the initial concept car. New Clio definitely did express the DeZir spirit, and I hope Captur too will be true to those initial concept-car statements.

Will there be a sports version of Captur, along the lines of Nissan's Juke-R?

That would be great, especially when you realize that our Clio RS experience offers all the ingredients for a truly fabulous project! That being said, no decision has been taken as yet.
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