Captivated by Chevy’s fine SUV
THE SALES gumf will promise you a 7-seater SUV and, in truth, they’re not lying – just like, one of those thin biscuit-like spare wheels is a spare wheel.
The Chevrolet Captiva does have seven seats, but the last two are dickey seats that ingeniously emerge from the boot, halving it but providing two very functional – albeit restricted – and safe seats. If you’ve got a large – and young family – or if you’ve got a normal-sized family and have to take the in-laws with you, it’s perfect; even if it does mean you’ll have to fit a tow-hitch and pull a trailer for everyone’s bags.
But that’s the only whinge you’re going to hear from me on this car. I’m not a great fan of SUVs to start with, plus there’s a helluva lot to choose from in this segment which makes it very difficult for marques to develop models than can and will stand out.
Chev might have done that with the Captiva. For a start, it ticks all the boxes as a safe and dependable mommy’s taxi; over and above the airbags, it doesn’t roll back at stop streets or on hill climbs, the doors lock as you drive away, there are child locks on the back doors, the brakes have ABS and EBD and there’s in-built stability control not just for the vehicle but for the trailer that you might be pulling.
Inside, beyond the USB charge points (nice touch for the teens) in the back, there’s Chev’s bespoke MyLink which promises to provide a seamless link between iPhones or android devices and the car’s onboard entertainment suite through the Apple CarPlay app or Android’s Auto Access app. Not having either, I wasn’t able to fully review this aspect, but given our increasing dependency upon smartphones for everything from entertainment to directions, this does appear to be a real step towards properly integrating phones and cars.
The Captiva has everything an SUV lover is looking for; first and foremost, the ability to change modes from 7-seater to spacious 5seater with oodles of room for sports gear or weekend camping, all the way through to dropping all the seats in the back and using the vehicle to move packing cases.
There are three models on offer, starting with the 2.4-litre manual, also available as an automatic and then the 2.2-litre turbo diesel, which was the vehicle on test. Pushing out 135kW it had all the power you might need, plus a decent clearance for those pesky Joburg moments; like striking Pikitup workers, obstreperous taxis, broken traffic lights or roadblocks for outstanding RTMC fines, allowing you to jump the middelmannetjie kerb with rel- ative ease and go back the way you came.
The true test of Captiva for me, though, wasn’t in what it offered, but rather how it stacked up against its most direct rival; one of which would be the ever-popular Hyundai Santa Fe which I’d tested only a couple of weeks before.
You can get the Captiva from R396 600. You will pay R699 900 for the 10kW extra that the Santa Fe offers.
Needless to say, I am (pardon the pun) captivated!
The competitively priced Captiva stacks up favourably against its rivals.