HOLDEN CAPTIVA LTZ ROAD TEST
Associate Editor Dean Evans gets behind the wheel of Holden’s seven-seat SUV. And Arna Evans assesses its merits from the point of view of the mother of two young children.
BACK IN 2006, HOLDEN’S COMMODORE WAS THE NUMBER one selling vehicle (just), Peter Brock was still extolling the General’s virtues, and Holden launched the Captiva, a GM badge-shared SUV from Korea.
There was a touch of distain towards the Captiva at the time, it being a rebadged Daewoo Winstorm, and there was the antiamerican “who-needs-a-large-suv?” thinking.
But over those past 11 years the world has changed, and big sedans like the Commodore and Ford Falcon have fallen out of favour, their place taken by utes and SUVS.
The Commodore’s number one status was taken by the Toyota Corolla in 2008, and the Ford Ranger in recent times, and the SUV market in general has gone from derision to acceptance and affection.
The Captiva has evolved and strengthened over that time, but has remained a value-for-money proposition.
Here we are in 2017, in a topsy-turvy world, with the nine-model, all-auto, five- and seven-seat Captiva range selling well.
Prices start at $38,490 for the 2WD 2.4-litre petrol LS, and top out at $56,990 for the diesel LTZ across
We sampled the top-spec LTZ, with seven seats, a 2.2-litre turbodiesel developing 135kw of maximum power and strong peak torque of 400Nm and driving through a six-speed auto.
The LTZ ticks basically all the family vehicle boxes for practicality and equipment.
At 8.5 litres/100km quoted fuel economy on the combined cycle, it does a good job on paper; unfortunately, we only managed those figures on the motorway, with suburban driving pushing it into the mid-10 litres/100km range which delivers around 600km per 65-litre tank of fuel.
But it’s a reactive, zippy thing to drive, the 400Nm from 1750rpm meaning there’s plenty in reserve at all times.
Holden quotes 9.6 seconds for the 0-100km/h, and that’s exactly what we saw on our tests; and though the 190kw V6 version is faster, it’s also a little thirstier.
And with 288Nm of peak torque, it’s well short of the diesel’s torque and driveability, making the oil burner easily the pick of the three engines, provided you don’t mind a little more noise.
Much of what the Captiva offers is highly competent without being a standout, but the beauty of the LTZ is that it’s located in the upper end of the law-of-diminishing-returns car market: those around the $60,000 mark that offer so much, that to spend more on premium badges or brands provides diminishing returns.
The LTZ is equipped with all the expected mod-cons, like keyless entry and automatic door-locking, electrically-heated leather-look seats, auto lights (but not wipers), blind-spot warnings in the mirrors, and Apple/android phone replication on to the seven-inch touch-screen.
This relies on the phone for navigation, which is both a good and bad thing: Google Maps replicates fine, but I find Waze more userfriendly, which doesn’t replicate, which gets fiddly when swapping cables and Bluetooth connections and back and forth between screens.
But it’s easy to look past that, because there’s plenty of practical storage space, including a huge, deep centre console bin that features a sliding, dual cup-holder “lid.”
There are two charging USBS, 3.5mm audio input, 12v sockets, hill hold and descent modes, eco mode, and Bluetooth and a trip computer.
If there’s anything that dates the interior, it’s the central LED message display, and the trip computer controls that are inconveniently located near the driver’s right knee.
The other sub-par area is the seats which are flat and not that supportive.
Front sensors prove a necessity as much as help as the nose drops away from sight, and the reversing camera offers on/off guidelines, which is handy when lining up parking space markings, or targeting a towing hitch. Towing limits are 750kg unbraked, and 2000kg braked.
The rear cabin is where the Captiva turns into an appliance, doing everything well, without being remarkable. The BMW X5style dotted side steps are useable, and the split folding seats are well sized, with a fold-down centre armrest, though lacking any vent controls.
The third row seats flip down and pop up very easily using rear handles, and have retractable headrests. Access to them is good, with the second row of seats folding down and flipping up.
The large boot space naturally shrinks with the third row raised, but for all the storage and space it’s still impressive, considering the Captiva is 300mm shorter than a Commodore.
Steering is capable, and the 11.9-metre turning circle is reasonable without being remarkable. However, the firm without
being harsh ride quality and low noise level are rather impressive given the LTZ’S on 19-inch 235/50s. The the suspension is selflevelling when there’s a big load on board.
Against the likes of Mitsubishi Outlander VRX, Kia Sorento or Hyundai Santa Fe, the Captiva represents good value. It’s getting long in the tooth, but it’s helped by updates to styling and equipment, where it’s able to at least keep pace with the latest rivals.
It isn’t the newest, best-equipped, fastest or most frugal SUV on the market, but it’s a solid, well-equipped and more than competent all-rounder.
Above: Pleasing dashboard design with easy-to-read instrumentation. Left top: Engine is a 2.2-litre turbodiesel which provides good performance. Left middle: Reversing camera offers options of lines or a clear screen, which can help backing into a...
Holden’s Captiva has evolved in the 11 years it’s been on the market.
Centre console offers twin cupholders and a little storage, or opens to reveal a huge, deep bin.