Cap­tiva-ted mar­ket

Your dol­lar — and your fuel tank — will go fur­ther with the lat­est Cap­ti­vas

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - PAUL GOVER CHIEF RE­PORTER paul.gover@cars­

FAM­I­LIES are promised more and less with a mild up­date to the Holden Cap­tiva SUV.

There is more value in ex­tra equip­ment and more flex­i­bil­ity on fuel thanks to ethanol com­pat­i­bil­ity, but less thirst in an updated petrol per­for­mance of the fam­ily wagon’s four­cylin­der and V6 en­gines.

Sales of Cap­tiva have boomed this year, with de­liv­er­ies of the Cap­tiva 5 up by more than half and a 2.5 per cent lift on the Cap­tiva 7 de­spite short­ages of dieselpow­ered cars.

Holden spokes­woman Emily Perry says: ‘‘ We are very happy with how Cap­tiva is go­ing. Medium SUVS are very pop­u­lar and it’s great to have a solid per­former.’’

The com­pany is also look­ing ahead to the ar­rival of its big-and-lit­tle SUV ad­di­tions, the Trax and Mal­ibu, next year.

‘‘ The SUV seg­ment is up nearly 60 per cent and to have great new en­tries will be good,’’ Perry says.

The Cap­tiva 5 and 7 join the V6 and V8 Com­modores with ethanol com­pat­i­bil­ity, but Holden says it is not plan­ning a full-scale switch to E85 en­gines across its line-up. The flex fuel is not com­pat­i­ble with its top seller, the com­pact Cruze, nor any of the other im­port mod­els in its cur­rent range.

‘‘ It’s partly a chicken-and-egg thing,’’ Perry says. ‘‘ If the mar­ket says there is a de­mand then we go for it.

‘‘ Apart from the Cap­tiva, it’s re­ally only the V6 and V8 Com­modores. We’re look­ing at it on a case-by-base ba­sis. It’s about where we go with the pow­er­trains.

‘‘ It’s about pro­vid­ing so­lu­tions for dif­fer­ent cus­tomers. Not ev­ery­one wants or needs flex-fuel ca­pa­bil­ity. It’s more a wait-and-see on our other mod­els.’’

The E85 pack­age means new Cap­tiva own­ers can re­fuel with bio-ethanol fuel, E10, un­leaded, pre­mium or any com­bi­na­tion of the fu­els.

But petrol-pow­ered Cap­ti­vas are now be­ing de­liv­ered with fuel econ­omy that’s im­proved by up to 10 per cent thanks to re­cal­i­bra­tion of the en­gines and drive-train. That cuts the of­fi­cial econ­omy of the 2.4-litre petrol from 9.1 to 8.8 litres/100km in the Cap­tiva 5, with the 3-litre V6 in the Cap­tiva 7 down from 11.3 to 10.1. There are other im­prove­ments across the board, in­clud­ing diesels.

There are no visual changes to the lat­est Cap­ti­vas, but the 5 gets a new body colour and there is rear park­ing radar, USB in­put and a 2000kg tow rat­ing across the Cap­tiva 7 range, with the LX pick­ing up heated front seats and front park­ing as­sist.

Holden is also sweet­en­ing the deal with drive­away prices from $27,990 and $33,990, as well as a sun­roof and 18-inch al­loys on the 5 and a sun­roof and side steps on the 7.

Perry ad­mits the changes to the SUVS are rel­a­tively mi­nor.

‘‘ There are no cos­met­ics,’’ she says. ‘‘ It’s about im­proved fuel econ­omy. It’s an on­go­ing up­date rather than a mid-life re­fresh. Any time you can cre­ate bet­ter value is a good thing.’’

De­mand: Sales of the Holden Cap­tiva 7 SUV wagon have risen on im­prove­ments made to the range

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