By THEODORE OPARA
BOBBY Cheetham is a South Africa born Motoring journalist with over 34 years experience in automotive journalism. He was my driving partner in South Africa when some selected Nigerian journalists from Nigeria visited Chevrolet South Africa’s head office in Port Elizabeth. It was a perfect partnership as we shared experiences on the automobile industry of both countries.
A well respected journalists and member of the jury that selects South African car of the year, Bobby revealed how the South African monthly car sales equals Nigeria’s annual sales and how they have been able to maintain fairness in their selection of car of the year since inception.
Every moment with Bobby was quite rewarding. You hardly could know that he was about celebrating his 65th birthday. Easy going, down to earth Bobby shared his many years test drive experiences with me but was quick to point out that Chevrolet has surpassed all expectation with the new model Captiva, Cruze and Spark.
He was impressed with the road handling, fuel efficiency, comfort and even safety features. We started the Aveo which he described as a very economical car and later with the Cruze sedan and Captiva Sports Utility vehicle.
The almost 380 kilometres drive from Port Elizabeth to Tsitsikamma falls Adventure to Storm River Mouth was all I need to confirm Bobby’s claim that Chevrolet did a perfect job on the new Captiva SUV.
The new Chevrolet Captiva proved to be the Sport Utility Vehicle to beat in the return trip from Storms River Mouth back to Port Elizabeth, a distance of 187 kilometres.
Powered by a four cylinder duel overhead cam (DOHC) 2.4 litre gasoline engine that delivers 167 horsepower and 230Nm of engine torque at 4600rpm, the Captiva is available in both six-speed manual and automatic transmissions. It delivers excellent performance with low noise and vibration. The new /six-speed automatic transmission of the Captiva can be use in full automatic mode if the driver prefers, Driver Shift Control DSC allows for manual shifting when the mood takes.
Captiva’s excellent road handling comes from array of technical features. It features a range of chassis and active safety technologies such as ABS, ESC and TCS. The latest active on-demand four-wheel drive enables Captiva to feel at home both on-and off-roads. The Chassis features McPherson suspension at the front and an independent four-link axle at the rear. All four wheels are fitted with internally ventilated disc brakes at the rear and front. The advanced ABS system which features sensors on all wheels helps to further reduce stopping distances.
New features in the new Captiva aimed at improving its ride comfort are countless. Electronically controlled speed-sensitive steering, Hill Start Assist (has) are the other new features of the Captiva.
Also special attention has been paid to improve concerning characteristics by reducing body roll while also enhancing ride feel. Consequently, front spring rates have been increased for better handling on road. The spring isolators have been softened to improve ride isolation; body roll is reduce through use of a larger stability bar while the front bushing are returned to improve impact feel and minimize road vibration.
The new Captiva is an all-round “handsome” car. The new Captiva has this captivating look that you can’t ignore anywhere. It looks quite imposing and larger than the outgoing model.
Inside the new Captiva, you have the feeling of being in a premium luxury car. The dashboard is well laid out with enough lighting. The spacious Captiva’s upgraded interior now features array of new finishes and textures. It can seat seven in comfort with lot of storage spaces.
With the new Captiva Chevrolet can be sure of good chunk of the Compact Sport Utility Vehicle segment where the Japanese like Honda CR-V, and Toyota are holding sway.