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Used car review Holden Captiva 2006-2008

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    Although the Captiva came from Korea it was powered by Holden's 3.2-litre Alloytec V6 made in Melbourne. Photo Gallery

Graham 'Smithy' Smith reviews the used Holden Captiva 2006-2008, its fine points, its flaws and what to watch for when you're buying it.

With sales of SUVs booming in the early part of this century it was only a matter of time before Holden got into the act with its own model. The Korean-sourced Captiva was launched in 2006 in the midst of Holden's shift to Asia for most of its imported models.

If Holden diehards were keen for the brand to have an SUV they could get into, there were others who remained skeptical about the idea of Holden-badged Korean cars. Three years later those fears have evaporated, and with a diesel engine now part of the offering the Captiva offers something others can't.


Holden was caught with its corporate pants down when SUV sales surged at the dawn of the new century. Quite simply it didn't have one to offer. While Ford also recognized the need for an SUV and built the Territory, Holden tried to plug the gap in its model range with the all-wheel drive Adventra wagon that was spun off the Commodore.

It didn't work. While the Adventra was a decent car it was initially only available as a V8, which set it back, and although competent it was heavy and clunky on the road.

Ford's success with the Territory was a clear message to Holden that the Adventra hadn't worked and that they needed an SUV urgently to have a competitive presence in the market.

The SUV market was new territory for Holden, but the Captiva ticked most of the required boxes. It looked stylish, it was of a similar size to the booming BMW X5, and could accommodate up to seven.

While it came from Korea the Captiva was powered by Holden's 3.2-litre Alloytec V6 made in Melbourne. The V6 was the only engine available at the launch in 2006, but Holden read the market's move towards diesel engines well and added a 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine in 2007. With Ford sticking to its tried-and-true six cylinder engine and not offering a diesel Holden's move to diesel power was a masterstroke.

The Aussie-built V6 delivered peaks of 169 kW at 6600 revs and 297 Nm at 3200 revs in most models, but a different exhaust system reduced the peak power slightly in the top-of-the-range MaXX. The diesel meanwhile gave 110 kW at 4000 revs and 320 Nm at 2000 revs when at its peak and was available in all models but the MaXX.

The only transmission choice for the V6 was a five-speed Aisin auto with sports shift, but the diesel could be had with a five-speed manual 'box as well as the auto. In most situations the drive went through the Captiva's front wheels, but when needed drive was also sent to the rear wheels. The all-wheel drive system was electronically controlled and used two clutches.

The Captiva also boasted a comprehensive array of electronic driving aids, including electronic stability control, traction control, electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, hill descent control, ABS antilock braking, and rollover protection. Holden engineers had a hand in tuning the suspension ensuring the Captiva's ride and handling was in tune with the local roads, with the result it rode comfortably and handled well.

Inside the Captiva was roomy, with fold-flat seating making it a flexible carrier of people or loads of luggage. As many as 20 storage options were built into the Captiva's interior, including a useful wet-dry area below the rear floor, a glovebox cooler, large rear centre console bin, and numerous other handy bins. Four models were offered in the range, which included the five-seater SX, the seven-seater CX and LX, and the sporty five-seater MaXX.


To join the Captiva club pay $19,000-$25,000 for an SX, add $2500 for a CX, $4000 for an LX or a MaXX.


With the earliest cars just three years old and done 75,000 km or so at most it's early days for the Captiva. Apart from some initial complaints about the fuel consumption of the V6 there have been few complaints about the Captiva, and none of them have been of a serious nature.

At this point in its life it's important to ensure the maintenance has been kept up so the car you are considering buying hasn't been neglected. Most SUVs are used around town, but check for offroad use, and any damage that might have been sustained in the bush.


The Captiva scrubs up pretty well on the safety front, with dual front airbags standard across the range, and curtain airbags optional on the SX and standard on all other models. All models also have seat belt pretensioners and belt force limiters on the front seats to limit the load on the chest in a crash. There's also a comprehensive array of electronic aids to provide a high level of active safety.


