The new Captiva ushers in a new era in Chevrolet design that draws on global requirements and inputs to deliver a new generation of vehicles. Bold features combine with dynamic lines for a vehicle that is both well proportioned and rugged without being too imposing.
Styled by an international team headed up by 35-year old Max Wolff, the Captiva clearly draws its styling cues from the Chevrolet SX3 concept car first shown at the Paris Motor Show in 2004. The majority of the design work on the Captiva was done by the team headed by Wolff at the GM Korea Design Centre in Incheon, South Korea, alongside the plant where the Captiva is built. This followed a substantial investment in the facility by General Motors to develop it as the design heartland for much of Chevrolet’s exterior and interior design over the next decade and beyond.
Aside from the work done at Incheon, input was provided to refine the design and fine-tune it for global markets at GM facilities in Russelsheim (Germany), Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Melbourne (Australia). Each of these facilities brought their own ideas, themes and specific market experience to the table to ensure that the Captiva met the widest range of global expectations. This was the first time that such a high level of international collaboration had been experienced within the Chevrolet brand and marks the beginning of a new trend in design for a new generation of truly global Chevrolet products.
“The Captiva successfully combines ruggedness with style in a mid-size SUV,” says designer Max Wolff. “The proportions are just right for a modern, and agile SUV. Dynamic contours and a number of styling highlights including the eye catching grille with its prominent Chevrolet ‘bow-tie’ logo, smart silver-effect front and rear skid plates, large jewelled headlamps, and coupe-like window line attract the eye.”
A smart styling crease runs from end to end when viewed side on, while chunky black body protection mouldings accent the coupe look of the Captiva. The body mouldings provide a minimising effect for the side panels and provide valuable protection from minor damage. Smart alloy wheels and a pallet of contemporary colours add to the Captiva’s visual appeal.
The new Captiva is not only designed to look good but also to meet the highest global quality standards. At the core of the build quality of this all-new Chevrolet is GM’s Global Manufacturing System as implemented at the Incheon production facility.
This system not only requires stringent quality checks throughout the production cycle but also that each and every vehicle that comes off the production line is comprehensively audited to ensure that it meets the most exacting quality standards. Each member of the 3 000 staff at the Chevrolet plant in Incheon, a facility that is capable of producing upwards of 400 000 vehicles a year, is dedicated to building quality vehicles. As a final check each and every vehicle is subjected to a full quality audit and final approval before it leaves the plant for delivery.
That said, quality has to be engineered in as well and to prove the engineering design an intensive pre-production test regime was completed on the Captiva. During this program the design was proved not only in a series of test simulations but also in rigorous real-world driving conditions.
Chevrolet development test drivers covered some 4,5 million kilometres in a fleet of Captiva test prototypes across a broad range of global motoring conditions, including varying climatic conditions. The barren wastelands of the Australian outback and the frozen tundra of Northern Scandinavia were just two of the extreme locations used together with the broad range of simulations and road surfaces at General Motors’ Millbrook test facility in Bedfordshire, England. Every potential motoring environment that might be encountered by this new global model was considered by the engineering team prior to the release of the vehicle for launch.
In addition to this extensive engineering program, a ‘captive fleet’ of 130 pre-launch Captivas was placed in a test programme with GM employees around the world. These vehicles covered a million kilometres between them over a six month period. At the end of the test these vehicles were dismantled and inspected to see how they had performed in every day usage.
GM supports the results of these tests and the inherent quality of the Captiva with a 3 year/100 000 kilometre warranty.
The Captiva’s advanced chassis design is at the heart of a group of active and passive safety features designed to protect passengers in the event of a collision. The Captiva has achieved a 4-star Euro NCAP safety rating, at the top end of certifications for an SUV type vehicle.
The Captiva body shell is made from high strength, bake-hardened steel for excellent overall rigidity and resistance to impact damage. The chassis design incorporates four integrated load paths that direct impact energy from a frontal collision away from the cabin area into the side and cross members. A cross member mounted ahead of the instrument panel also assists in absorbing impact energy and reduces any intrusion of the dashboard into the cabin space.
Crumple zones are employed all around the vehicle to absorb impact energy. Both the front and rear bumpers are one-piece mouldings designed to absorb low speed impacts without transferring energy into the main chassis. This means that low speed collision damage is isolated and damage repair costs reduced.
Both front and rear doors are reinforced with side impact protection bars. The strength of the B-pillars vary at different heights to channel the deflection away from vulnerable areas for occupants. Airbag protection is provided for both front seat occupants. Side airbags and curtain-shaped roof airbags are also provided.
Three-point seat belts are provided for all seven seats. The two outermost seats in the second row are fitted with Isofix attachments for the installation of compatible child seats.
ABS brakes and ESP (Electronic Stability Programme) provide enhanced driver control for collision avoidance.