Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - DRIVEWAY - Robert Buys

THE new Captiva at the en­try level may not stir mo­tor­ing en­thu­si­asts’ blood, but it is com­par­a­tively cheap, spa­cious and up-to-date.

The lat­est one has a re­designed grille and a classier in­te­rior and is com­fort­able, quite well equipped and has Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto con­nec­tiv­ity stan­dard across the range.

The test Captiva was the LS, listed at $26,490, but is avail­able in some lo­cal deal­er­ships at up to $2000 less.

Other mod­els are the LT and flag­ship LTZ, both all-wheel drives and with a choice of 2.2litre diesel or 3.0litre petrol mo­tors and cost $10,000 to $15,000 more than an LS, de­pend­ing on model and en­gine and trans­mis­sion choice.

There is a good amount of console space avail­able, with a re­tract­ing set of cup hold­ers that re­veal a cav­ernous lower com­part­ment. There is a USB power port for con­tin­u­ous con­nec­tiv­ity.

The seats are com­fort­able enough for an ex­tended out­ing. The back seats fold down com­pletely flat to re­veal a huge space for trans­port­ing util­ity pay­loads if needed.

Other stan­dard fea­tures in­clude six airbags, dual-zone cli­mate con­trol, elec­tric power steer­ing, de­scent con­trol sys­tem, self-lev­el­ling sus­pen­sion, leather-bound multi-func­tion steer­ing wheel, auto-on/off head­lights, key­less en­try and a re­vers­ing cam­era.

The LS rides on 17-inch al­loys.

We did a coun­try trip, head­ing east to Northam then south to Bod­ding­ton to col­lect some bits and pieces and to be­hold some of the fab­u­lous flow­er­ing na­tive bush be­fore re­turn­ing to Perth.

The five-seat LS is fron­twheel driven by a 2.4litre petrol mo­tor with 124kW and 230Nm of torque.

The six-speed man­ual gear­box is quite well mated to the mo­tor and runs hap­pily with nor­mal traf­fic around town and in the coun­try. Com­bined fuel fig­ures av­er­aged 9.4 for the week of travel.

On the road the LS Captiva is sur­pris­ingly com­pli­ant to nor­mal driv­ing.

The gear­box is smooth and easy and the Korean-built Captiva feels quite lively when us­ing the flex­i­ble rev range.

The only gripe is the dash­board light that prompts driv­ers to shift up in an ef­fort to min­imise fuel use and does not in­vite down­shifts, leav­ing inat­ten­tive driv­ers in sixth gear at 60km/h, splut­ter­ing up the first hill en­coun­tered.

The elec­tric-op­er­ated hand­brake that I gen­er­ally dis­like ac­tu­ally works well with the hill holder and did not pose a problem af­ter a lit­tle get­ting used to.

All in all a good pack­age for the money and well worth con­sid­er­ing if get­ting into the midSUV queue on the way to school and the shops.

Ver­dict: Good value. The LS has more stan­dard fea­tures than most in its class and looks good too.

Holden's Captiva LS is a top-value pack­age.

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