UPDATE: Full gallery from the launch event added

Naza Quest, distributor of Chevrolet vehicles in Malaysia, launched the facelifted Chevrolet Captiva at its Jalan Ampang showroom this afternoon. This introduction is the start of a busy period for the General Motors brand in Malaysia, which will see the Colorado pick-up truck launched here later this year. There are also a few new models coming our way in 2012.

Back to the main point. This facelifted Captiva was first seen late last year, making its world debut at the Paris Motor Show. It wears a bold new grille that totally dominates the front end; not too all tastes, but it sure does give the Captiva plenty of road presence.

It’s not just the grille, but the entire front end, including bonnet and headlights, is new. The wing mirror indicators are now LEDs, and the 18-inch alloys you see here are standard. The rear end is untouched, however.

The interior ambiance of the original Captiva wasn’t one of its strong points, feeling very old fashioned (green lighting, with Casio style green digits) and cluttered. It’s much improved now with metallic elements and a slightly revised layout. There are additional storage spaces and the redesigned dials and displays now come with Ice Blue illumination, a Chevy trend.

There’s also a new panel between the centre air con vents that quite high-end Nissan/Infiniti in style. It carries a digital clock and buttons for ESP, Hill Descent Control and Rear A/C.

Blank buttons are not in sight – the Captiva comes very well equipped. The steering wheel has controls for the stereo (with Bluetooth and ‘3D Sound Stage’), cruise control and air con – the latter is new and very useful.

There’s also an ECO mode button (helps economy) and an electronic parking brake, a class first. Another new feature is Hill Start Assist, which holds the car on gradients (of 3% onwards) for 1.5 seconds after the brake pedal has been released, preventing rollback.

That’s quite a lot of changes for a mid life update, but the Captiva comes with a new drivetrain as well. Still displacing 2.4 litres (it’s actually 2,384 cc now, from 2,405 cc), the new petrol engine with Double CVC makes 165 hp and 225 Nm of torque, 21% and 2% more than the old model, respectively. This DOHC 16v Ecotec unit is now paired to a 6-speed automatic with Tiptronic, one forward ratio more than before. We’re getting only the AWD model.

The results are positive. Fuel consumption for this 1,860 kg seven seater SUV is now 9.1 litres per 100 km, quite a bit better than the old 10.4 litres per 100 km. CO2 emissions is down by 14% as well.

What happened to the diesel variant, you ask? We asked too, and Naza Quest bosses said that that one is coming in the fourth quarter of this year, which is not too far away from now.

Safety kit includes dual front airbags, curtain airbags, ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, ESP and ISOFIX mounts for child seats. Imported from Thailand, the new Captiva is priced at RM155,185.20 on the road excluding insurance. Six colours are available, including a new Auburn Brown, which wasn’t on display at the launch.

Full gallery from the event is after the jump.

[zenphotopress number=999 album=2557]