Chevrolet Captiva 2.4 Premium AWD, Hyundai Santa Fe 2.4 GLS Review
7 on the up

Story and Photos by Raymond Lai
7 Mar 2010

A spacious seven seater SUV won't cost you an arm and a leg like a Q7 or an X5 will. Here, we pit an updated Korean model against a stalwart competitor.

Row on

Large MPVs are hardly the coolest cars around. Boxy and usually styled unimaginatively, they resemble school buses more than family cars, especially when parked outside a school waiting for their occupants.

These days, you don't need to buy a full-sized MPV to ferry your kids and his or her four or five friends. Alternatives to the big MPVS are SUVs that seat seven. There are a plethora of SUV models that have three rows of seven seats including the gargantuan Mercedes-Benz GL-class, BMW X5, Audi Q7, Subaru Tribeca, Toyota Fortuner and the recently launched Kia Sorento among others.

While an Audi Q7 or a Volvo XC90 will make ideal seven seater SUVs, not everyone can afford their premium price tags or to fuel and tax them. Cue more affordable Korean models like the Chevrolet Captiva, the Hyundai Santa Fe and its Kia Sorento cousin.

The current generation Santa Fe was introduced way back in 2006 but was hardly popular due to its large 2.7-litre V6 engine and its thirst for unleaded. Hyundai has recently updated the Santa Fe with a new drivetrain - a 2.4-litre four-pot mated to a six-speed manual, a combination it shares with its Sorento cousin. Other than the similar Kia, the Hyundai's biggest competitor is its Chevrolet Captiva country mate.

The Captiva is based on a shared GM SUV platform that is also used by the Opel/Vauxhall Antara, Saturn Vue models and so on. The Captivea has the might of GM in its genes then so how will it fare against the Korean home grown Santa Fe over here?

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