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

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

Diesel power

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.

The com­pe­ti­tion

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.

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