Chevrolet about to raise prices of cars by about Rs.20,000

The Indian division of General Motors is finally succumbing to the heat of the adverse nature of currency movement as well as of high input costs which is the reason why Chevrolet has finally announced a hike of INR 20,000 on all of its vehicles. Chevrolet was facing hindrance in its Indian operations owing to the reasons mentioned above and henceforth had been planning to hike prices since a long time. The price hike will come into effect from today onwards.

P Balendran who is serving as the Vice-President of General Motors India recently gave out a statement highlighting the fact that the depreciation in the value of rupee as per international currency had a downtrodden impact on the operations of the US Automobile Major. This is the reason why the company was forced to switch to its alternative and increase the prices accordingly in order to compensate for the losses that they were concurring. Not only input costs but the freight charge for the vehicles has also shot up much more than what it was before. Thus, most people who were keeping a track of the currency exchange already saw this coming.It is being said that the lower-end models of Chevrolet will suffer a price increase of around INR 8000 whereas the high-end ones will be INR 20,000 more than what they were till now.

Chevrolet about to raise prices of cars by about Rs.20,000

This depreciation of rupee value has not only gripped Chevrolet but the same happened with flagship automakers such including Honda, Maruti Suzuki, Renault, Toyota and Audi which also increased their prices few months back. The only company on the grid which has yet to take this step is Tata Motors. Instead of hiking, they decreased the price of Indica V2 and rather launched an upgraded version as a backup.

Conclusion: – Owing to the depreciation of rupee over the past few months, General Motors’ Indian ancillary Chevrolet was forcefully increased the prices of all its vehicles by INR 20,000 from today.

New Chevrolet Captiva launched for Rs.18.74 lacs

Chevrolet has launched a thoroughly revised model of its Captiva SUV with a base price tag of Rs. 18.74 lakh. The new Captiva has received many styling changes and a new 2.2 litre 186.5 bhp diesel engine.

Design wise there have been quite remarkable changes. The massive front grille, modified side mirrors and revitalized headlamps complete the total facelift giving the vehicle more masculine and dynamic look. The dual opening grill design, now a familiar sight among the Chevy products like Beat and Cruz, have also been incorporated. The upgrade has given Captiva with all new aluminum hood, with concave sculptured design which provides the front profile with a more aggressive and powerful soul. Headlamps have been given a more powerful shape, while at the same time making them more elegant and modern. The rear of the vehicle remains quite unchanged and is mainly defined by the large rear tailgate. The twin right and left exhaust gives it that distinct SUV look.

New Chevrolet Captiva launched for Rs.18.74 lacs

The new Chevrolet Captiva comes in two engine variants – the base 2.0 litre diesel motor coupled with manual transmission and the new 2.2 litre diesel with six-speed automatictransmission. The new 2.2 model also boasts of some exotic features like cruise control, six air bags, AC vents in the third row, wipers coupled with rain sensors and a sunroof. The updated Captiva is available in three variant, the base 2.0 variant has been priced at Rs. 18.74 lakhs.Another model, named as Captiva 2.0 Xtreme is available at Rs. 19.48 lakhs and the top end model Captiva 2.2 with the new engine and an automatic gear box with all-wheel drive or AWD is priced at Rs. 24.59 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi).

New Chevrolet Cruze to come in May this year: Rumor

There is a rumor going around auto market in India that Chevrolet will berolling out a refurbished variant of its Cruze with a whole line-up this coming may. The attributes that were consolidated in the top end version of this sedan is now going to be assembled in the base variants. This also means that the cost of the base level version may be raised as it is about to get some really good of the high end versions. Though the engine is to remain the same with the 16V SOHC, it is being speculated that this engine may also arrive mated with a six speed automatic as well as manual transmission gearbox that is suppose to raise the performance of the engine to a new level in comparison to the existing model of Cruze.

New Chevrolet Cruze to come in May this year: Rumor

The figure of strength and torque churned out by the engine is also very much likely to increase in this revamped Cruze. A fresh new engine is assumed to come along with the new Chevrolet Cruze. It will have a Z-series 2.0-Litre engine, which will churn out 163 bhp of power and a powerful peak torque of 350 Nm. The dimensions of the new Chevrolet Cruze 2012 sedan are not at all expected to come with any changes, but it will have an enriched ambience with superb attributes of luxury. Equipped with double tone scheme for coloursthat make the interiors look very sophisticated,it also displays the feature rich central console that is fitted mostly in the high-end variants of the cars of Chevrolet. Chevrolet has recently launched a VCDi 1.7-litre engine in the automobile market of United Kingdom. But it seems that the revamped Chevrolet Cruze will not be having this same engine in any of its variants that is expected to launch in the month of May.

