Review: Chevrolet Captiva (2007 – 2015)
Good value for money. Well equipped as standard. Seats seven reasonably comfortably. Quiet when cruising. Decent diesel engine. Improved facelifted model from 2011.
Steering is light. Not great in corners. Feels a little dated compared to other SUVs at this price.
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Chevrolet Captiva (2007 – 2015): At A Glance
The Captiva is Chevrolet's big seven-seat SUV, offering buyers the kind of practicality that usually comes with cars twice the price. It first went on sale in 2008 and was the first of Chevrolet’s UK models that couldn’t trace its origins back to previously being a Daewoo.
Vauxhall sells its own version of the Captiva called the Antara, but it’s the Chevrolet is cheaper, better equipped and has a great warranty. It’s a more enticing all-round proposition which explains why you'll see plenty on the roads - unlike the Antara.
In theory there’s a choice of a diesel and a petrol engine, but the 2.4-litre petrol was never a big seller and quietly dropped from the line-up so it's hard to track down on the used market. And you probably wouldn't want to anyway. The engine line-up was tweaked in 2011 and the 150PS 2.0-litre diesel, which has always been a bit on the gruff side, was replaced with a more modern 2.2-litre diesel with outputs of 161PS and 181PS.
Other changes for the Captiva facelift include new exterior styling look (most evident in the wide grille, updated headlights and puffed-up wheelarches), chrome detailing inside and an upgraded sat nav and stereo system. Chevrolet has also worked to improve refinement on the move with lower noise levels.
Since its launch, space and practicality have been the Captiva’s strongest pulls and they continue to be so, with the option of five and seven seats, plenty of space for family life and - of course - the go-anywhere capability that comes with four-wheel drive.
Whether you’re buying new or used, the Captiva represents good value for money and low running costs for a car of this size. Since Suzuki stopped the old Grand Vitara XL-7, it’s become one of the cheapest new seven-seat 4x4s you can buy.
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Chevrolet Captiva (2007 – 2015): What's It Like Inside?
The big pull of the Captiva for many - after the price tag - is the fact it's available with seven seats. This means its worth considering alongside the likes if the Hyundai Santa Fe or Mitsubishi Outlander. And it's one of the best when it comes to these extra seats which are spacious and comfortable, certainly when compared to the Outlander where they seem like an afterthought.
Getting to them is easy as the seats in the second row fold and tumble forward and once there even taller adults will find the space roomy enough - for journeys up to an hour or so at least. For kids they're ideal especially as the rows in the Captiva are arranged in a 'theatre' style which means each row is slightly higher than the one in front. For youngsters who get car sick it's a real blessing as it means they can look forward - often a real help.
There's good headroom and enough room to get your feet under the seats in front. The middle row is good too and you can happily get three across without too much trouble. Of course the majority of owners won't use the back seats most of the time and the good news is that they fold down flat into the floor to create a useful albeit narrow load area as you can see in our pictures. With them folded down the boot is a useful 769 litres although with the seats up this is cut to just 97 litres which in reality is enough for a few shopping bags.
The Captiva was revised in mid 2011 with Chevrolet aiming to improve the quality and functionality inside. It's still spacious but the once drab grey plastics on the main dash have been replaced with aluminium-look trim and some shinier plastics. The overly big steering wheel remains and still looks dates but the rather odd handbrake affair has been replaced with a neat electric parking brake which also frees up space on the centre console.
There are new brighter seat fabrics, a redesigned gear lever top while the controls on the main stack arenow blacklit blue giving them a far more modern look. The stereo display is a bit old fashioned though and reminiscent of something from 1990s Chrysler. Still, the quality of the finish certainly seems good and Chrysler has worked to improve refinement too.
While the newer diesel engine is quieter, there have been changes inside too with tweaks to the windscreen, doors and headlining resulting in less road and engine noise. It certainly feels more polished than before. The level of standard equipment is impressive for the money and a big reason the Captiva has proved so popular. All models get an aux-in and Bluetooth while if you opt for sat nav you get a USB port thrown in.