Holden claimed the Captiva V6 would do 11.5 L/100 km on average, while the diesel would better that with 7.6 L/100 km for the manual and 8.7 L/100 km for the auto. Many owners complained about the high fuel economy of their V6 Captivas, which they were reporting was tending more towards the 12-14 L/100 km than the official Holden figures. The diesel seems to be hitting the mark with owners reporting quite reasonable fuel economy numbers.


Barry Watson says his two-year-old LX Captiva diesel is better than he was expecting it to be. He was attracted to the Captiva by its safety, diesel engine, and high level of equipment. Two years on he says it is well finished, the body is very tight with no rattles anywhere, the ride and handling is quite acceptable, and it has been very reliable with no problems experienced to date. He also praises its fuel economy and reports he gets 10-11 L/100 km around town and 7.9 L/100 km on interstate trips. His main complaint is that the trip computer does not give an in stant readout of fuel consumption, so it can't be used as an economy gauge. In summary he says he is a very satisfied owner and would not hesitate to buy another one.


. Attractive looks
. Seats up to seven
. Thirsty V6
. Frugal diesel
. Competent chassis
. Electronic driving aids


FORD TERRITORY - 2004-2007
Ford's SUV offers plenty of room for the family with a sturdy mechanical package of Ford's in-line six and auto transmission, and a choice of two or all-wheel drive. Generally reliable, but be aware of the high front suspension ball joint wear. Pay $18,000-$40,000.

TOYOTA KLUGER - 2003-2007
The Toyota SUV delivers everything you expect of a Toyota, build quality, reliability and competence in every way, but don't expect it to excite you. A few reports of engine problems suggest it's not completely trouble free. Pay $18,000-$35,000.

MAZDA TRIBUTE - 2001-2007
Plenty of Cars guide readers have found the Mazda SUV thirsty, and there have been reports of gearbox dramas, so be wary. Pay $12,000-$30,000.


Attractive all-wheel drive wagon with Aussie influenced looks and chassis settings, and the option of a diesel engine is worth a look.

RATING: 80/100

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 25 comments

  • Hey Mark os Sydney, what did you say to holden to get them to pay two 3rds? I think I will be having the same conversation with this tomorrow morning :(

    Stuart of Melbourne Posted on 25 October 2013 1:59pm
  • Funny, if Ihad read those reviews. I have a 2007 LX and have had all the problems listed here as well as all shocks, rockers, catylitic converter...holden have now advised me turbo and streering going....nice one holden.

    Shane woods of Brisbane Posted on 07 August 2013 12:41pm
  • My 2007 LX timing chains went at less than 60000 km. I had to pay a third of that, the rest was warranty. feels like its going again, upto 81000 km now. not buying another one !! Also, its now leaking transmission oil, the steering rack has a slow leak.............

    Mark of Sydney Posted on 16 July 2013 5:22pm
  • Hi Everyone, in December 2007 we bought a Holden Captiva CX diesel auto, built 11/2007. Generally speaking it's been a great car, but yes, the rockers failed - luckily 2 days before warranty was out. All fixed under warranty at no cost, except for the fact we had to hire a car while it was repaired (took 2 weeks). Earlier this year, at a little over 5yrs old, we had to replace the steering rack - but everywhere we got quotes we were told it was just wear and tear - not sure about that, but the car had done 140,000km. I have been told that GM have solved the rocker issues - the engine has been reworked into a 2.2l double overhead cam model instead of the 2.0l single overhead cam version in earlier models. I guess only time will tell whether this fixes the problem. Would consider buying a Captiva again, but only when they're doing specials, such as the occasional 5yr 130,000km warranty offers they do. However would stay away from any used models with the older diesel in them.

    Joe of Sunshine Coast Posted on 08 June 2013 6:22pm
  • Not just Captivas. The timing chain issue has plagued a number of models both in Australia and the US. Tech Service Bulletins were issued acknowledging the fact the timing chains were 'manufactured outside design specifications' and subsequently rectified in build 18/05/2007. Nice work by the manufacturer to write a piece of software to mask the issue but not everyone is fooled. Perhaps a class action may be the best medicine for this 'heads in the Sand' approach.

