Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Review: 2015 Chevrolet Captiva LS Diesel

Photos by Ulysses Ang
Despite its name, it seemed like the Chevrolet Captiva was merely content as the wallflower of the compact crossover segment. While everyone else boasted head-turning good looks or formidable performance (or both), the Captiva had an available diesel variant and seven seats. Sure, it was enough for a select few to part money for one, but the vast majority of Filipinos passed on it. Well, Chevrolet has finally understood that having a diesel and seven seats maybe good for few, but an updated styling and some spec tweaks are much more important. Enter the 2015 Captiva, a compact crossover that’s now slicker than your average.

Without mincing words, the Captiva’s already quite old. The basic shape debuted in 2006 putting it at the same age as the Toyota Fortuner. As such, it doesn’t have the same aerodynamic and angular treatment as the Cruze, Sonic, or Trailblazer (believe it or not, the co-efficient of drag is 0.38). This here is a survivor of Chevrolet’s bygone era that includes unmemorable cars like the Optra. Of course, that didn’t stop The General’s designers from modernizing the front and rear clips.



It now rocks a larger dual port grille maw that’s menacing. More than once, it was complimented for looking rather handsome. And at least, you won’t have difficulty finding it in the mall parking. The rear gets LED tail lights and squared-off tail pipes. The biggest change though, and often unmentioned, is the tailgate. It sadly loses the separate glass opening in favor of a one-piece design. If the re-grafted front and rear ends sound off-putting, you’ll be surprised that it works very well. It comes out harmoniously. Still, the Captiva’s rather tall with an overall height at 1,756 millimeters, which can cause it not to fit in some underground parking facilities.

Inside, the Captiva receives even more “car-scaping” work with a subtly redesigned dashboard. At first glance it doesn’t look that different from before, but a side-by-side comparison makes the differences quite obvious. First, the entire center console’s new with trapezoidal A/C vents (as opposed to the old square ones) and re-positioned buttons for easier operation. It also houses a new infotainment system with iPod, video, GPS, and Bluetooth capabilities. Second, the shifter’s new with a more intuitive slap-to-the-left operation of the manual shift override. Third, it now has an electric parking brake that allows the Captiva to give birth to two additional cup holders aside from two large center bins. Fourth, and the most welcome change, is the new gauges. The cheap fluorescent green lighting is gone and in its place are straight-forward LED backlit ones. It doesn’t have Chevrolet’s typical dual-binnacle design, but at least this one’s very easy to understand and don’t threaten to blind you at night. And finally, the steering wheel now houses remapped controls that include the ability to change the A/C’s fan speed at just a thumb’s reach. Now, if only the Chevrolet logo on the tiller were properly matched to the new, modern logo, the transition would have been more seamless.



The Captiva’s overall execution is more of solidity than outright style. But at least everything is logically-placed and ergonomically sound. It gets points for a comfortable driving position and good, supportive seats as well as for its easy vehicle operation. However, you simply don’t get any tactile pleasure from operating the Captiva. Everything feels solid yes, but there’s nothing special about the interior experience. There are no leather bits whatsoever. But what it lacks in style, it does more than make up for it with tons of space.

There’s massive room for the first two rows, especially in the headroom department, thanks to the arching roofline. Surprisingly, the second row’s mighty fine as well with long seat cushions for good hip support and adjustable headrests and seatbacks. The third row, now standard across the range, is habitable but best reserved for emergency applications. Compared to the Nissan X-Trail, there’s slightly more knee room at the back plus easier ingress/egress thanks to a second row that tumbles in a 60/40 split. Plus, even with the third row up, a couple of duffel bags can still fit in the remaining space.



It’s actually quite nice of Chevrolet to provide the Captiva with a choice of gasoline and diesel engines; however, in this day and age, the 2.0-liter VCDi is the only way to go. Largely, the refinement is on the same level as the 2.4-liter gasoline except perhaps for the telltale diesel rattle at idle and the corresponding whoosh during acceleration. For 2015, the power gets bumped up to 163 horsepower and 400 Nm, driving solely the front wheels. It has what it takes to be a modern day oil burner, and for the most part it does feel like one, except for some harshness at lower RPMs. As the tach goes up though, the refinement level does too. However, don’t expect a ‘shoved in your seat’ experience each time you mash the throttle. Weighing in at a portly 1,810 kilograms, the Captiva’s the heaviest compact crossover—for instance, others with similar torque figures like the Ford Escape 2.0 weighs at 1,710 kilograms and the Subaru Forester XT at 1,620 kilograms. And both of these competitors have the advantage of all-wheel drive.

