The Chevrolet Captiva – A Capable, No-Nonsense SUV
Originally introduced in 2006 under the Daewoo brand and based on the Theta platform, the Chevrolet Captiva lives on as a currently produced compact “crossover” SUV.
Designed to be a practical family vehicle, the Captiva is available with either five or seven seats, depending on your personal preference for seating versus cargo capacity. A few engine options are available to suit your individual preference, the base engine being a 2.4 liter four cylinder that produces 138 horsepower – which, for a relatively large vehicle, doesn’t provide a lot of power from the standpoint of many buyers.
Thankfully, multiple upgrades are available, stepping all the way up to an optional 3.2 liter V6 pumping out 227 horsepower. You’re still not going to feel like you’re driving a sports car, but the additional power certainly comes in handy while trying to reach freeway speeds on the onramp. Manual transmissions are available in some markets, but most Captivas come equipped with a 6 speed automatic gearbox for convenience purposes.
Safety is a large focus for this crossover SUV, and standard options provide electronic stability control, motors which tighten the seatbelts when a possible impending accident is detected, ABS, and front airbags. Higher trim levels may also include curtain airbags, which cover the entire sides of the vehicle to protect from collisions impacting the left or right side.
Aesthetical design was a large focus for the Chevrolet Captiva. The front end was largely influenced by the Aveo, making appropriate adjustments to incorporate that design in a manner that still looks decent on an SUV profile. Loudness wasn’t Chevy’s goal with this vehicle – instead, clean lines are the focus, achieving minimalism and understatement. The result is an SUV which appears smaller than it actually is. In fact, many are surprised at how large the interior capacity is once they actually start driving it.
Once you step inside, you’ll be greeted by a clean interior that is fairly minimalistic. The Captiva certainly isn’t luxurious, but that isn’t the goal of a practical crossover. Ample rear legroom provides comfortable seating for even the tallest of passengers, and several high capacity storage compartments provide plenty of space to stash away your sunglasses, iPod, and anything else you need to tote around on a daily basis.
The all wheel drive option provides a different approach to traction, focusing on a more intelligent model. During normal driving, it’s still entirely a front wheel drive vehicle. Only when the engine management system begins to detect slippage at the tires does the all wheel drive system kick in, pushing power to the rear tires to compensate. This approach helps provide increased power output during normal driving, while still being able to handle tricky situations should they arise.
One of the most impressive areas of the Captiva is the overall ride quality. The soft suspension does a great job of smoothing out bumps in the road, without sacrificing steering quality. While driving, the road feel feedback through the steering wheel remains superb, instilling a sense of confidence in being able to handle the vehicle should an unexpected animal pop out of nowhere.
Adding to the sense of driving confidence, braking capability is impressive for an SUV in this class. Multiple stops show little to no brake fade as the brakes heat up, and the braking capability is more than adequate should an unexpected yellow light appear.
For the £28,000 starting price tag, you might expect a bit more luxury than what’s provided. However, the Chevrolet Captiva is a no-nonsense SUV that can handle about anything you throw at it, making it an excellent choice for anyone who values practicality over the frills of luxury.