It seems that the usual petrol engine equipped car is not going to materialise with the new Chevrolet Cruze. The petrol engine of 2.2-litre that is fitted in the hood of the facelifted version of the Chevrolet Captiva is not going to be beneath the bonnet of the fresh Chevrolet Cruze. This is to mention here in relevance of the Chevrolet Captiva, that it is currently in the limelight for a while and is giving a tough competition to the likes of Skoda Laura, Volkswagen Jetta and Toyota Corola. The exterior of the revamped Chevrolet Cruze has refurbished fog lamps while the bowtie of Chevrolet is to be placed a little higher than the usual height. The storage space will be more in the new car. At an estimated price of Rs.14 lakh, the revamped Chevy Cruzes will probably be made available.

GM working on Chevrolet compact SUV

General Motor showcased the Mokka SUV from its Opel portfolio at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. Recently published images by French magazine L’Automobile, suggested that GM is working on a compact SUV based on the Mokka. The American auto giant has filed for a design patent of the compact SUV. While the Opel Mokka will go as Vauxhall Mokka in European markets, China will soon receive the Asian version soon. Moreover, looking at current scenario in Indian market, with Premier Rio, Ford Ecosport, Mahindra Mini XUV, Toyota rav4 possible in the current calendar, GM might have plans for India too with the compact SUV.

GM working on Chevrolet compact SUV

On a closer observation, the patent designs appear to be of an SUV based on the Chevrolet Captiva, which is an excellent product for the emerging economies. Though the Indian market is more driven by small cars, tGM working on Chevrolet compact SUVhe compact SUV segment is booming with biggies like Ford Ecosport and Renault Duster in the line. The 2012 Auto Expo in Delhi witnessed immense response to the SUV class, and it is right time for GM to bring on the mini Captiva.

We speculate the GM compact SUV to share its platform with the Opel Mokka. In addition, we request GM to bring an all-wheel-drive variant as well. Resources also claim that GM could share technology with its French alliance, Renault, in building the compact SUV. The big question here is, how will GM position the new compact SUV. In India, it may battle against the Renault Duster, Ford Ecosport and Maruti XA Alpha in the compact SUV segment.

New Chevrolet Captiva in India – Review

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. Check on Road Price

Exteriors:

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.

Chevrolet Captiva in India

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.

Interiors:

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.

Chevrolet Captiva interior Chevrolet Captiva interior

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.

Chevrolet Captiva interior

The Engine:

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.

Chevrolet Captiva engine

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.

Chevrolet Captiva in India

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.

Features:

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.

Chevrolet Captiva in India

Final Word:

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.

Chevrolet Captiva recalled for overheating of its steering fluid

Recent buyers of the Chevrolet Captiva have all the reasons to feel worried. A mechanical error that both the 2011 as well as the 2012 editions of the Chevrolet Captiva has developed has the potential to escalate to causing major safety threats for the vehicle. The incident has really become a major headache for General Motors as it has been gearing up for huge plans with this vehicle in the upcoming Delhi Auto Expo in January 2012. Apparently, the fluid that the steering wheel carries inside it is believed to be the source of this problem. The problem, which is restricted to manual transmission versions of the vehicle, is causing the fluid inside the steering to overheat, particularly when the vehicle is on its first gear. This could heat up to such proportions that the threat of the car catching fire cannot be ruled out.

Chevrolet Captiva recalled for overheating of its steering fluidAs mentioned, the problem has been found to exist in both its 2011 as well as 2012 variants of the Chevrolet Captiva. The auto giant has, in fact, already identified 15,627 car units that have the mentioned flaw. This could prove to be a major blow to General Motors, India in general and the Chevrolet Captiva, with respect to the Indian auto market. This is because the Captiva has been one of the best selling vehicles offered by GM India and has achieved excellent sales all across the country. However, it seems that GM India seems to have been favored by luck at least in one aspect. The detection of the fault has come at a stage when its latest edition Chevrolet Captiva has not yet been launched for sales in the Indian market. It also comes at a stage when the company is still weighing options regarding assembling this SUV locally, as part of its future plans.

