Find out why the Captiva is very good value for money in the SUV market.
The Captiva offers 400 Nm, enough room for the kitchen sink (we checked) and 5-star safety
AS with bakkie drivers in South Africa, there seems to be two main camps of SUV drivers — those in a Fortuner, and those in another brand of sport ute.
But the Toyota plant at Prospecton is struggling to meet international demand for the new Fortuner, causing very long waiting lists at all local Toyota dealers, and this opens the door for the seven-seat Chevrolet Captiva to get a look in.
And the Captiva’s doors literally do unlock themselves, thanks to keyless entry, which also means the start button is all you need to press to get going.
Keyless entry is a rarity in this price range, and once you get used to the luxury of not having to dig keys out of pant pockets or cluttered handbags, you’ll wonder how you managed to do without it.
Sensible front-wheel drive
Much as Nissan did with the Murano, Chevrolet took a tactical decision not to market the new face-lifted Captiva as a vehicle able to conquer the Malutis in winter, but as a safe and luxurious lifestyle vehicle for families with young children and — thanks to seven seats — their children’s friends as well.
This decision means there are only three Captiva models on sale these days, all front wheel drive and all packed with the same standard array of safety technology, such as hill descent control and an electronic stability control system, active headrests and rear park assist.
Solid construction also earned for the Captiva the maximum five-star rating in the Euro NCap crash tests, making this Chevrolet “a massive bargain compared to other large front-wheel drive SUV offerings”, to quote our learned colleagues at Leisure Wheels.
If you need to transport, say a toilet and the kitchen sink instead of kids — as I did — the boot offers 769 litres of space with the second row in place and a massive 1 577 litres with the second and third rows laid flat.
Despite being aimed at nothing rougher than the sports fields at school, the front-wheel drive proved very able over all the rough dirt roads we took the Captiva on and with skillful use of gravity, even conquered the worst axle benders Pietermaritzburg’s steep pavements could offer. En route, the new-generation Chevrolet MyLink is simply outstanding. Managed by the new seveninch HD colour touch-screen display, the MyLink system goes beyond merely pairing a smartphone with Bluetooth, but integrates it so that you can access your favourite apps and other features on the touch screen.
Depending on your data package, you can stream music online or play the music from your phone via Bluetooth, using the buttons on the console or steering wheel. For those with an old er phone, there is a USB port.
The Captiva’s two proven engines remain the same, with buyers having to choose between a 2,4-litre naturally aspirated fourcylinder petrol (123 kW/ 230 Nm) or a turbocharged 2,2litre diesel with 135 kW and 400 Nm at 2000 rpm.
Without really trying, we got a fuel consumption of eight litres/100 km only in city driving, which is close to the official combined total of 7,6 litres/100 km. Paired to the smooth six-speed automatic box, this diesel burner really has a lot to recommend it, making as it does the same torque as the Land Rover Discovery and SsangYong Actyon, or only 70 Nm less than Ford’s popular 3,2-litre diesel.
Thanks to its seven seats and respectable power, the Captiva can compete against the bigger Ford Everest and Toyota Fortuner, but for bargain hunters, its only real rival is Mahindra’s equally formidable seven-seater XUV500, which retails for less at R272 995. This Indian SUV also has a longer service plan than Chev’s threeyear/60 000 km as well as a longer warranty than the fiveyear/120 000 km on the Captiva.
But we always recommend that you buy from a dealer closest to home, and Chev boasts 181 dealers compared to Mahindra’s 64, giving the Captiva the edge.
The sales staff at Key Pietermaritzburg are ready to talk turkey on the best trade-ins possible. Just say we sent you.
Chevrolet Captiva pricing
2,4 LT FWD M/T R396 600 2,4 LT FWD A/T R415 500 2,2 D LT FWD A/T R431 300
Wheels editor Alwyn Viljoen balances on two wheels to show how the new Chevrolet Captiva can surmount suburban axle benders, despite having only front-wheel drive.