Reader's test: Chev Captiva
A HAPPY CONVERT: Reader Alex was genuinely surprised after his first experience in a Chev Captiva. So impressed that he promptly purchased this one.
Author: ALEX STAMP
After extensive searching for a decent family SUV (having checked out all the Korean and Japanese favourites), I discovered that General Motors Bruma had a demo 2012 Chevrolet Captiva 2.2 LTZ AWD for sale (3000 km) going for just over R400k.
Until then, I had not seriously considered a Chevrolet but I thought: “What the heck, I’ll take it for a drive anyway”.
Right there and then, based on that one driving experience, I made the decision to buy the SUV. It has proven to be a seriously good decision.
I bought the beige seven-seater SUV in March, 2012 and it came kitted out with everything I needed including an aftermarket headrest DVD system with wireless headsets. Standard features include all-wheel drive, Bluetooth, cruise control, leather seats, auto lights and windscreen wipers, rear park distance control, auto handbrake release and hill start assist, electrically folding door mirrors, electrically adjustable driver’s seat and a sunroof.
The interior is spacious and comfortable. Leg room upfront and in the second row is really excellent – even for tall adults – but the two back-row seats are best suited for kids up to the age of about 11 or 12, I guess. The deep footwell makes it fine to sit there for reasonably long trips and headroom is much better than some of the competition.
The Captiva’s dashboard lighting is a pleasant mix of blue and soft white and all-in-all the interior is a really nice place to be.
OK, so this is what really sold me - the ride and the engine (135kW and 400Nm – that’s very good). The car is incredibly quiet, much more than my Mercedes E-Class 320 Cdi. And I mean much more so…
At pretty much all cruising speeds the engine cannot be heard and the chassis is superb. The ride is solid, there is not the slightest hint of suspension noise at all and road noise is well contained. It is well on par (if not a bit better) than the Fortuner’s excellent chassis.
The six-speed auto gearbox is a treat. From pull-away the engine response is direct and immediate and when taking slow corners the gearing sets itself up for a smooth and direct response from the motor.
The Bluetooth is really just that, connect and use the car audio – no decent call management functionality, which I do miss.
The front seat squabs are too short – 20mm more support would have been just right.
The Captiva has been a revelation. It is an excellent vehicle, well-made and solid, lovely to drive and with a five-year warranty and a full five-year maintenance plan (cost me extra), I have been more than satisfied. So too, the excellent service from GM Bruma. For example, a problematic driver’s seat was replaced without objection.
If you’re in the market for a really good SUV, give the 2.2 diesel Captiva a look. You will be impressed. Roll on the Trailblazer.
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