    Jim of Adelaide Posted on 26 February 2013 11:24pm
  • My Captiva is a 2006 model but has only done 78500kms - Last year I had to spend @ $800 to replace the throttle body assembly. This year I have been quoted $3200 as the timing chains need replacing. This seems like too many problems for a car which has been carefully looked after and serviced. Or am I being unreasonable?

    S Lynch Posted on 15 January 2013 9:49am
  • Daniel join the club. I don't know what can be done but there needs to be a class action or something similar because it is a clear fault in that model. I got mine earlier and it only cost me $3000 and Holden reimbursed $1000. By reimbursing they are clearly admitting fault but they won't recall them because it will be too expensive. I have heard rumours that they moved their factory around that time and that model was actually made elsewhere (Thailand I think) Its a disgrace and you don't have to look far to find people in the exact same position where the roller rocker has gone at the same km in the same model

    Matthew Smith of Brisbane Posted on 18 October 2012 3:58pm
  • My dad has a 2008 Captiva and the roller arms just went at 80 000kms, he is a pensioner and can't afford the $12 000 price for a new engine. We have had Holdens all our lives until this. Our Holden Dealer is seeing if they can get a good will for this. I have had a quick look on the net and it seems to be a problem with the turbo diesels. Holden you need to do some thing about this.

    Daniel of Canberra Posted on 15 October 2012 2:17pm
  • I bought a 2006 Captiva LX. Worst move I ever made. Nothing but problems.

    Juliet of Sydney Posted on 28 July 2012 11:40am
  • I bought the holden captiva 2007 lx diesel and couldn't be happier, the complaints regarding service well I think that should you have taken it to a holden dealer then there wouldnt be so many problems. this car faired well for our family, and the fuel economy is fairly good as well. would reccommend.

    captiva Posted on 21 March 2012 6:21pm
  • Yet another victim to the broken roller rocker arms! 2007 Captiva LX Diesel purchased April 2008. We havent had the car 4 years & still under 80000kms & now without a car that we are still paying off. Holden are not offerring any goodwill. SHAME ON YOU HOLDEN

    TOM of GLADSTONE Posted on 14 March 2012 4:43pm
  • i bought a captiva brand new in 2007............. nothing more to say but shame on you holden. no wonder your bankrupt. please please please think twice when going to holden. those who don't care have too much money. F__k holden!!!

    1 angry fool... fool for buying. Posted on 10 March 2012 5:49am
  • I have a 2006 Captiva LX and would never recommend them to anyone. 80,000 service cost me $900 apparently I was meant to know that, timing chain died at 101,000 just outside of warranty but Holden eventually came to the party but after an enormous amount of jumping up and down (apparently this is very common and should probably have been a recall except that Holden kept their fingers crossed that we all made it outside of the warranty period), and now at 115,000 kms, massive clunking noise from front passenger suspension to be investigated next week (I’ll probably have to speak to the bank manager about this one). Also electronic problems from the word go with all safety lights coming on for days but Holden can't determine the problems. Rear wiper not switching off until fuse ripped out, rear doors locking and having to have locks replaced and sometime on starting, engine will not fire but keeps trying to turn over even with keys removed ... Oh and the alternator died at 102,000 kms. Should I go on? I don't think so - forget it - buy a Mitsubishi with 10 year warranty then even if it's crap you're still covered (one would hope).

    Michelle Wood of Langwarrin South, Victoria Posted on 17 February 2012 4:27pm
  • My 2007 (but purchased New in mid 2008 also had a major rocker collapse just before Xmas. Holden came to the party at 75% but it sounds to me like there is a deeper problem with this vehicle. Added to the 3-4K was a leaking turbo which likewise Holden met 75% at around 3K - not happy and wonder whether I actually have a lemon on my hands.

