New Captiva test drive, review

17th May 2011 7:00 am

Chevrolet Captiva is a big step forward over the pre-facelift model.

Chevrolet will soon launch this refreshed Captiva in our market.  Here we’re testing the Captiva before its launch in India with 181bhp 2.2-litre engine, six-speed auto, four-wheel drive and seven seats, there could be an option of  a six-speed manual gearbox mated to this layout.

In many ways this new Chevrolet Captiva is a big step forward over the pre-facelift model. The most significant improvements come in terms of refinement and power delivery. Upgrades to the cabin insulation have made the Captiva a more relaxing place to cover miles, with much less engine noise and vibration creeping into the cockpit, and the punchy motor also makes progress very easy.

Mated to the six-speed torque converter the engine offers good response across the range, with the auto box making slightly lazy but well-judged shifts. For all that it is not the most rewarding drivetrain, it’s effective at what it needs to do, and is really quite likeable because it encourages such an easy-going, laid-back driving style.

The Captiva’s chassis set-up has been modified for the 2011 facelift, with the intention of making it more worthy of the ‘sport’ element of SUV, or at the very least a more positive driver’s car. And whilst the steering is marginally better tuned with that in mind, this is still a distinctly stodgy car to drive, now with correspondingly lumpy ride. This could in part be down to the 19-inch alloys that all top-spec LTZ models get as standard, since our test car did settle down on smoother main artery roads, but there’s too much jogging and jarring over typical b-roads. It’s not unforgivable, and is unlikely to be a deal breaker for those who are taken with the Captiva’s looks and practicality, but it could certainly be better.

There is no doubt that when the new more-powerful Captiva is launched, it will be a much better car. 

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