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CHEVY CHARM

...SUV, the Captiva has since been updated with a new front section and a more efficient engine. The exterior makeover is reserved mainly for the face, or rather mouth, where a bigger and more aggressive front grille dominates the gold bow...
The Business Times - May 14, 2011
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CHEVY CHARM

THE Chevrolet Captiva has always been an enticing alternative to the sedate MPV multi-purpose vehicle for its seven seats and macho looks. A handsome SUV, the Captiva has since been updated with a new front section and a more efficient engine.

The exterior makeover is reserved mainly for the face, or rather mouth, where a bigger and more aggressive front grille dominates the gold bow tie. The headlamps and fender air vents are also new and the wing mirrors now house LED turn signals. But beneath the resculpted bonnet is where the most interesting change is to be found.

There is a new 2,384cc four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The pre-facelift Captiva had a slightly larger 2,405cc engine but with less power and only a five-speed auto.

The new 167hp unit - from 136hp previously - drives either the front axle or all four wheels. Apart from a $5,000 difference, the front-wheel-drive (FWD) and all-wheel-drive (AWD) variants also result in different acceleration times and top speeds because of the latter's extra weight.

The new engine only has slightly higher torque - 230Nm from 220Nm previously. Still the Captiva's acceleration has improved almost two seconds from before. The new six-speed automatic transmission, which also allows for manual gear changes, shifts smoothly enough with improved fuel economy. In fact, the Captiva 2.4 FWD requires 9.2 litres per 100km, or a respectable 10.9 km/l under the combined cycle.

The nice thing about the Captiva is that it is an uncomplicated drive despite the car's size. Sitting high in the spacious cabin, the ride is comfortable and the ambience pleasant.

As expected, the first two rows of seats have plenty of room but the last row is surprisingly good too - even for a normal adult. With all seven seats in use though, there is precious little boot space.

For 2011, Chevrolet has added a slew of new features to the Captiva. They include an Eco mode, ESP electronic stability program, TCL traction control, Hill Start Assist, and Hill Descent. The last feature is activated by a button on the centre console and restricts the Captiva's downward progress to under 10 kmh by automatically working the brakes - perfect for either a steep multi-storey carpark or Genting Highlands.

The interior is also refreshed with a wraparound dashboard that is more ergonomic. The centre aircon vents have been repositioned to accommodate the climate control display and the audio gets a new fascia.

The meters in the instrument binnacle are updated too, while an electric parking brake frees up space for a double cupholder that slides away for a deep storage compartment. Six airbags, Bluetooth connectivity, and new and sportier faux metal trim round off the changes.

And while there may be a fair amount of plastic, there are no sharp edges or rough finishes - something even some Continental models are unable to avoid. This Chevy has commendable charm. samuelee@sph.com.sg

 


SPECS

Chevrolet Captiva 2.4

Engine 2,384cc inline-4

Transmission 6-speed automatic

Max power 167 hp @ 5,600 rpm

Max torque 230 Nm @ 4,600 rpm

0-100 kmh 10.8 secs (FWD), 11 secs (AWD)

Top speed 181 kmh (FWD), 175 kmh (AWD)

Price $123,999 (FWD), $128,999 (AWD) both with COE

Distributor Alpine Motors

6511-3033

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