Selling 149,979 examples last year, the Chevrolet Equinox was the 4th best selling product in the entire 2010 General Motors vehicle portfolio. 28,281 vehicles in the first two months, General Motors has been required to aggressively step up production at the Ingersoll, Ontario plant the Chevrolet Equinox (and sister GMC Terrain) in order to meet consumer demand.
While the Equinox has been accepted as direct competition with the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Nissan Rogue, the current generation Chevrolet crossover vehicle is largely mismatching to those other vehicles in size. Longer in wheelbase than the other three crossover vehicles, the 2011 Equinox features 9.4 inches more length between the front and rear wheels than the Ford Escape. Outside of North America existed an ideal fit for the compact crossover category, General Motors is marketing a smaller crossover called the Chevrolet Captiva. After 5 years of international sales in Asia, Australia and Europe, the choice to introduce Americans to the Captiva is set for the 2012 model year for fleet use only.
Built on a shorter wheelbase version of the Theta platform already found on the Equinox, the 2012 Chevrolet Captiva Sport is the latest acknowledgement of how the crossover vehicle market is a multi-layered assault for all auto brands ( at least for fleet vehicle users). After rolling out the Equinox for the 2005 model year as the company’s first car-based utility vehicle, Chevrolet line-up has since added the larger Traverse with the Captiva Sport model pending for the smaller category. 7.7 inches less in total length and 4.9 inches shorter in wheelbase, the Chevrolet Captiva Sport is firmly positioned against the compact crossover utility segment. Some will note a former General Motors crossover vehicle meeting those exact exterior measurement. The Chevrolet Captiva Sport reintroduces the discontinued Saturn Vue. A similar front end to the Chevrolet Equinox given a scaled down look, the Captiva Sport is identified with a different roof pillar structure.
Not as small as the old Chevrolet Tracker, the Captiva Sport will comfortably transport five passengers. The interior engineering for the Captiva Sport sees the compact utility shedding a hardly noticeable loss of around one-half inch in front passenger headroom and legroom over the Equinox. Though it may be conceivable to believe all dimensions to be smaller on this junior crossover vehicle, the Chevrolet Captiva Sport will actually present more shoulder and hip room for both the front along with the rear passenger rows. Only major decreases of interior compartment dimensions for the Captiva Sport over the Equinox will preside in rear legroom and cargo space. The Chevrolet Captiva Sport will offer a maximum cargo volume of 56.4 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.
Employing the same powerplants featured on the Equinox, the 2012 Chevrolet Captiva Sport will be sold with two gasoline direct-injected engines. Buyers can select either a 182 horsepower 2.4 liter four-cylinder engine or a 264 horsepower 3-liter V-6 power plant. As could be expected on crossover vehicles, an all-wheel drive option will be offered on the Captiva Sport alongside a fuel-saving front wheel drive. Fuel economy has not been evaluated yet for the United States market Captiva Sport for either engine. Using United Kingdom specifications (likely to differ for the United States model), the Chevrolet Captiva Sport equipped with the 2.4 liter engine possesses a curb weight just under 3,649 pounds. More than a 130 pounds less than the Equinox crossover is seems reasonable to expect a slight improvement over the Chevrolet Equinox.
To be sold in LS, LT or LTZ fleet trim, 2012 Chevrolet Captiva Sport models will include remote keyless entry, 6-speaker stereo system and 17-inch aluminum wheels. For safety, forward, front-side and curtain airbags protect passengers will be accompanied with accident avoidance technology such as anti-lock braking and StabilTrak. Leather trim, sunroof and rear view camera are among more lavish items available on the Captiva Sport that is likely to start selling for the early $20,000 range. No announcements have been made for whether the Captiva Sport will be added as a consumer vehicle for 2012 or in the future.
The 2012 Chevrolet Captiva Sport is based on a revised model introduced at the 2010 Paris Motor Show as part of General Motors vehicle presentation of non-United States bound products. While plans for the Captiva Sport coming to the US shows flexibility to bring their international vehicles to the newer world, the Chevrolet Orlando (coming to Canada but not the United States) and a 5-door version of the Chevrolet Cruze are yet to join the small crossover.
Information and photo source: General Motors