Standard equipment (from June 2011 facelift):
LS is the front-wheel drive entry-level model and comes with the lower powered 163bhp engine only. It has ESC stability control, Bluetooth, electric folding mirrors, a CD stereo, an eight-way adjustable driver's seat, seperate opening glass on the tailgate, a rain sensitive rear wiper, a Thatcham Category 1 alarm and immobilisier, 17-inch alloys, air conditioning and electric windows.
LT is four-wheel drive and has the more powerful 184bhp engine. Standard equipment includes seven seats, climate control, half leather trim, rear parking sensors, rain sensitive wipers, automatic lights, front foglights, cruise control, a trip computer, leather steering wheel and gear lever and a passenger's under-seat storage tray.
LTZ is the top (and best looking) version and comes with full leather trim, sat nav, a reversing camera, electrically adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, 19-inch alloys, dark taillight lenses, privacy glass, headlamp washers and stainless steel sill plates.
Child seats that fit a Chevrolet Captiva (2007 – 2015)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Chevrolet Captiva (2007 – 2015) like to drive?
It’s safe to say that the Captiva isn’t built for speed or changing direction quickly. Take corners a little too quickly and rolls around in a way that’s disconcerting to passengers. It’s much happier at a more sedate pace on the motorway or on A and B roads where the ride is good and the raised ride height gives a good view of the road ahead.
The sole petrol – a 2.4-litre with 135bhp – is largely forgettable. At least it was to buyers and sales were very low, making it now difficult to come across on the used market. So most buyers went for the 150bhp 2.0-litre diesel. It’s an engine that does the job, with decent low-down pulling power, but is left wanting when it comes to refinement. It feels old fashioned and a several steps behind engines offered by other manufacturers. It gets to 60mph in just over 11 seconds.
Both engines were dropped from the line-up in the 2011 facelift (these uprated cars are easy to spot – they’ve got a big, wide grille at the front in a similar vein to the Orlando MPV). The petrol wasn’t replaced, making the entire range diesel-only for the first time.
Out went the old 2.0-litre and in came a more modern 2.2-litre avaiable with either 161bhp or 181bhp. It’s a big improvement on the old 2.0-litre, not least because it’s more powerful and yet cleaner. The 181bhp emits 25g/km less CO2 than the old engine, meaning a £55 per year car tax saving (on 2010/2011 rates). That said, it’s still quite noisy and lacks the refinement of some of its contemporaries.
The 2011 facelift also saw the five-speed manual be replaced with a six-speed. While it’s an improvement, it still requires far too much effort to change gear and you can at times find yourself fighting with the gearlever just to change. The power delivery from the engine isn't well suited to it either. There's quite a lag at low speeds so you have to wait between shifts for the power to come on song, so it's not a nice car to drive in traffic.
The automatic gearbox is a better option but is somewhat the lesser of two evils. Around town it's quite lazy and lacklustre, while if you need to change gear in a hurry, it gets all too easily caught out, leaving you with a lot of gearbox noise and not a lot else. It's happier at a gentle pace and is good on the motorway which is the Captiva's most suitable environment.
Another area where the Captiva has picked-up friends is as a tow car. With an braked towing weight of up to 2000kg and self-levelling suspension, it makes light work of horse boxes, caravans and large trailers. Some of the on-board systems get beefed-up from 2011 too. That includes the addition of Hill Start Assist, which holds the brakes for you during those tricky hill starts and Hill Descent Control, which regulates downhill speed if you’re off-roading.
|2.0 VCDi||33–39 mpg||10.8–11.3 s||191–225 g/km|
|2.0 VCDi Automatic||33 mpg||11.1 s||225 g/km|
|2.2 VCDi||34–44 mpg||9.3–11.0 s||170–219 g/km|
|2.2 VCDi Automatic||37 mpg||10.6 s||203 g/km|
|2.4||32 mpg||11.5 s||217 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Chevrolet Captiva (2007 – 2015)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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