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.
HOLDEN CAPTIVA CX
Warranty: 3 years, 100,000km
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)
Tyre size: 18in alloy wheels. 235/55 R18 tyres (4)
Spare tyre: 16in steel