Text: Leilani Basson
Many midway upgrades and re-launches leave journalists (and motorists) confronted with that “don’t you see anything different about me?” predicament that can send a previously healthy relationship downhill. No matter what you say, you’ll be in trouble.
The newly launched Chevrolet Captiva hasn’t gone to the hairdresser for a few natural highlights, a conservative trim or a voluminous blow wave. It’s unveiling can be compared with Mom returning from a soul-searching overseas trip with a tan, leaner physique, luscious Jennifer Lopez hair extensions in a completely different colour, and a whole new outlook on life… and love. And best of all, she’s done away with those unflattering, baggy clothes and swapped them for more defining, stylish outfits. Now that’s noticeable, isn’t it?
Apart from “different”, “improved” is the other word that comes to mind in describing the new Captiva.
Imagine having a third row of seats that does not interfere with everyday practicality or limit the boot space – and which can be completely concealed when not in use. This is a reality with the clever “fold-flat-to-floor” seats that can be erected with the pull of a lever and tucked away just as effortlessly.
When they are stowed, an unencumbered 477 litres of loading space is yours for the taking. Fold the middle row of seats down and the capacity increases to 942 litres. With all but the driver’s seat folded down, there’s an enormous 1565 litres of load capacity.
In seven-seat configuration, you’ll still have a usable 85 litres of cargo space. (All this inner space doesn’t add an ounce of weight or size to her new look!)
There’s a generous make-over to the interior. The seats are clad in a new fabric, the general ergonomics and comfort of controls have been improved and the front ventilation system has been redesigned for better airflow and demisting of the side windows.
The centre console is now longer and slightly lower for optimal armrest positioning. This is mainly thanks to the button-operated electronic park-brake that replaces the conventional hand-brake, freeing up ample space between the front seats. The redesign of the cup-holders aims to eliminate spills.
All models in the Captiva range are now fitted with a six-CD front loader with eight speakers and a radio/CD combination with RDS functionality. MP3 compatibility, Bluetooth connectivity, and auxiliary input are a given. The analogue instrument cluster is stylish and visually appealing. Chevrolet’s all-new signature Ice Blue lighting on the instrument panel has been expanded to this line-up.
To appreciate the changes and improvements to the exterior, one needs to take a walk around the vehicle. The rear and sides still mirror the old Captiva, but from the front, the bow-tied grille has a whole new masculine look. The face is defined by a dual-port grille, chrome surrounds and prominent Chevrolet insignia set in a body colour grille surround. At a glance, it appears more aggressive, bulky and appealing. The headlamps have been moved into the front corners and sport polycarbonate lenses to provide a smooth surface over the functional elements of the lamp cluster.
The new Captiva is powered by either a 2.4 litre Ecotec engine with variable valve timing that produces 123kW and 230Nm of torque, or a direct injection 3.0 litre V6 that delivers 190kW with 288Nm of torque. Both are latest generation engines from Chevrolet that offer exceptional fuel economy. The combined cycle fuel economy is a claimed 8,8 l/100km for the front-wheel drive 2.4 litre model and 9,2 l/100km for the all-wheel drive model. The 3.0 litre direct injection engine is said to deliver a combined cycle economy of 10,6 l/100km.
The inclusion of a 2,4 litre front-wheel-drive automatic model in the range opens up the versatility of the Captiva to buyers who desire the space and functionality of the vehicle but need the convenience of an automatic transmission.
A technical development that Chevrolet is particularly proud of is an enhancement that cannot be seen or touched. This includes an electronic package called RVC (Regulated Voltage Control) that takes care of the electronics within the vehicle. Benefits of RVC include improved fuel economy and longer life for lamps, switches and relays, and improved battery performance. The system continually monitors the state-of-charge of the battery and battery temperature to ensure optimised battery charging in all conditions.
Standard gear on all models includes ESP (Electronic Stability Programme) to help the driver regain control in the event of a skid, and Hydraulic Brake Assist, which increases the braking pressure to bring the vehicle to a quick stop if an emergency braking action is sensed by the system.
The Hill Descent Control System, activated by the push of a button, keeps the vehicle to a maximum speed of 7km/h on steep downward slopes. Active Rollover Protection automatically detects heavy steering inputs and applies the brake to the outside front wheel to decrease lateral acceleration and reduce the effect of such a manoeuvre on the Captiva’s centre of gravity.
New on all models is an electronic park-brake that is linked to the Hill Start Assist (HSA) feature. This will ensure that the vehicle remains stationary for 1,5 seconds after the footbrake is released on gradients of 3% or more, eliminating rollback.
Another feature of the package is Electronic Park Brake Dynamic Assist. This allows the electronic brake control module to apply selective four-corner braking in conditions where it is needed to slow the vehicle in unstable conditions.
The manufacturers claim the Capitva to be the best value seven-seater SUV on the market. It combines the appeal of an MPV with the off-road possibilities of a real SUV. The class leading convenience of seven seats and the high level of specification for both the LT and LTZ variations certainly translate into great value, and should have dealers clamouring for stock.
CHEVROLET CAPTIVA 7-SEATER PRICES
2.4LT FWD MT R299 900
2.4LT FWD AT R314 700
2.4LT AWD MT R341 200
3.0LTZ AWD AT R434 900
Prices include a 3 year/60 000km service plan.
Service intervals are at 15 000km or once a year. Warranty cover is 5 years/120 000km and includes roadside assistance for the warranty period.