Chevrolet Captiva recalled for overheating of its steering fluidIf this fault had been detected at a later date, it would have been too easy for the parent company to place the total blame of this huge blunder squarely on GM India. But, it does not seem very likely that this small mechanical error will create such a massive impact that the tremendous reputation, which the GM brand has built over so many years, is going to be spoilt. This problem can be viewed as a small obstacle that the car manufacturer is going to endure in the, otherwise, tremendous successful path that is in front of it in 2012. As has been reported in Indian Drives earlier, General Motors is on the verge of bringing out 5 latest cars designed for its Indian customers in 2012. With the view of addressing another major issue, GM could work out an agreement with BMW to come out with engines that are environmentally friendly as well high in fuel efficiency. For the same, it is being said that the two companies are jointly developing a new technology based on hydrogen cells.

Chevrolet Captiva in India test drive

')">When Chevrolet introduced the Chevrolet Captiva in India in 2008, it was hailed as the one car which would challenge the might of the all mighty CR-V. It did but for a short time with buyers flocking once again to Honda’s show rooms. Now to add more pizzazz to the value for money proposition that the Captiva brings to the equation, General Motors very soon brought in a Chevrolet Captiva automatic variant to the Indian shores. While at the recently concluded Geneva Motor Show, GM had showcased a new look Orlando, many didn’t realize that this would be the Captiva that would be coming into the Indian market in 2011. No, this time around, we haven’t managed a scoop or something and it is the old 2010 model that we have here for the test drive. It actually surprised us that we hadn’t covered the Captiva on our blog except for one comparison test. Check on Road Price

The 2010 Chevrolet Captiva in India is a winner as far as its looks are concerned. The Chevrolet bowtie sits proudly atop the two tiered grille. The head lamps are huge rectangular slabs while the fog lamps sit very close to the head lamps signaling its soft roader roots however belying its looks, the Captiva performs better off road than on the road. We will get onto that just a little bit later. The 16 inch alloy wheels have the usual design norm attached to them. The outside rear view mirrors however boast of having the turn indicators embedded in them. The door handles however aren’t body colored and are instead chrome ones. The rear end in the meanwhile is a plain unit unlike the front end. What livens up things is the twin tail pipes, which though, could have been done a bit more tastefully. The tail lamps are more or less shared with the rest of the Chevy brigade in India.

Coming to the interiors. They wouldn’t make one go wow the moment you step inside however one thing is for sure. These interiors are hard wearing but at the same time soft to touch. The steering wheel is a 4 piece unit which houses the necessary infotainment controls. For the Xtreme variant, there is the red on black leather seats with sporty red stitchings. There are chrome door handles all around and though the Captiva is a genuine 7 seater, the front and middle row seats make lot of sense rather than the last row. As is to be expected from 7 seater SUVs in India. There are many bottle holders around the cabin as also stowage spaces. The meter dials are also more of functionality rather than outright flash. The gear lever is almost mounted on the dashboard. There is climate control plus an excellent 6 CD changer system. The middle row floor is extremely flat and this liberates lots of space for the middle row passengers. Lots of equipment is on offer including electrically folding heated outside rear view mirrors, electrically adjustable 8 way powered driver seat, chilled glove box, tailgate glass which is remote operated and can be flipped up, flex- seating and also the auto level riding suspension. One of the GM salesman told us that they have removed the chilled glove box option now. When enquired as to why, he said that features are subject to be changed based on GM’s decision. Darn it!. The convenience factor however isn’t lost in this SUV as even with all the seats in place, it can still accommodate about 413 liters of luggage and moreover with the flexi seating arrangement, it is possible to liberate more than 1,100 liters of luggage space.

The Chevrolet Captiva in India gets a benign and sort of mushy handling. It can go fast around a corner but that turn would be accompanied by lots of body roll and also a steering wheel which is in its own world. The steering wheel though light wouldn’t actually let you know what the front wheels are upto however an enthusiastic driver would still be able to wring out some fun out of this SUV. This SUV has been setup to provide for a good ride quality. So overall, the Captiva has a pliant ride quality while its handling has been already discussed before. However this cannot be called exactly a soft roader due to the lack of ratio. Instead Chevy have done well enough in providing the automatic variant of this SUV with a fuzzy logic gearbox and Hill Descent Control system with all wheel drive. This all wheel drive works on the basis that when the vehicle senses that the rear wheels are losing out on traction, then it sends more power to them. It is an intelligent unit and hence the Captiva can do some good off-roading as well. NVH is on the lower side and the Captiva engineers have done well in masking the diesel clatter from coming inside the cabin.

