The Korean-built SUV with familyfriendly seating wasn’t a serious off-roader
HOLDEN was slow to pick up on the shift to SUVs. When it hit the market it did so with an imported model instead of going the local route as rival Ford had done.
The Captiva was one of many Korean-built models as Holden moved away from local production and European imports.
For the families that in the main bought SUVs, the priorities were cabin space, a high driving position and seven seat capacity.
A Holden badge was once a guarantee of doing good business in this country and the Captiva quickly became a popular choice after its local debut in 2006.
Initially it could be had as a five-seater or a seven-seater with a petrol V6, auto and allwheel drive but other variants were steadily added.
As with the vast majority of SUVs, the Captiva wasn’t a serious off-roader. It normally drove through the front wheels until lost grip was detected, then drive was split with the rear.
As few families really want to take their cars on to rough bush tracks the Captiva’s allwheel drive was ideal.
In 2008 Holden recognised that most Captiva owners were paying for sophisticated gear they really didn’t want or need and released a front-drive version.
Lighter and simpler than the AWD variants, it was more economical, particularly in combination with the 2.2-litre turbo diesel option.
In addition, Holden also had a 2.4-litre and a 3.2-litre V6 petrol options and later added a 2.0-litre turbo diesel and 3.0-litre V6.
Five and six-speed automatics were the transmission options.
The Captiva came from Daewoo and that sets off warning signals for many people. The build quality and reliability of Daewoo-built cars are variable at best.
Buyers of the Captiva, especially early examples, should be wary. At the beginning, it sold well on the basis of the Holden badge but disappointment followed when the Daewoo quality — which had been such a problem with the brand when it first appeared in Australia — re-emerged.
Many Captiva owners returned to dealers with the ECU warning light on. Others needed replacement computers to fix a raft of electrical issues.
Start by checking that everything on a potential purchase works. That won’t prevent problems from occurring later but you can avoid inheriting issues.
Some owners report that their cars can lose all power while they’re driving along. In a couple of cases it’s happened at the worst possible moment leaving them exposed to danger.
There have also been problems with oxygen sensors in the exhaust. Engines have been reported for rough running.
Getting the wheel alignment right is difficult, according to mechanics who say there isn’t enough adjustment provided. Look for uneven tyre wear as this is a sure sign that the alignment is out.
The diesel engines have cam-timing belts, so buyers need to be aware of the need to replace them periodically. The recommended interval is 90,000km.
The V6s have timing chains but can suffer the same chain stretching problem as the Commodore — it’s the same engine — and replacing a chain is expensive. Avoid a V6 that’s running roughly, often a sign that the chain has stretched and the cam timing is out.
Among several recalls of the Captiva, the most serious related to the connection between the steering intermediate shaft and the steering rack that could lead to a loss of steering.
Others were for fuel hose leaks that could result in fires; one was for a reduction in braking performance because of a problem with the braking computer.
Check the government recalls website and consult a dealer to confirm the relevant rework has been done.
Robin Adcock: In the five months I’ve had my secondhand LX Captiva it’s been in the workshop for 12 weeks with problems with the cruise
control, airconditioning and wipers. Mechanically it’s fine but the electrics are woeful. It’s been nothing short of a nightmare.
Sam Watson: Mechanics love the Captiva because it makes them rich. Mine has had problems with the transmission, electrics, random power failures and terrible fuel economy.
Allen White: I bought my 2007 Captiva LX second-hand with 70,000km on it. It’s now done 120,000km and I’ve had no problems with it. I love it.
Michelle Savage: My 2012 Captiva had 44,000km on it when I bought it in 2014. It was fine until July this year, when the transmission failed at 55,000km. Holden fixed it under goodwill but I’m not happy with the car.
Nothing special, and can be unreliable. Buy with care.