Ready for adventure in new Chevrolet Captiva

The new Chevrolet Captiva has been launched in South Africa but a typically short drive for the media wasn’t enough to answer all our questions and so the very next day we drove the 2.2-diesel from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town.

It was an enduring nine hours, but it gave us more than enough time to get acquainted with the flagship of the 2016 Captiva range.

Chevrolet Captiva (1)

The underlying premise behind the trip was an economical one; to assertain whether this 2.5-ton SUV can be as fuel efficient and cheap to run as Chevrolet claims.

I left Port Elizabeth at 10:30am on Saturday morning at an extremely leisurely pace since I had to cover 715 kilometres. Chevrolet claims that the diesel Captiva will return 7.8 L/100 km and on a full 65L fuel tank it should – theoretically – manage 833 km. Game on as I set about proving this claim and crossing my fingers that I didn’t run out of fuel between somewhere and nowhere.

Chevrolet Captiva (2)

Urban driving is the main killer of fuel. Through Port Elizabeth and the towns on the Garden Route slow speeds are the order of the day. A back-and-forth slog raised the fuel consumption and the kilometres on the trip computer decreased with every red robot..

Out on the open road the diesel Chevrolet Captiva comes into its own. Fuel consumption trickles down and the accurate on-board computer gives a to-the-point indication of what the range on the tank is. I opted not to use cruise control, simply because you have greater control over fuel consumption when you’re managing it by foot.


When plodding along on the N2 I rarely exceeded 100 km/h. Reason being, if you drive 120 km/h, your vehicle can use as much as 40% more fuel. I needed to reach Cape Town and had to save fuel wherever I could.

This SUV, with its 132kW/400Nm engine, devours the road in front. Normal and Eco driving modes are available: The majority of the trip was done in Eco-mode, simply because it makes throttle inputs less sensitive and lowers fuel consumption. It is ideal for when you want to get the maximum distance out of your diesel Captiva. For overtaking a simple step on the gas pedal is enough to propel the vehicle forwards whilst using as little fuel as possible.

Chevrolet Captiva (2)

Normal mode is much more responsive than Eco. To feel the effectiveness of each driving mode, I drove at a constant speed in Eco and then deactivated it. With my foot not moving an inch, the revs climbed and the vehicle surged forwards as if someone rubbed it with turpentine.

This new Chevrolet Captiva is big, high, and heavy and it does have a profound effect on the abilities of the vehicle. Pushing through a mountain pass with some zest will reveal its aerodynamic shortcomings but thanks to the 18-inch rubber the Captiva feels surefooted and planted. The steering wheel provides a decent amount of feedback and feels meaty and solid. Optional leather seats offer enough padding for long distances and filter out any unwanted jiggles that the suspension might not have already dealt with.

Chevrolet Captiva (5)

When I reached my destination (home, in this case), a quick mathematical equation put this Chevrolet Captiva’s economic prowess in perspective. Theoretically, a range of 833 km is possible on a single tank, but practically, driving at 120 km/h, an expected range of between 650 and 700 km is on the cards. However, driving at 100 km/h, I managed 715,6 km. And if that gets added to the on-board computer’s remaining range of 296 km, a total range of more than 1000 km would be possible on a single fill-up! And on a vehicle weighing 2,5 tons and using a 2,2-litre diesel engine, my averages were 6,8 L/100 km and 74km/h.

Be sure to visit the Chevrolet website by clicking on any one of the ads and next month we’ll bring you another story on this very likeable and capable SUV.

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