Captiva can still be captivating
THE Chevrolet Captiva and Vauxhall Antara soft roaders were built in the same factory and came with the same engines and drivetrains.
Neither sold particularly well, but the Captiva makes a decent five or seven-seat family car that’s well equipped and very good value.
I’m going to concentrate on the facelifted models built from 2013, when a new diesel engine with either manual or automatic gearbox was introduced.
This latest 2.2-litre diesel was available with either 161 or 181bhp and came with lower emissions and better economy.
The lower power output was only available with front-wheel drive and had average fuel economy of 44mpg, while the 181bhp models came with four-wheel-drive (4WD) and were capable of 42mpg.
Both engines pull well, but they’re fairly agricultural and the manual gearbox needs time to do the changes.
The front-wheel-drive model gives 0-62mph in 9.9 seconds and a top speed of 117mph while the higher powered unit does the sprint in 9.6 seconds and goes on to 124mph.
They both feel reasonably quick on the road, with decent response and easy cruising.
Smooth roads are no problem to the suspension, but when it is as most of us find every day, with ruts, bumps and potholes, it loses its composure.
And this is worse the further back passengers sit, so that even children would be unlikely to enjoy a long journey in the rearmost seats of the seven seater.
The steering is lacking in feel too, and does not give the driver confidence enough to take corners quickly.
But despite this, it actually corners quite well for a tall vehicle, with good grip despite a fair amount of roll.
All four-wheel-drive versions come with electronic stability control, to help in the corners, and hill-descent control to help off road.
Front and middle rows of seats have very good head and legroom and although the third row is easy to access the seats are only big enough for up to younger teens.
A high floor means the knees are higher than in most other cars, and the boot is a very good size with the rear seats folded.
Cheapest LS trim comes with height and reach adjustable steering, electric windows all-round, daytime running lights, alloys, air con and a CD stereo with MP3 player and steering wheel controls. There’s also Bluetooth, six airbags and hill-start assist.
The LT adds the third row of seats, self-levelling suspension, automatic headlights and upholstery, trip computer and sat nav.
Pay about £6,750 for a ’13 13-reg 2WD LS five-seater, or £12,200 for a ’15 15-reg 4WD LTZ seven-seat automatic.
The Chevrolet Captiva makes a decent five or seven-seat family car that’s well equipped and very good value