The latest version of the Chevrolet Captiva has been given a huge amount of facelift over its original version. GM now believes that the car is now empowered enough to attract a whole lot of Indian consumers. You will have a propensity to agree with the view of General Motors when you take a first look at this car.
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The huge grille that the car boasts of now has been able to completely transform its looks and has probably taken care of the biggest weakness that the Chevrolet Captiva has, of not looking much like an SUV. The grille has been designed in two parts, with a thick strip (where the Chevrolet bowtie sits) splitting it. We are now familiar to this signature that most modern Chevys have been provided with.
The other changes that are quite interesting include the change in shape given to the air vents at the sides, the window line being adorned with chrome strip and the mirrors housing the turn signals. Its wheel arches have been provided with bigger protective moldings than the previous versions so that it can easily accommodate wheels that range from 17-inch to 19-inch. However, the variant designed for India is only going to make use of 17-inch wheels, in order to match the higher profile of the tyres. The rear of the Chevrolet Captiva has not been changed. Hence, this portion of the vehicle is least interesting having common lines.
Though most of the interiors have been retained from the previous version, certain clever change in design by GM has resulted in significantly improving the look of the cabin. Its central console has been made much sharper along with significantly improved sculpting. It has been provided with angular vents that has enhanced its sporty look. The seven-inch, large screen functions efficiently especially because there has been an increase in the number of systems of navigation. The option of GPS navigation is likely to be offered by GM India on the higher end variant of the latest Captiva.
A completely new instrument cluster has been provided which unlike previous models has offered separate positions to its tachometer and speedometer, thereby ensuring that the data can be easily read. The latest Captiva has been provided with a parking brake that can be electrically operated. This can be operated using a small switch, which has been provided at the base of its central console. The space that has been generated by the absence of handbrake lever is used by providing two cup holders, which has the provision of being slid below its central armrest.
The plastic used is of much improved quality, which generates a more plush feeling than ever before. However, considering that the vehicle has been priced around the Rs.20 Lakh mark generates a feeling that the plastic quality is still not up to the desired standards. Presence of numerous hard and shiny parts makes the cabin loose its ambience quite a bit. However, the switchgear is of a decent standard and the steering as well as gear lever feels better to operate. The level of quality surpasses that of the XUV500, but the Captiva has a long way to go before it can match the standards set by Japanese and European cars.
The capacity of the Captiva to comfortably seat seven passengers has been retained, which is an appreciable factor. The middle seat is still spring loaded and can easily be tumbled forward by merely pulling a lever. The third and final row can be made to collapse to the floor for creating a large and spacious area to store luggage. However, if all three seating rows are used, then there is absolutely minimal space for accommodating any luggage.
To perfectly compliment the aggressive looks of the car, the latest Captiva has been provided with a 2.2L diesel engine under its hood. The engine has been offered in two tuning states; the lower of the two generates a maximum power of 163Bhp but is restricted to front wheel drive versions. The higher powered variant generates a peak output of 184Bhp and can be used for both two wheel as well as four wheel driving options. The car has been provided with option of six-speed manual as well as automatic transmission gearbox. Internationally operating variant of the Chevrolet Captiva has been fitted with the latest V6 3.0L petrol engine and has been given the capacity of generating a maximum power of 258Bhp. Given the high prices of petrol in India and the increasing preference for diesel engine variants, it is highly unlikely that this large petrol engine is going to be offered in the Indian auto market.
Though GM is yet to clarify the engine option it is going to provide to the Indian variant of the Captiva, it seems almost certain that the 184Bhp version will be coming to the country. This is going to provide the Captiva with a significantly large increase of power (36Bhp) over its erstwhile variant and more importantly make it overtake the Fortuner (having peak power 168Bhp) while closing the gap with Santa Fe (at 194Bhp). The other admirable aspect is that the engine has increased in refinement and operates at lower noise levels. The sound does not become too prominent even when it is revved very hard. The credit of bringing down the noise and vibration levels has to be given to the dual-mass flywheel, the engine block, which is stiffer and its balance shafts that have been seamlessly integrated to its oil pump.
Performance and Handling:
The transmission of the car is a bit of a let down and has not been given the refinement desired. The clutch feels heavy and its dual-mass flywheel cannot ensure smooth engagement of it. The gearshift makes things worse as you need to have very strong muscles to operate it. This contributes to making city driving a tough task on this car. This can be rated in the lower rung amongst gearshifts that are normally provided to SUVs. However, the higher levels of torque on this car as well as improved ratios of its six-speed gear box helps in ensuring that the gearlever is used minimally.
The considerable improvement of power in the car can be instantly felt once the accelerator pedal, which comes spring loaded, is floored. Though the vehicle still has some turbo lag, driving becomes smooth once the 1800rpm mark is crossed. The vehicle is also an excellent cruiser with its lower noise levels and tall top gear allowing users to go through highways in relaxed manner. The Captiva has been ideally designed for long drives. If proper usage can be made of its flexible interior, the car can turn out to be an ideal holiday vehicle for you.
The chassis of the latest Captiva has also been tweaked to improve dynamics. Even after driving the car for a short distance, one can see that the handling and riding has been improved significantly. The suspension offers a more settled performance particularly on uneven surfaces with bumps being easily absorbed. The steering, which is electronically controlled, has become more responsive but there is scope for further improvement on it. The car still stumbles while taking corners; hence it would be of best interest to not push this vehicle too hard.
The latest Captiva has been offered with increased features. Six units of airbags, an improved music system, feature for assisting hill start along with the 4×4 system, on-demand, which converts the car to a rear wheel drive using the electronic clutch, if deemed necessary. This 4×4 system is however best suited for off the road travel.
Though the latest Chevrolet Captiva has been provided with a lot of improvements, it still has a long distance to travel to catch up with cars like Santa Fe or for that matter, the higher priced Nissan X-Trail. Hence, in order to ensure that the car catches the pulse of the Indian consumers in a proper manner, GM India needs to price this car in an aggressive manner.