Paired with this diesel is a lovely six-speed automatic that offers effortless and transparent shifts. There’s no need to activate the manual shift override, which is hopelessly useless, by the way. It up- and downshifts quickly and naturally allowing it to fully exploit the VCDi’s power and torque. Plus, there’s an Eco mode that boosts efficiency further by altering the shift patterns. It allows the Captiva to shift sooner and downshift later. It also applies the torque converter sooner and stays on later allowing the engine to aggressively shut off during deceleration. Despite keeping Eco on all the time, the Captiva barely squeezes out 8.69 kilometers for every liter of fuel in the city—figures very similar to the larger and heavier and more powerful Trailblazer.



While it’s not a real fuel miser, at least it handles tidily. Along with the new engine, the 2015 Captiva receives a re-tweaked suspension. Chevy calls it a soft ride suspension, but it feels firmer than the pre-facelifted version. It sharpens the road manners, but the flip side is the ride isn’t as relaxed as it should be for this class. Bumps get easily transmitted into the cabin which isn’t helped by the less than solid feeling body structure. It doesn’t flop or flip through corners, but the overall experience is still very pedestrian. The steering isn’t as quick and feels rather numb, mainly because it still relies on a non-variable ratio hydraulic assist steering, but at least there’s still good grip. Unlike more modern offerings, it doesn’t have stability control to speak of and this causes the front tires to chirp at full throttle. But at least the torque steer is largely controlled.

Despite some minor misfires, you can’t deny the Captiva’s more logical and better aligned price positioning. Rather than having four variants like it did before, Chevrolet Philippines has rationalized this down to two with the LS diesel serving as the range-topper at P 1,398,888. This puts it at the same price as the base Trailblazer A/T down to the last peso. And that gives would-be buyers an interesting choice. Undoubtedly, most will flock to the Trailblazer given it’s a much larger SUV with a roomier interior and a more rugged ladder-on-frame construction. However, there are still those who don’t have the space in their garage for a large SUV and perhaps wouldn’t want to sacrifice handling and ride dynamics for a third row of seats. For those, the 2015 Captiva makes a good choice. It almost drowned in obscurity before, but the latest refresh puts it back in the game. It’s a different choice that shouldn’t be glossed over.



2015 Chevrolet Captiva LS Diesel
Ownership 2015 Chevrolet Captiva FWD LS Diesel
Year Introduced 2006 (Refreshed: 2015)
Vehicle Classification Compact Crossover
The Basics
Body Type 5-door Crossover
Seating 7
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.0
Aspiration Common Rail Direct Injection, Diesel
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 163 @ 3,800
Nm @ rpm 400 @ 2,000
Fuel / Min. Octane Diesel
Transmission 6AT
Cruise Control No
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,673
Width (mm) 1,849
Height (mm) 1,756
Wheelbase (mm) 2,707
Curb Weight (kg) 1,810
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-Link
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Tires Maxiis MA-707 235/60R17 H (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 2
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes
Traction / Stability Control No
Parking Sensors Rear, w/ Camera
Exterior Features
Headlights Halogen
Fog Lamps Yes, Front and Rear
Auto Lights Yes
Auto Wipers No
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjustment Tilt
Steering Wheel Material Urethane
Seating Adjustment Manual
Seating Surface Fabric
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40 (second row), 50/50 (third row)
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes
Climate Control Yes, Dual Zone
Audio System Stereo
CD
MP3
USB
Bluetooth
GPS
No. of Speakers 6
Steering Wheel Controls Yes

39 comments:

  1. Great captiva problematic. It suffers from car computer problems. No fix for this

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  2. The SUV that have so many issues with electronics..., sayang lang money mo...,sakit pa sa ulo ng maintenance..., Chevy cannot even fix the recurring ABS warning light problem of our car! Such a crap piece of "........"

