From September 2008 issue

THERE ARE cheaper 4x4s than the Chevrolet Captiva, but few SUVs at this price offer seven seats. That makes the Chevrolet a good option for large families.

Inside, there’s space to get comfortable in the front and middle rows. Seats six and seven offer enough head and legroom for adults for short hops, and children should be happy on longer trips. With all seven seats upright there’s next to no luggage room, but with the third row folded away there’s reasonable space, albeit with some intrusion from the suspension.

We towed on road and test track pulling an Abbey Expression 550 (MTPLM: 1500kg). The 2.0-litre diesel engine pulled car and caravan from 30-60mph in 14 seconds. On the motorway, the Chevrolet was happy at the legal limit.

Our lane-change test doesn’t always show 4x4s in their best light, with their high centre of gravity counting against them. The Captiva put in a middling performance, with the lots of lean and some pushing and shoving from the caravan at higher speeds.

The Chevrolet was more at home performing a hill start. So long as the handbrake was pulled on firmly it held the outfit still and the Captiva climbed the 1-in-10 slope without fuss.

Leave the caravan behind and you’ll find the Captiva drives well enough, without really excelling. The ride is comfortable but could be more controlled over bumpy surfaces and the steering is vague either side of straight ahead. 

Fuel economy of 37.1mpg is good for a seven-seat 4×4, and for a car from a budget brand resale values are predicted to be solid.

We say
Towing: 3/5
Solo: 3/5
Practicality: 3/5
Buying & owning: 3/5

Verdict: 3/5 – Competent rather than outstanding. Majors on value for money.

List price when tested: £24,145
Kerbweight: 1895kg
85% match: 1611kg
Max towing weight: 2000kg
Towball limit: 80kg
30-60mph: 14.0seconds
30-0mph: 11.3m

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