Previously badged as a Daewoo, the Chevrolet Captiva has begun to find its feet in the UK seven-seater market.
The chunky looks, the aggressive stance and the high driving position tick all the right boxes when it comes to what potential car buyers want. It's not the cleverest or the prettiest of SUVs, but the Captiva does offer one of the cheapest ways to carry seven passengers around, and that is difficult to beat.
There are three main engines that propel the Captiva: a 2.4-litre petrol engine with 140bhp and a 148bhp or a 181bhp turbo-diesel. The latter is the one to have as it is offers a good level of performance whereas the lifeless petrol engine suffers. The petrol engine struggles to 60mph in 11.5 seconds, while the top-of-the-range diesel does that same dash in 9.5 seconds. All models go on to 124mph, and the diesels manage to hit 40mpg-plus while the petrol engine can barely muster half that figure.
What sets the Captiva apart from its rivals is the electronically-operated rear differential. If the sensors think the front wheels are struggling for grip, then they can send as much as 50 per cent of the power to the rear wheels to help out. Add this to the chunky plastic side mouldings and the roof rails, and the Captiva turns into a cheeky off-roader.
There are three rows of seats inside, with the rearmost having two small seats, for children only, and the centre bench seat fitting three adults with ease. There is little room when all seats are occupied, but the seats fold neatly into floor apertures, which allow the 465-litre boot to turn into a monstrous 930-litre one in a matter of seconds. A nice touch is the rear glass opening, which allows passengers access to the luggage compartment without having to open the boot door.
The driver and the front passenger have the best seats in the car. With nice big, American-style armchairs and great visibility, everything up front feels just right. The centre console and the neatly designed dashboard are neat and well finished, in line with the great overall build quality. The Captiva cubby holders and the stereo buttons are a little low and it could do with having additional buttons on the steering wheel for safety.
The smaller engined, front-wheel drive Captivas start at as little as £16,000 but for the full seven seater, the RRP is £18,500. The standard kit comes with remote central locking, heated and electric door mirrors, air conditioning and an MP3-compatible stereo. The LT model comes with 17” alloy wheels, ESP (electronic stability control), self-levelling suspension, half leather trim and colour-coded bumper strips.
** Hyundai Santa Fe **
Despite the Hyundai Santa Fe being slightly cheaper, it does not have the looks that the Captiva has, which in some eyes might be reason for the extra premium on the Captiva’s list price. With the latest facelift giving it an even smarter-looking front end, the Captiva is sure to grow in popularity over the next few years.