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  3. Its called CRAPTIVA for a reason.

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  4. you can buy korean souced captivas in the grey market, it has better tech, AWD, leather seats and it has a 2.2 180 hp motor in it.

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  5. Could have been a nice car... but not!

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  6. Even if the Captiva has been converted into diesel still it consumes too much fuel. It's a heavy SUV compared to the rest and the only consolation to this sorry vehicle is its spacious cabin. But that's just about it.

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  7. No cruise control, manual driver seat adjustment? What is this

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    1. Cruise control for Phil Market? no use imho.

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  8. This car fails in almost every aspect especially when it comes to maintenance cost and reliability. Ang mahal ng parts!!!!!

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  9. Craptiva. Uly did his best not to say anything bad about this bad car so Chevrolet will keep sending Carguide review units in the future.

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    1. He sugarcoated it but there's no way around it. This is indeed a bad vehicle.

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  10. Really considering this. Seems very nice.

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    1. Good luck sir. You must have a lot of disposable income to risk your money on this.

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  11. Risk? Nah don't think so. People are too quick to believe anything on the internet, without actually even driving or owning one.

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    1. First hand experience based on my cousin's captiva. Parts and service are expensive as hell. Fuel consumption is not good. Ride quality is ok. Other than that, there are no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

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  12. The Captiva is the best SUV & Value for Money!!!

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  13. TCCC dont have a good network of service centers, one has to travel long distance to have their cars serviced during warranty period. If after-sales service dont matter much to you then go ahead and get one. Good luck!

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  14. LOL so many bitter people who can't afford one and talk crap about something they know nothing about

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  15. It rivals the CRV, RAV4 and others in its class...at a much cheaper price. Parts expensive? - compare it to Toyota parts, Casa to Casa. If you dont know where to buy Chevy parts in Banawe, then its your own fault...don't blame the car or brand for your ignorance.

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    1. Ignorance??? You're the one to talk. First hand experience tells me that parts and services are really expensive. Find parts in Banawe?? What if I'm not living in Luzon and casa is the only way to go? I haven't had this problem with toyota or even honda.

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    2. Yup, a Toyota-tard.

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    3. As said by the first poster, if you rely solely on the Casa for parts and labor, then stop bitching about the price.

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    4. I'll stop "bitching" when chevrolet stops charging unreasonable prices for parts and services. As I've said, if I haven't had problems with toyota's and honda's prices, why can't chevrolet do it? Considering chevrolet is not really known for durable parts either so quality here is not a reason to justify their pricing.

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    5. Could that be because, there are so many sheep out there who just buy one brand, and instantly bash another? Economies of scale. Unreasonable? As I've said, casa to casa - prices aren't that far off. And if there isn't a supplier near you, why did you buy one in the first place if you cant afford it? Tough.

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    6. Quality is subjective. Just because you say it, doesnt mean its true for the thousands of others.

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    7. I've had experience with toyota, honda, mitsubishi, nissan, ford and chevrolet. By far, chevrolet is the most expensive to maintain. Whereas PMS would cost around 2k-3k in other casa, for chevrolet it would be around almost 10k.

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    8. Nope. A Chevy Sonic for example costs around 3k for the first PMS. A Mirage G4/Vios would be slightly cheaper at around 2K. A Chevy Trailblazer around 8k for the first PMS. A Mitsubishi Montero around 6-7k.

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  16. Exterior styling is sexy, elegant and brutish at the same time. Diesel clatter under the hood sort of ruins the seduction.

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  17. If you Indeedly own a 2.4 family ii or ecotec . You'll be committing suicide early
    My friend and I stuck in traffic . His gas were completely empty and it guzzles gas so much. It was a terrible worst mpg

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  18. Anybsuggestion of a nice diesel type suv?

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  19. I own a 2009 captiva AWD still in good condition..... But its the 5 seater variant

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  20. For those who keep saying CRAPTIVA please have you test it out? Do you own one? I have a captiva... Yes I encounter a little problems... Its in a very good condition... In the fuel? I never encountered a problem (Diesel) Awd 2.0 2009 model i own

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  21. Any updates for captiva users here? Im planning to buy this soon.

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  22. Any updates for captiva users here? Im planning to buy this soon.

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