The Chevrolet Captiva in India comes with a 2.0 liter VCDI motor pumping out 150 Bhp of power and 320 Nm of torque. It is mated with either a 5 speed manual gearbox or a 5 speed automatic. The automatic one which we tested had the much applauded fuzzy logic gradient added to its gearbox. While the upshifts were noticeably smooth, the downshifts require some mental calculations to be in place. Moreover this particular gearbox doesn’t shift to a higher gear once its near its redline. Instead it holds on to the particular gear thus allowing for more flexibility. It is said that the automatic dilutes the potency of this motor somewhat however the time that we spent with this SUV, we never felt it that way. Brakes are fantastic and also the tuning for the ABS, EBD and ESP to come into picture. 6 air bags, side intrusion beams, 3 point seat belts and a collapsible steering column take care of the safety aspect. Fuel efficiency however has taken a dent with the Captiva automatic said to return an overall figure of 11.2 kmpl.

There are very diesel SUVs available in India within the Rs 20-25 lakhs mark and those include the likes of the Chevrolet Captiva and the Ford Endeavor. While the latter has limited off-road capability in auto mode, the Captiva has some more to keep it going. It is one of the best options as far as automatic diesels go in India. The Chevrolet Captiva price in India starts from Rs 17,994, 95 and goes all the way to Rs 22,81191. There are three variants of this SUV and those are the Chevrolet Captiva LT VCDi, Chevrolet Captiva LTZ VCDi and the Chevrolet Captiva XTREME. Extremely captivating.

Chevrolet Captiva vs Nissan X-Trail vs Hyundai Santa Fe


')">

The Indian soft roader scene has become very tough now. Earlier it was the sole dominion of the Honda CR-V with the occasional fight from the Hyundai Tucson. Later on, the Chevrolet Captiva joined the party and due to its diesel power plant and cheaper price tag, it won over the Indian hearts. Nissan India Limited started their operations in India with their world famous soft roader, the Nissan X-Trail. Due to its highish price, it only found takers in the hotel luxury segment. Now enters the fourth and the most recent player of this segment, the Hyundai Santa Fe. It seems that this SUV was long in the coming and we have been hearing about its impending arrival from the year 2006. However Hyundai Motors India Limited chose to launch this car recently. Now, checking out by the target set by Hyundai Motors India Limited for this car in India, they have already exhausted it. Now, the bookings for this SUV have been temporarily stopped and the company is importing more cars into India. With the launch of this new player, things have evidently heated up and it was obvious that we get them all for a showdown and decide the newest king of the soft roader segment. Since the CR-V is one of the those cars which the Indian public nowadays shuns due to its high price, we didn’t include it in this comparo, however, it is still the benchmark to beat. Also the Mitsubishi Outlander wasn’t available as for a test and hence it had to be ignored as well.

Looks

Chevrolet Captiva- This is one of the best looking soft roaders in this country apart from the Honda CR-V. It muscled stance with those soft looks lend it some sort of character. The pictures don’t do justice to this car and it would seem small however in reality this soft roader is big. Infact it is as big as the Hyundai Santa Fe. The head lamps are quadrilaterals and the Chevy bowtie sits atop the partition in the grille. The fog lamps sit just above the meshed air dam. It has a plastic skid plate to protect the bumper from scratches and rocks. The side profile reveals big outside rear view mirrors with blinkers on them. The 17 inch tyres for the Chevrolet Captiva in India also have some sort of substance in them and this lends them a character. The wheel arches also have a plastic cladding over them. The rear shows a coupe like stance with angular tail lamps. The rear bumper also sports the skid plates under which are located the twin tail pipes.

Nissan X-Trail- This is one boxy looking SUV. It has the typical Nissan grille with brick like head lamps. The air dam is almost absent. The fog lamps are placed at both the sides of the wheels as opposed to in the lower bumper. The 17 inch tyres are also elegant. The wing mirrors are also big but are amongst the smallest in this comparo. The roof rails are also subtle and barely protrude from the roofs. The rear end is particularly boxy and has vertically stacked tail lamps. A black plastic covers up the bumper and a single tail pipe protrudes from underneath.

