“The strength and space of a sports utility vehicle. The style and practicality of a family car. The Captiva is a unique mix of both…”

So claims the marketing campaign for Chevrolet’s Captiva, which is built on the same production line in Korea as the Vauxhall Antara. Chevrolet as a brand is beginning to work quite well in the UK, crafting itself a niche for well made, good-value-for-money products that have more than a whiff of originality to their styling.

The Captiva was designed entirely in-house at GM Korea’s Design Centre in Incheon, and the team was led by 35-year-old American Max Wolf. It first saw the light of day as the S3X concept and was unveiled at the 2004 Paris motor show.

Since then, however, the car’s styling has been refined at various GM studios around the world, including the Opel HQ at Russelsheim in Germany. That’s where the process to turn a Captiva into an Antara visually was perfected.

The Captiva might not entirely hit the target when it comes to VFM. The top-of-the-range LTZ 2.2-litre diesel auto, for example, is right at the limits of where a conventionally powered (ie non-Volt) Chevrolet can go on price, at over £30k. But it’s certainly good looking. Question is, does it give as good as it looks?

Top 5 Compact SUVs

  • A huge improvement over the old model and now among the class leaders

    BMW X3

    1
  • The new Land Rover Discovery Sport is the successor to the Freelander

    Land Rover Discovery Sport

    2
  • The Swede's XC60 compact SUV is a rival for Range Rover's Evoque

    Volvo XC60

    3
  • The Q5 is Audi's response to the Land Rover Freelander 2, BMW X3 and Volvo SC60

    Audi Q5

    4
  • Kia's seven-seat Sorento SUV is now in its third generation

    Kia Sorento

    5

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    4 September 2015
    New entry-level 3 Series uses the three-pot turbo motor from the Mini Cooper. We find out if it's up to the job.
  • First Drive
    4 September 2015
    This special-edition Skoda Octavia vRS 230 is the fastest Octavia ever made and the most powerful vRS version. We drive it at the Slovakia Ring
  • First Drive
    3 September 2015
    First UK test of Fiat's best-selling city car, which has been overhauled for 2015
  • First Drive
    3 September 2015
    Volkswagen reveals the second generation of its high-riding Passat Alltrack estate. We drive it for the first time on German roads.
  • First Drive
    2 September 2015
    Kia facelifts its Cee'd and drops its six-speed torque converter in favour of a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox in the process. We drive it for the first time