Chevrolet’s New SUV
Posted at March 18th, 2007 under Automobile, Luxury SUVs | Print This Post
With Aveo sedan, Aveo U-VA, Optra, SRV and Tavera General Motors is one of the few players in India that offer cars in all segment. With Spark, Epica sedan and Captiva SUV in its pipe line it will become a complete player in India. Let’s have a preview on one such product the Captiva SUV. The premium compact SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) segment is already dominated by cars like Honda CR-V, Ford Endeavour, Hyundai Tucson, Nissan X-Trail and Mitsubishi Pajero. Manufacturers are showing keen interest to grab this niche market Honda has replaced the second generation CR-V with the new one last year and soon Ford will launch the Endeavour CRDi.
GM introduced a crossover (fusion of two segment of cars) named Chevrolet Forrester, the first Chevrolet model introduced in India when we unheard of the concept and discontinued it in 2006. Forrester failure is because of its High pricing. GM has now understood the Indian market and well the world’s first SUV maker has gained new image in past four years. GM will come up with ‘true value for money’ car Captiva SUV in September. The ex-Daewoo organisation, now known as GM-DAT (Daewoo Automobile Technologies) is where Captiva is developed. There are two variants of Captiva LS and LT. LS variant is petrol powered, front-wheel drive with five seats, LT is diesel powered front- wheel drive or 4WD with five or seven-seats.
Engine and Powertrain:
Captiva is available both in diesel and petrol versions internationally. For India diesel is expected to be launched first which will be followed by petrol. Captiva diesel will take on pajero, X-trail, tucson and endeavour, while the captiva petrol will take on the only petrol premium compact SUV Honda CR-V. The diesel is a brand new, state-of-the-art common rail diesel engine jointly developed by GM Powertrain and VM Motori. Chevrolets first ever diesel compact SUV is powered by 2.0L, 16-valve unit which offers 150bhp at 4,000 rpm and maximum torque of 310Nm at 2000rpm. This same dieselengine is expected to power the soon to be launched Chevrolet Optra. Chances are that Chevrolet will throw in an automatic transmission as an option as well with five speed manual for Captiva. The petrol engine is a 2.4 litre in-line 16-valve four-cylinder, delivering 142bhp at 5,200rpm and a torque maximum of 220Nm at 4,000rpm. As the Captiva destined to developing markets, both the variable geometry turbo (VGT) diesel and refined petrol engine is expected to deliver decent fuel efficiency figure.
Design and Engineering:
Ford endeavour looks like truck whereas you cannot tell Honda CR-V actually a SUV.
In Europe actually Chevrolet targets MPV- Multi Purpose vehicles rather than SUVs. But with a huge price tag in India it cannot do so. Popular MPVs such as Mahindra Scorpio, Chevrolet Tavera, Tata Safari and Toyota Innova are sold at a price of 10lakhs. The Captiva’s look is strong yet sophisticated, an eye-catching interplay between toughness and style. The lean side profile is dominated by the 17”large wheels and bold wheel-arches, while the lower grille is underlined by a rugged skid plate. A grey sill-finish runs around the vehicle, reducing its apparent height and is interrupted by contrasting `under-tray’ features on front and rear bumpers. Design sophistication also features in the cylindrical prism type headlamps, LED type turn signal lamps, turn signal repeaters in the door mirrors and the snazzy flush fitting, pullout-type door handles. Twin exhaust pipe on both LS and LT models adds a sporty touch to the Captiva.
Click here to view Chevrolet Captiva 360′
Inside the Captiva…
The Captiva offers a commanding driving position very important for this kind of cars.
The ergonomically designed, matte black and brushed aluminum look dashboard makes driving the Captiva a joy. The driver trip computer which provides valuable feedback like average fuel and speed, range, compass and external temperature and electrically adjustable rear view mirror will make the Captiva easy to drive. The Captiva looks about the size of a Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara but offers an excellent storage space is, including a deep, wide glovebox, a two-tier front centre armrest, big door pockets, underfloor side compartments in the boot and a horizontal locker above the right rear wheel housing. There’s a sunglasses holder, too, plus cupholders and 12-volt power points. All models have alloy wheels, four electric windows but no auto-up facility because the required anti-trap mechanism is too expensive – the facility is to protect your fingers (nice facility but not found in Indian cars). A CD player and air con, plus the inevitable reminders for seatbelts and key in ignition. Storage for five-passenger car is 465 litres, rising to 930 litres when you lower the second row. However, if you use all seven seats, room for luggage is restricted to 85 litres. Whatever layout you choose, there is the benefit of opening rear glass, so you needn’t raise the entire tailgate to gain access to the boot.
Handling and Safety:
Like the CR-V, the Captiva is based on a car-like monocoque platform and comes with self leveling independent suspension, both at the front and rear wheels. With power steering aided by adjustable steering column (also telescopic on the diesel version), disc brakes on all wheels Chevrolet tag for this SUV is ‘Just like a car’. The main problem common among SUV’s is the traction control i.e. they fail at corners, however the suspension set-up of Captiva is said to give the vehicle a decent body control. Chevrolet claim the all-wheel drive model offers a safer and more secure drive in poor road conditions and it’s hard to argue with that contention, especially on our wet roads. The Captivas 4×4 set-up is an on-demand system, meaning that as driving conditions require, the rear axle is instantly selected via an electromagnetic coupling to give maximum traction through all four wheels. The set-up also seamlessly interacts with the ESP and ABS systems, enhancing driver control of the vehicle and safety margins. The ESP itself has additional functions like HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assist), HDC (Hill Descent Control) and ARP (Active Rollover Protection). With these features I hope you can safely drive in muddy roads of your favourite touring place with Captiva.
Summing it up…
Captiva is expected to be priced between 16 – 19 lakhs and will be launched by the end of 2007. If you think, Captiva is not affordable just rent a car for your outing.
Earlier General Motors slammed brakes on plans to roll-out two of its boutique brands–the hulking Hummer and the Cadillac–in India for the sake of this Chevrolet Captiva. With these specifications and the backing of the Chevy badge, the decision seems to be right. Captiva is bit stronger than the Honda CR-V and Hyundai Tucson, but whether the Indian customer will forgo his magical loyalty to that Japanese brand or his faith in Hyundai is to be watched.