Hyundai Santa Fe-
The newest kid on the block is actually not so new world across. It is actually the seventh generation one. It has Hyundai’s fluidic concept design elements with a horizontal AC slat grille with oblong head lamps and an air dam which has a big aggressive opening. The fog lamps are housed in their own slats and look very nice. The turn indicators are also located in the outside rear view mirrors. The rear in comparison to the front looks a bit heavy. It has those elongated tail lamps with clear lens. Covering the lower bumper is the black plastic cladding and this houses one or rather two of the largest tail pipes in this segment.

This is a tough one however, overall the Chevrolet Captiva in India wins this due to its easy on eyes look.

Interiors

Chevrolet Captiva- The Chevrolet Captiva features a higher stance than the others in this class and hence climbing up should be a bit of a hassle. However once inside the cabin, you would be greeted with a smart dash board. Brushed aluminium strips contribute to the nicely made up central console. The instrument panel looks simple and is supported by a big steering wheel with the Chevy bowtie resting on it. There is a navigation system, of which, the fonts are illegible in the bright sunlight. Unfortunately the quality of materials used seems inferior to the competition. There are some bad plastic bits abounding in the cabin. The gear lever is also half made of leather and the other half of metal. Powered goodies abound however only the driver gets powered seat. The aircon is one of the talking points in the Chevy and it has a microprocessor which filters particulate matter in recirculate mode. The front seats are comfortable however the rear ones seem a bit lacking in under thigh support. The access to the third row seats is quite easy however these are best left for kids. The boot space is also limited with all the seats up however the gas mounted strut tug lever helps in folding the second row of seats flat.

Nissan X-Trail- This is one of the interiors which is subtle at its best. The first thing that you notice is that this car has hard wearing but soft to touch materials. Its 3 spoke steering wheel is devoid of audio controls. The instrument binnacle is one of the best in this segment for the Nissan X-Trail in India. The driver as well as passengers get heated seats. In a country like India, these are redundant however those living in the cooler climes would welcome this feature. The standard audio system has good sound quality and features aux and USB ports. One of the thoughtful touches in this cabin is that it has a chilled bottle holder. Room in the cabin is also abundant in all the rows. Sorely missing though is the lack of third row of seats. The boot space as a result is huge. It even has a washable plastic floor. The second row of seats also get their own AC controls.

Hyundai Santa Fe- The biggest vehicle on the outside also is bigger from the inside. The front seats are way too comfy and would accommodate the biggest of the frames. The steering wheel is a 4 spoke affair and has cruise control, Bluetooth pairing and also the standard audio controls. The quality of materials used is also un Hyundai like and is of very high quality. This however is no patch for the Nissan X-trail’s cabin. What the Hyundai Santa Fe has in oodles is space and equipment. There is also a roof mounted entertainment system, 6 CD and 8 speaker audio system. However the layout of buttons makes the cabin seem a bit cluttered. The second as well as the third row of seats get their own AC controls. Access to the third row is a bit tricky though and the system is complicated than the simplistic one on the Chevy.

The Hyundai Santa Fe is a heavily loaded vehicle with lots of equipment on offer and space in plenty.

Handling and ride quality

Chevrolet Captiva- Been on a car platform, this means that all these soft roaders are easy going in the city. Starting with the steering wheel, it is light for city use however like all the Chevys in India, the Chevrolet Captiva’s unit doesn’t weight up nicely once the speeds rise. This makes it a bit vague. Been on a raised platform means that the car rolls a fair bit. On the sharp bumps, this translates to an unsettled ride quality. Once the speeds build up, the self leveling suspension works its magic. Overall, this can be called as an average performer in this lot and is nowhere near the segment bench mark, the Honda CR-V. Cornering at sedate speeds is acceptable on this car.

Nissan X-Trail-
This is the most car like to drive in this lot. Its well weighted steering wheel is a delight to use and to even hold in the hand. It makes driving an occasion. The levels of the grip in this car is also quite high than its competition. It has less dive on the roll however the softer suspension does make its presence felt time and again by bobbing up and down. The ride is sort of perfect with its good ride quality at low speeds and sort of nervous ride at high speeds. Cornering is better achieved in the Nissan X-Trail in India since it controls its body roll quite well.

Hyundai Santa Fe- The tallest of all these cars does have a stiffness in its suspension. It is also of the self leveling types. However it is rock solid on the highway and doesn’t get buffeted around due to its sheer weight. Absorbing all of the road imperfections are the tall springs. It also corners well however not in the same ball park as the Nissan X-Trail.

It does show a top heavy feeling however that is to be dismissed considering that people aren’t going to take this to a race track. The steering wheel is typically Hyundai with some of the sensitivity lost at high speeds. This saying, it is better than the Chevrolet’s unit.

