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2012 Holden Captiva 7 CX 2.2 diesel review

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    They have succeeded in making a silk purse from a sow's ear in the Captiva 7 diesel.

Peter Barnwell road tests and reviews the 2012 Holden Captiva 7 CX 2.2 diesel

Can I be totally frank here and say I wasn't a fan of the first model Holden Captiva - in any variant. Cheap, nasty and underdone. 

But our test drive of the Captiva 7 seven seat model was a revelation - quite stunning actually as the CX version tested stacks up strongly against anything in the class and, comparing apples with apples, costs less into the bargain. 

I am guessing here but wouldn't be surprised if the latest model is the fruit of input from Holden engineers on secondment to GM in Korea to "work some magic."


The mid-spec CX we drove is the one you'd buy because it has ample kit and the right look for a keen $39,490 - two grand under the previous model and sharper than competitors.

There are plenty of wow features too including self levelling suspension, auto headlights, fold flat second and third row seats, roof rails, hill and descent assist, rear park assist, climate control and Bluetooth phone and audio streaming.

Even the seats have faux leather side bolsters and multiple adjustment for the driver. Captiva7's appearance has been upgraded with a distinctly Hyundai Santa Fe front and funky clear lens tail lights being the focal points.

It rolls on stylish 18-in alloys with a 16-in spare under the load floor. The electric park brake is easy to use and frees space for a large storage area between the front seats.


They have succeeded in making a silk purse from a sow's ear in the Captiva 7 diesel. It has a slick six-speed auto with sequential change mode and a willing, economical turbo diesel engine driving all four wheels on demand. 

The diesel is good for a healthy 135kW/400Nm output and around 8.3-litres/100km fuel economy. That will keep Ford's new Territory diesel honest.


Safety gear includes six air bags, rollover mitigation and stability control. It has a four star crash rating. 


An engaging mainstream diesel SUV?  You bet. It handles and rides like a good European medium size SUV. We wouldn't bother with either the 3.0-litre V6 (out of Commodore) or 2.4-litre four cylinder petrol engines. 

SUVs and diesel engines go together like a hand in a glove, better again with automatic transmission. But there's more good stuff - refinement for example has taken a serious step forward in chassis dynamics, sound insulation, steering and driving feel.  

The interior is roomy and the seats are easy to operate providing a large load space when folded. The interior looks modern and functional with a mix of media for the various fascia and contact surfaces. The audio is impressive for a vehicle in this price range. 

But for satnav you'll have to buy the next model up - or use a portable system like everybody else. We didn't take the Captiva7 off road but hope it's better than the previous model which proved useless in sand.

There's no 4x4 lock up mechanism and you can't switch off the stability control so anything more than dirt road driving could be problematic. On the positive side is the Captiva7's towing capacity of 1700kg with a braked trailer.

The vehicle itself weighs nearly two tonnes. In the main, we give the new Holden Captiva7 diesel a big tick. It's an engaging drive, has tidy dynamics, goes well, uses minimal fuel and has a genuine seven seat capacity. Oh, and the price is ultra-competitive.


Price: $39,490
Warranty: 3 years, 100,000km
Resale: 56%
Source: Glass's Guide
Service Interval: 15,000km or 12-months
Economy: 8.3 l/100km, on test 10.5; 220g/km CO2
Equipment: six airbags, ABS, EBD, stability, traction and roll-over control
Crash rating: 4 out of 5 star
Engine: 135kW/400Nm 2.2-litre DOHC 16-valve common-rail direct-injection turbodiesel four-cylinder
Transmission: six-speed auto, all-wheel drive
Body: 5-door, 7 seats 
Dimensions: 4673mm (L); 1849mm (W); 1727mm (H); 2707mm (WB)
Weight: 1903kg
Tyre size: 18in alloy wheels. 235/55 R18 tyres (4)
Spare tyre: 16in steel

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 9 comments

  • I took 2012 CX diesel for a test drive and was quite impressed. Lack of a rear view camera is extremely disappointing in this modern era with such emphasis on road safety. I also felt the car pitch fore and aft as I was driving on a smooth flat road. Was it the auto levelling sorting itself out ? I don’t know.

    Potential Buyer Posted on 04 April 2014 11:41am
  • My 2010 diesel Captiva now has 80,000k and has been a perfect car. I find that services need to be done sooner rather than later as the filters need cleaning. Great for towing. Has all the power I need to pull a 18 foot van. Very happy.

    Fred from Wollongong of Wollongong Posted on 27 January 2014 3:27pm
  • 2012 Captiva AWD diesel. I have now done 30K in the country. Exhaust particulate light did not come on once during a 9K trip towing through the Red Centre but running around town the light comes on more often and requires a country drive above 50kph for 25 minutes to clear. Dam nuisance. Diesel model not for city run around. Some minor electrical issues and a set of injectors replaced under warranty. Very happy with handling, comfort & economy- settled at under 10 litres per 100 km overall (around 30mpg). Overall Happy

    Tony from Hunter Valley of Hunter Valley.NSW Posted on 26 December 2013 9:35pm
  • i have had an 09 captiva deisel for 2mths,and had problems with the deisel particle filter light on,and then the multifunction light staying on,,had to pay to get fixed at holden dealer, and they say can happen often,bought deisel cause heard they were no probles,,does anyone else get this problem,

    Ron McGuiness of Cowra Posted on 06 December 2012 9:01pm
  • Captiva2.2 L diesel is a great car.I have it for the last 8 months and had done 15,000 km.It is a great 4 WD which can cope any rough terain.It has gone to places where a Prado struggled.Smooth ride and good fuel economy.Keep the rev below 2000 rpm,the fuel economy will rise to 7.7/100km.

    Radon of Perth Posted on 15 October 2012 8:03am
  • I have had my Captiva diesel for 6 months now and can’t fault it. I have driven it through deep soft sand and it didn’t have a problem.

    Wayne of SA Posted on 06 October 2012 3:48pm
  • Hi Mike
    i have the series I captiva for almost 5 yrs. I also have fibromyalgia and i know exactly where you come from. To be honest the car still drives really good and the suspension couldnt be better and havent even changed it. I havent had much trouble with it, just serviced it whenever it needed it. I would encourage you to buy the Diesel model though it is a thirstly car but diesel should improve this issue,

    all the best.


    Angie of Sydney Posted on 23 July 2012 4:28am
  • This story writes up well and gives or begs the question:  What to buy.  Holden Captiva, huundai Sante Fe, Kia Sorento, Mazda CX5 or a Nissian Manaro ?.  The main object is a smoove and quite ride with good economy.  Wife has Fibromyalgia thus the need for a comfortable ride, even on rough bitumn.  Would a reply to e-mail “ “.. Thanks Mike Bruggy

    Mike Bruggy for Angela Gardner of Adel on holiday, home - Broken Hill Posted on 20 March 2012 6:13pm
  • Amazing towing capacity. Especially if you consider the competitor capacitys. Ford Territory, 2700 kg. Jeep Grand Cherokee, 3500 kg. Hyundai Santa Fe 2000 kg. Kia Sorento 2500 kg. Nothing positive about that, really.

    herb Posted on 20 March 2012 10:20am
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