We were invited to a ‘Chevrolet Day’ at the Killarney race track in Cape Town recently. There were no ‘sunny skies’ – it was very wet and gloomy – but Chevrolet had their entire range of vehicles present for us to sample, from the meek to the wild, plus a few surprises.
Beginning with the only off-road oriented vehicle in the range, the Chevrolet Captiva negotiated some substantial ditches and cross-axle situations on the off-road track – proving it’s not just a pretty face. While a demonstration of the hill descent control function prevented our Captiva from turning into a roller coaster on a sharp descent.
We eventually swapped the laid back speeds of the dirt tracks for those associated with the main racing circuit.
First up was the Cruze 1.6 LS – you can read a full report here – but more interesting was a Cruze Diesel prototype, quietly packaged in unassuming LS trim. We only had a couple of laps in the 2,0-litre diesel, but our initial impression is one of a smooth motor with a linear power delivery. Final specifications have not yet been confirmed, but expect around 110 kW and 320 N.m of torque. The Cruze diesel is expected to debut in the coming months and we’ll bring you more news as it breaks.
The ‘new’ Chevrolet Corsa Utility was also present and we can assure you that none of the appeal has been lost in the process of swapping badges. The 1,8-litre motor responds well and with no load in the back, the ‘baby ute’ kept us on our toes in the wet.
Of course the Lumina SS V8 and Ute were on hand, but a more highly tuned and potent version stole the show. Essentially a Holden Commodore HSV, the Chevrolet Lumina CSV CR8, as it would be badged here when – uh, we mean, if – it arrives, boasts a 6,2-litre all-aluminium 90-degree V8, producing 317 kW and 550 N.m of torque. The Lumina CSV R8 features aggressive styling to match its potent performance, which is reigned in by all manner of traction aids, 19-inch 245/40 front tyres with 275/40 on the rear, as well as monstrous 365 mm front and 350 mm rear discs. Grip levels proved impressive on our instructor-led flying laps, but with mild provocation the Lumina CSV CR8 showed it can effortlessly wag its tail too. Chevrolet describe the CR8 as having M3 performance with M5 practicality – and they’re not far wrong, with a top speed of over 250 km/h and a plush leather trimmed interior, it has the potential to be a desirable boulevard bruiser. Chev have neither confirmed nor denied the possibility of the CR8 being sold in SA and as such there is no pricing information available yet.
Also on display were two Corvette Z06′s. Unfortunately the weather proved too treacherous to fire up the big guns, but the cars looked impressive nonetheless. The Corvette Z06 is produced in left-hand drive only at present, which means Chevrolet have no plans to offer them for sale in SA.