This round goes to the Nissan X-trail with the Hyundai Santa Fe following closely.

Engine,Performance and fuel efficiency

Chevrolet Captiva- The 4 cylinder 1995 cc turbo charged common rail direction injection diesel motor makes 148 Bhp and 316 Nm of torque. The manual transmission car is offered only with 2 wheel drive mode and hence this means that this car is quick off the block. It has one of the smallest motor and output in this segment. It races from 0-100 kmph in 11.72 seconds. It has a top speed of 176 kmph. The gear box is sort of notchy like the other Chevrolet units but nevertheless slots into gate well. The turbo in this unit is peaky and this means that there is sort of turbo lag at low speeds however get past 2000 rpm and the motor performs with gusto. The motor is also very smooth in its operation.

Hauling this car to a stop are disc brakes both at the front and rear coupled with ABS and ESP. Safety is also taken care by the Chevrolet Captiva featuring collapsible steering wheel, twin air bags and 3 point seat belts. Fuel efficiency due to the shorter gearing is good in the city at 9.5 kmpl and 11.5 kmpl on the highway.

Nissan X-Trail- This car features a 4 cylinder 1995 cc turbo charged, common rail direction injection diesel motor putting out 150 Bhp of power and 327 Nm of torque. It features on demand 4 wheel drive and a 6 speed auto gear box. Both the engine as well as the gear box are a perfect complement to each other. The engine revs sweetly all the way to its 5,200 rpm. This despite it been a diesel. There is little turbo lag however that is dispatched quickly. The clutch action is also quite light and ideal for city driving. The car sprints from 0-100 kmph in only 10.88 seconds and goes on to register a top speed of 201 kmph. This car gets a choice of manual tranny as well. Braking is handled by all wheel disc brakes aided by ESP, traction control and ABS. Safety is taken care by collapsible steering wheel, 6 air bags and also 3 point seat belts.

Hyundai Santa Fe- The Hyundai Santa Fe in India is blessed with a 4 cylinder in line 2199 cc turbo charged engine, common rail direction injection diesel which makes 195 Bhp of peak power and 429 Nm of torque. This is by far the biggest capacity motor in this comparo. It has company in a 6 speed transmission which is slick however not as good as the Nissan X-trail’s unit. This is a dynamo of a motor which powers the 1868 Kg vehicle from 0-100 kmph in 9.61 seconds and reaches a top speed of 190 kmph. The motor is highly refined and doesn’t make one realize the stratospheric speeds that the vehicle is capable of. The only dampener in the package is the heavy clutch which requires a firm shove. Braking is also good however the pedal action needs to be re-calibrated since it requires a push. There is no automatic option as of now however Hyundai Motors Limited India says that they would introduce it very soon. Assisting the powerful disc brakes are ABS, ESP and EBD. The Hyundai Santa Fe in India is also one of the safest SUVs around. It features a roll over sensor, 6 air bags, seat belts with pre-tensioners and a collapsible steering column.

This round squarely goes to the Hyundai Santa Fe.

Verdict

The Indian buyers are spoilt for choices with the number of new or refreshed soft roaders coming their way. Out of the three evaluated here, they have a wide price range difference with the cheapest of the lot been the Chevrolet Captiva followed by the Hyundai Santa Fe and then the Nissan X-Trail. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the latter is the best in this lot. Infact, it sits squarely in the middle. Starting with the Chevrolet Captiva, it is a well rounded package and has the looks to go with all the show. If you are in the market to buy a Captiva now, you would get a discount since the 2011 model is just some days away. Its price for the Indian market for the two wheel drive version is Rs.17.96 lakhs for the two wheel drive manual version whereas for the 4 wheel drive version, it is Rs.21,46 lakhs. The Nissan X-Trail may not seem a logical choice considering the company’s miniscule operations in India however it cannot be ignored since it has many of the good things that one would want in their soft roader. It is very quiet in its operation, has good fuel efficiency and the best of ride, handling package. However its high price of Rs.26 lakhs for the top end 6 speed auto is a dampener. The Hyundai Santa Fe on the other hand is a butch soft roader which can easily pass off for a hardcore SUV. It has got immense road presence, good space, high equipment list and a bomb of an engine. Adding to its immense list of potentials is the fact that it is also one of the safest SUVs around. Its sticker price of around Rs.23 lakhs also make it a sensible buy and hence our choice of soft roader in this segment.