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Steering, suspension and comfort

This is probably the Captiva’s strongest area dynamically. What distinguishes the Chevrolet's ride and handling is its polish and poise.

The ride (on 18in wheels at least) is well damped and very well controlled, considering the Captiva tips the scales at 1970kg with a full tank of fuel. Install a passenger in each of the seven seats and you’re looking at close to two and a half tonnes, yet even then the Captiva’s suspension retains its composure. That’s a fine but deliberate achievement on GM’s behalf.

The Captiva is composed near the limit, even when you fill it with passengers

A word of warning: the ride quality on UK roads was less impressive on a top-spec LTZ model fitted with 19in alloys as standard. There was too much jogging and jarring over typical B-roads, although things did settle down on smoother main artery roads.It’s not unforgivable, and is unlikely to be a deal breaker for those who are taken with the Captiva’s looks and practicality, but a car fitted with 17in or 18in wheels could offer some improvement.

The steering is also worthy of praise, not because it oozes feel and communication but because it is well weighted, accurate and almost entirely devoid of kickback, even on rough surfaces. It’s the sort of steering excellence you don’t notice in normal driving.

We were also impressed with the Captiva’s brakes, not just because they featured reasonable feel but also because they hauled the car down from big speeds time after time at the test track, without fade and in short distances, even compared with the Freelander.

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Tyre roar, on the other hand, is less than well suppressed, especially on rough roads.

Off road the Captiva is no Land Rover, however, and to be honest it isn’t meant to be. Its approach and departure angles are more than good enough, as is its ability to traverse reasonably rough terrain. But try to follow a Freelander into the unknown and eventually you’ll get stuck. If this is a key failing, look elsewhere. If not, the Captiva is as good as (if not a tiny bit better than) the Land Rover on road.