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Discussion Starter #1
I travel a lot for work and rent a fair number of cars per year.

I took a gig in California this week, leaving my Outback safe from Sandy in my garage back in Pennsylvania. The rental car is this Chevy Captiva.

I'd never heard of these things before, and I thought to look it up. I don't care much for the car, but it nagged at me that I couldn't remember anything about them.

It turns out that Chevy isn't listing it for sale on their website, and Wikipedia only has info for versions of the car sold overseas. I'm guessing that this is one of those oddball cars that gets ditched on rental companies.

Since we've all helped pay GM to build it, I figured I'd share a quick review:

Terribly uncomfortable. The seats have remarkably little depth or thigh support. Yes, even less than our Subarus! I have not found a position for the power seat which allows me to reach the accelerator without some sort of fatigue or leg pain. I'd never thought about it before but it's a great fuel-saving device: make the gas pedal so uncomfortable to use that you WILL develop a driving style that avoids acceleration. On the other hand the brakes are easy to reach, and feel ordinary for a small SUV.

The car feels very heavy suspension-wise, as it thumps along. The steering is light and nimble, but gives less feedback than the handrail of a staircase.

I haven't clocked it or anything, but the car feels desperately slow in L.A. traffic. The auto is extremely aggressive about holding the RPMs down, and I haven't used much gas at all. But it comes at a price- I feel like I'd need a calendar to measure the 0-60 time. Wikipedia says there are 4 different engines available- this must be one of the 4-cylinder models judging from the lack of power & buzzy sound.

I'm impressed by how many idiot lights there are in the gauge cluster- at least 10. Plenty of unfamiliar symbols. I'm dismayed by how long it takes them to go out when I start the engine.

This one is a very basic model- cheap nasty cloth seats, no fancy electronics. The interior storage seems downright bizarre. The center armrest console is unreasonably tall, but the storage below it is cavernous. I just leave it flipped open to create enough room for my arm.

It took me the best part of 10 minutes to find the 12v socket for my GPS at the airport- it's hidden in a second deep storage pit, accessed by unlocking and then sliding the cupholders to the rear.

The rear cargo deck is very high, and also has strange deep storage wells on either side of the main deck.

I can see why they're dumping them on rental companies- it comes across as the very definition of awkward on four wheels.
 

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Thanks I wondered about this car. I saw one of these about 5 months ago with CA plates oddly enough and thought, WHHHHAAAAATTTT? I'm a Chevy buff and I had not heard of this car.

It seemed smaller than the OB so it would not have been on my list anyway.

I thought I remembered reading they did a limited run in Canada which might explain why there are still a few in the states.
Never mind, the CD review about it being a Fleet vehicle here.
 

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Saturn over stock. When they canned Saturn - they even made a Cadillac out of the very same vehicle with a Cadillac sized price tag. GM hasn't changed they still make one vehicle and sell it under many brands. LOL
 

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Discussion Starter #6
From the article statueim shared, it says that they're just doing it as a fleet car. I guess it makes sense to have a crummy 'fleet car' for company cars, municipal vehicles etc... They won't tarnish the image of a widely-available model when they go through the auctions and into the public's hands. But I question the practice for rental fleets, since lots of people are introduced to new brands and models through rentals. GM isn't showing what they're capable of, they're showing what they're capable of getting away with. I'd be impressed if I were an automaker rather than an auto consumer.

Renting a new Outback in 2005 was part of what got me interested in Subarus. It was random; I didn't get to pick it. But I liked it enough to consider them when it came time to replace my car.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
update- I found a button marked 'eco' hidden next to the shifter. I disabled it and if I whip it, it accelerates a lot faster, also makes a good angry insect noise. Feels about as fast as my old '98 outback.

Still impressed by the MPG. Leg still hurts from driving it.
 

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Saturn over stock. When they canned Saturn - they even made a Cadillac out of the very same vehicle with a Cadillac sized price tag. GM hasn't changed they still make one vehicle and sell it under many brands. LOL
GM isn't as bag as some other brands. But every car company had done this. Ford does it, Honda/Acura have done it, Toyota/Lexus have. It's called badge engineering, slowly winding down I hope.

Even Subaru is doing it with Scion the BRZ and FR-S are the same car...

Platform engineering on the other hand is very smart, build vehicles using the same platform, but look and feel completely different. GM had been doing this note recently and it is working well. Hopefully more auto makers will follow.
 

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Even Subaru is doing it with Scion the BRZ and FR-S are the same car...
Sure wouldn't mind seeing the rental/auction/used market flooded with those.

Just goes to show that there is a big difference between doing a shared car for legit marketing vs. using it to empty some parts bins.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
welcome to socal! hope u enjoy the weather while your here!
Lived in LA for 5 yrs before I discovered NYC was a little more to my liking. I do like coming back to visit. My film/tv biz has me out here at least twice a year for gigs and I like to catch up with my west coast pals. Definitely beats cleaning up after hurricanes!
 

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GM isn't as bad as some other brands. But every car company had done this. Ford does it, Honda/Acura have done it, Toyota/Lexus have. It's called badge engineering, slowly winding down I hope.
Ahem. GM invented badge engineering. THe premise was to start consumers with Chevys, then move them up to Olds, Buick, and finally Cadillac. That's why there was a Caddy version of the lowly Cavalier. Anyone else remember the dreadful Cimmaron?
 

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Yes, and I want one desperately! But then I have an affection for odd cars.
 
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