There’s been plenty of expectation surrounding the Holden Captiva 7. From the outside it looks great. However, while out on the road it’s a frustratingly different story.
The flagship of the Captiva range with a price tag of $42,490 has been our test vehicle for the past week. On the whole we like it, but there are some features that really should be better. For a start, we have sat on park benches that have more comfort than the front seats of the Captiva.
Captiva LX 7 is well endowed with technology with Bluetooth phone and music availability. We used the sat/nav to find a particularly complicated address and we must say it's as good as our own Garmin system, and just as easy to use. The sat/nav screen doubles as the rear view camera screen and is bright and clear and works well at night
Under the bonnet of the Captiva 7 LX is a 3.0-litre DOHC direct-injection ‘SIDI’ V6. It puts out 190 kW of power and 288 Nm of torque, but there are times we have to say it does not feel like it. Fuel consumption is another concern. The engine IS borrowed from Commodore, but for an extra grand you can get the 2.2-litre turbo diesel. Holden claim 11.3 litres/100 km from the V6, but we found consumption closer to 13.3 litres/100 km. The diesel consumption is rated at a much better 8.1 litres/100 km, but we didn’t test it for proof of that figure.
Holden’s Captiva is not a bad looker at all. The pointy end has some resemblance to Ford Territory, and that's not a bad thing. The SUV stable is pretty much full of look-alikes and in that sense Holden has played it safe with the Captiva. Holden may have done little to soften the overwhelming grey plastic interior but, it is practical in layout and easy to use. We like the illuminated circle around the key hole which makes it easy to find at night.
The second and third rows of seats are easy to fold flat and this gives around 1.8 metres of storage length. While this is called the Captiva 7, you would not want to be third row passengers. We suspect even the billy lids may revolt at being sat back there with it's minimal foot well and leg space. But, in a pinch it does take seven passengers, and would be handy for mum's taxi to the junior footy match.
Series II Captiva gained side impact airbags to take the tally to six. On the crash avoidance front Captiva has the essential stability control, ABS brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, traction control, active rollover protection and active AWD system. The latest Captiva also gained hill start assist along with hill descent control. Front and rear park assist is standard on five-seat Captiva 5, while the Captiva 7 seven-seater CX gets rear park assist while our test car has rear park assist as well as standard rear-view camera.
Add to these gripes below average handling and an interior that is dominated by hard plastic. We did persevere. After the first day we thought we may have got out of the wrong side of the bed and were too quick to make a judgement. We went for a three-hour drive in the Captiva and as we dragged our body from the park bench it confirmed our initial suspicion.
Our test car was hooked up to a six-speed automatic transmission and it's not a marriage made in heaven. In the lower gears the Captiva seemed unsure what gear it should be in and as a result drifts between gears unless you plant the right boot. For a family SUV the Captiva's suspension is quite harsh. Small bumps become big and large bumps become downright uncomfortable. With the seat hardness and shiny leather and lateral movement of the car combined there is little lateral support for passengers.
Cornering in the Captiva is smooth at high speeds on long sweeping bends, but a fair amount of body roll is apparent on slower, tighter bends.
Holden Captiva 7
Price: from $42,490
Warranty: 100,00km, 3 years
Engine: 3.0-litre 6-cylinder, 190kW/288Nm
Transmission: 6-speed sports automatic, 4X4 on demand
Thirst: 10.1L/100Km, 241CO2 emissions