"If you want seven seat practicality there's few cars that offer it as cheap as the Captiva. But be careful which model you go for as only mid- and top-spec four-wheel drive variants come with the extra seats."
The Chevrolet Captiva is a good value-for-money proposition, offering huge amounts of space and plenty of standard equipment. But while it wins out on price compared to more premium rivals, it loses out on comfort and quality. The interior feels cheap in places, the engines are noisy and the ride is harsh on rough roads.
The diesel engine reaches 0-62mph time in 9.2 seconds in auto model, but feels quicker despite the slow-shifting gearbox. Meanwhile, the manual gearbox is inaccurate and hard to use. Soft suspension means that the Captiva tends to lean on its springs in the corners and even bobs back and forth on them when you come to a sudden stop. The steering doesn't help matters – it's overly light and offers almost no feedback.
There's a fair amount of engine noise in the cabin, and if the diesel is pushed hard it begins to sound harsh. Wind and road noise are also quite noticeable in the cabin. The ride is comfortable for the majority of the time but rough road surfaces can felt in the cabin, especially with larger alloys fitted.
Interior quality isn't the Captiva's strong point. The dashboard is finished in soft-touch materials but some parts of the cabin feel cheap and flimsy. The car should be relatively safe though, with a four star rating for adult crash protection and six airbags as standard. As far as reliability is concerned, customer feedback has been positive with very few breakdowns and faults reported.
All Captiva models are spacious, with plenty of room for passenger and bags. Seven-seat models have a surprising amount of space in the third row of seats, making them usable for adults on short journeys. If you are looking to maximise load space, all the seats fold flat for a cavernous 1577 litres of load space. Bear in mind though, that with all the seats up, there's only really enough room in the boot for the weekly shopping.
Value for money
Even entry-level LS models come well equipped, despite their cheaper price-tag. Expect to see alloy wheels and air-conditioning both included. Step up to LT models and you'll get part-leather upholstery and a set of larger alloys. Range-topping LTZ variants get leather heated seats. Cabin storage is good throughout on all variants.
The diesel turbocharged engine comes in two states of tune: 161bhp and 181bhp. The extra weight of the seven-seater, available only in the mid- and top trim levels, affects economy over the lighter five-seat model. Six-speed automatic models, again available only with the top two specs and more powerful engine, cost more to run than the six-speed manual and have higher emissions, placing them in a higher road tax bracket. Yet the Captiva is cheaper to buy in the first place compared to premium rivals, and there's a five-year warranty plus the firm's 5 Year Promise, which includes free servicing. This helps offset the car's low residual value forecasts, which will affect you when you come to sell.