    Gordon of Adelaide of Adelaide Posted on 23 January 2012 1:26pm
  • My 2008 Captiva LX diesel had a rocker disintegrate in late December. Apparently all need to be changed simultaneously so I am looking at nearly $3K when labour is included, and $4,300 when the 90K service is figured in. Less than 11 months out of new car warranty that wasn't something that I expected. I have contacted Holden because this seems to be a quality issue with manufacture - the car is less than 4 years old! I don't think it is unreasonable for Holden to come to the party on this - waiting to hear! Generally speaking though, apart from this aberration, we are very happy with the Captiva - lots of room, economical diesel, and I haven't found the seats uncomfortable...

    Glen of Perth Posted on 03 January 2012 11:03pm
  • Its about time i read real reviews and not fabricated garbage. I got a chuckle my self about the "hell descent". Looking at buying a used captiva 2007 37`000 km. Nice to drive and the seats are fine. I did hear that fat people dont like the seats. Done alot of looking and research on my next car and the captiva out ways the others by ship loads.

    Wayne of Adelaide Posted on 22 June 2011 6:51pm
  • Have a 2008 lx petrol. Yes seats are hard as rocks, try sheepskins it helps. Front tyres need changing at only 30,000kms, and they are around $300-$400. Was recommended inflating tyres to 32 front and 30 back to help reduce tyre wear. I think it has an alignment problem because at 100 km p/h or more the steering starts to shake. Rear brake light and front indicator light have needed replacing already. Petrol consumption is NOT as quoted by Holden, more like 14 Lt/100km. Is costing $75 - $90 at each fill up. Think we may have to downsize to something more economical, we thought the 7 seats would be handy, but just not worth the extra money to run the car. Oh and not to mention the yearly service cost of $566 at Holden. This car just sucks the $$$$$ out of your pocket.

    Lisa of Bexley Posted on 09 March 2011 4:27pm
  • I just bought a 2008 Anniversary diesel model Captiva, after experiencing many, many problems with my Territory. I couldn't be happier with the Captiva, excellent fuel eco, great features and looks. Having just traded out of a Ford Territory Ghia AWD, I wish I'd done it earlier, the Captiva is by far a better SUV than the Territory. Dollar for Dollar on value the Captiva is a long way a head of the Territory, a long way!

    Chris Bone of Tasmania Posted on 25 April 2010 9:31pm
  • Have got a 2008 diesel SX. Good car, great fuel economy & good to drive but one and only complaint is front passenger seat is like sitting on a rock. Any trip longer than 2 hours almost unbearable. Would like to hear from anyone with similar complaint especially if you have come up with a workable solution.

    Keith of Ballarat Posted on 05 April 2010 5:46pm
  • Same as Geoff, very useful review. Good to see review about diesel engine. This has made my desire to get a Captiva stronger

    Lokesh Bhavsar of Melbourne Posted on 31 March 2010 9:18am
  • I believe in your write up you meant hill descent control not "hell descent control" ha ha ha. I guess it could be hell if you had no control.

    Cheryl Posted on 12 February 2010 11:55am
  • We have had our Captiva 3.2lt LX since jan 2007 apart from cruise control stalk going hay wire in the first 3 mths and then being replace we have had no problems. a down side maybe is what tyres you can and can't fit when offroad....

    Brad Hughes Posted on 21 November 2009 8:25pm
  • Terrible seats in the front other than that a good small suv did I say terrible front seats, too hard and no adjustments.

    John Dalzell Posted on 04 November 2009 10:14pm
  • i loved my 07 Turbo diesel LX Captiva until yesterday when the engine failed. Large knocking noise. 23 months old done 75000klms - initial diagnosis crank problem. Does anyone else have a similar problem? I have read other sites with petrol Captiva owners complaining about petrol engine problems?

    Ben Heilbronn of Brisbane Posted on 18 August 2009 4:12pm
  • Congratulations Cars Guide, you are the only car website I have found that provides real world fuel consumption figures for the Captiva V6.  Everyone else just seems to blindly quote the manufacturers claimed average fuel consumption.
    I can understand many owners complaining about the high fuel consumption, I am one of them.
    Oher than than the fuel consumption complaint, I have found the Captiva to be well built, easy to drive and reliable, very good in all other respects.

    Geoff Keech Posted on 30 June 2009 12:41pm
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