Chevrolet Captiva proves a good soft-roader

Launched in 2007, Chevrolet’s answer to the SUV market – the Captiva – is far from disappointing. Pretty, tough and responsive, it’s a good option for those looking for a low-price, high-spec 4wd family car.

It’s fitted with Chevy’s new, and first ever, 2.0 litre common-rail diesel with on-demand all-wheel-drive as standard and there’s a choice of five speed manual or auto box. Power is a pretty impressive 150hp and torque 320Nm.

The common-rail unit gives the Captiva good low-end responsiveness and acceleration and the combined mpg figure of 32.8 for the auto diesel version we tested isn’t bad.

Overall, this is an easy-to-drive SUV that handles like a smaller vehicle than it actually is. Steering is a little light, but handling round corners was good for a vehicle of its class.

Off-road, its road-biased torque-on-demand 4wd system, which lacks lockable diffs, sends 50% power to rear wheels when slippage is detected. This is a high-riding estate car with reasonably low ground clearance and not one to go tearing across fields in – as the damaged sump guard (ouch) on our test vehicle bore witness.

Inside, it’s well-built and spacious and our top-spec LTX 7-seater model had all the bells and whistles.

Space was ample for the five standard seats, and while the two rearmost folding seats were comfortable, leg space was really only adequate for children. And when they’re in place load space is predictably limited. Prices range from £16,995 to £25,395.