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Holden Captiva 7 CX Series II road test

by Mark Walker

2nd April, 2012

Home > Road Tests > General Motors > Holden

Related story:
Holden Captiva Series 2 for March release
16th February, 2011

With the SUV market continuing to enjoy strong sales, the Captiva is becoming increasingly significant to the success of Holden in Australia as itís Holden's only representative in the segment. Fortunately for Holden, the Captiva is selling in record numbers as families continue to flock to the SUV segment.

In February 2012, the Captiva sold 1,328 units, with the larger, more expensive Captiva 7 accounting for 859 of those units.

The Captiva Series II has been on sale in the Australian market for around a year now and introduces many changes over the previous model. The main changes are the engine line-up, exterior styling, safety features and, perhaps, most importantly Holden have also reduced the pricing.

Styling wise, the Series II gets a new and improved front-end including a new grille, sculpted bonnet and new headlight clusters. New alloy wheels and clear tail light lenses help freshen the look. The side mirrors now include indicator lights also. Three new colours are available, including Moulan Rouge, which is the colour of the test vehicle.

Performance wise, the Captiva offers plenty of choice. Itís now available with three different engines - two petrol choices and one diesel. The two petrol options on offer are the entry level 2.4 litre DOHC four cylinder engine with an output of 123 kW and the 190 kW 3.0 litre SIDI V6. The smaller petrol engine is only available on the base SX model and the higher output 3.0 litre SIDI V6 is available on both the CX and LX variants.

Also available in each model is the 2.2 litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel engine. The diesel has a power output of 135 kW at 3,800 rpm and torque of 400 Nm @ 2,000 rpm Ė a 25% improvement over the outgoing diesel power plant Ė and fuel economy is improved also.

All Holden Captiva 7 models have the same automatic gearbox included as standard. The Captiva 5 is still available with a 5 speed manual transmission but only in two wheel drive with the 2.4 litre 4 cylinder petrol engine.

The test car is the 2.2 litre diesel CX specification with all wheel drive and 5 speed automatic transmission.

Despite being all-wheel drive, under normal driving conditions all of the power will be sent to the front wheels. The power can be distributed as much as 50:50 front to rear if required and this is all achieved via an electronically controlled clutch.

We didnít take the Captiva off-road and we suspect most buyers wonít either. We did find ourselves on dirt roads though and the Captiva performed admirably. Driving at speeds of up to 80 km/h on a sometimes twisted, often bumpy gravel road was remarkably easy and comfortable. The CXís standard 18 inch wheels combined well with the suspension to absorb some bumps ensuring the ride was reasonably smooth. The Captiva felt well balanced and predictable during steering and braking manoeuvres on the dirt.

Around town, the Holden Captiva is comfortable for the driver thanks to the high driving position, strong power delivery and decent brakes. The diesel engine and automatic transmission offers solid performance. Whilst the acceleration isnít going to set any records, it is reasonably smooth and has enough torque to surprise you when accelerating from a standstill. Itís also very capable on hill starts.

Highway performance is also considered decent thanks to the torque of the diesel. The auto transmission is eager to drop gears when you accelerate to overtake, perhaps over eager at times but the power is there when you need it. Similarly, up hills at freeway speed, the Captiva is able to confidently maintain the speed limit including times when the cruise control is engaged.

Fuel economy is improved to achieve claimed consumption of 8.3 litres pre 100 km. This is a 6% improvement over the old model. Similarly, emissions are reduced slightly to 220 grammes per km - an improvement of 6%. During our drive consisting of around 50% city and 50% highway driving, we never managed to achieve fuel consumption of less than 10 litres per km Ė still reasonable for a vehicle of this size. The Captiva comes with a 65 litre fuel tank, and therefore offers a theoretical range of 780+ kilometres from full to empty (given the right circumstances).

Inside the Captiva is all about space. As the name implies, the Captiva 7 has seven seats. The seats are split over three rows, two in the front, three in the middle and two in the rear. The third row of seats fold flat into the floor. There is plenty of space and good comfort for those riding in the first two rows of seats. The back row is compromised somewhat by limited access and limited foot space but its fine for small kids.

With the third row of seats upright, luggage space is massively compromised - to the point where you have less useable space than most compact sized hatches - just 85 litres. This is a big disappointment. To give you an idea how poor that is, you cannot even fit a airline carry-on sized bag in the space. You have the option opening the tail gate glass instead of opening the entire tail gate and this is good when you're in confined spaces. Unfortunately, if the 3rd row of seats is upright, you cannot take advantage of this function as there is barely enough of a gap to load a shopping bag.

Space is enhanced to a very useable 465 litres with the 3rd row of seats folded. The middle row can also be folded flat to expand the luggage space to 930 litres. The seats can be folded flat with minimal effort. Disappointingly, there is no standard cargo blind to enhance privacy and security. A cargo blind can be bought as an accessory for $370.00.

The driving position is comfortable and offers good vision with large side mirrors. Cabin insulation is good and despite being a diesel, engine noise in the cabin is minimal.

The CX is well appointed with climate control air conditioning and Bluetooth connectivity is standard across the range. Importantly, this Bluetooth is actually very simple to use and for connecting new devices. The Holden Captiva now comes with an electric park brake allowing you to apply the park brake with a push of button. This feature is increasingly common and the removal of the old style hand brake often makes way for a more sophisticated and better organised centre console. Holden hasn't made much ground here but there a 'secret' storage bin below the cup holders.

Overall the Captiva Series II interior trim is a step ahead of the previous model. However, it still falls over in some areas with poor quality. The hard interior plastics in the test car were already showing plenty of wear including scratches on the centre console. Being a car aimed at the family market, it should be more durable, especially inside. Most switchgear is easily used but unfortunately Holden were a tad ambitious when adding buttons to the steering wheel. There are far too many buttons on the wheel and some simply arenít necessary Ė for example air conditioning controls for fan speed and air flow direction.

The Holden Captiva Series II is well equipped with safety features Ė earning it a five star ANCAP safety rating. Standard safety features include anti-lock brakes (ABS), six airbags, traction control, electronic stability control, electronic brakeforce distribution, hydraulic brake assist, hill start assist. It also has descent control system to control the speed on downward gradients. The CX also has rear park assist Ė but no rear view camera. The range topping LX gets a rear view camera standard.

Servicing is every 15,000 kilometres or 12 months whichever occurs first. The factory warranty period is 3 years or 100,000 kilometres, whichever occurs first.

Like most SUVís, the Captiva is imported. All Captiva models are manufactured in South Korea by General Motors Korea (formerly Daewoo).

Holden has sharpened the pricing for the Series II Captiva. Pricing (without options) for the Captiva 7 now starts at $32,490* before on-road costs for the entry level SX variant, rising to $43,490* plus on-road costs for the range topping LX variant. The mid-spec CX diesel is priced at $39,490* before on-road costs.

NOTE: * Manufacturer's List Price (MLP) excludes dealer delivery fees and the numerous statutory charges (commonly known as on-road costs). Additionally, please note that all prices, fees and charges are subject to change without notice, as are the specifications.

More Holden News ..... here.
General Motors News ..... here.

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