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Holden Captiva 7 LX review

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    There's little in the way of ground-breaking gear here.

Stuart Martin road tests and reviews the Holden Captiva 7 LX

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  • Price
  • Space
  • Safety
  • Cabin features
  • Touch-screen satnav
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  • Ride
  • V6 engine
  • Hard seats
  • Small fuel tank
  • Six-speed auto transmission

There's a lot to be said for the Holden engineering teams' efforts with Korean-sourced product. They've not reached the dizzying heights of silk purses from sow's ears just yet, but the Cruze tweaks were worthy. It's shame they can't do more with the Captiva.

Sure, the pricepoint and features list is competitive but the new model seems to have lost its way in the dynamics stakes, with the drivetrain not compensating for it in any way other than fuel use.

We're in the LX seven-seater all-wheel drive flagship - a $2000 cheaper proposition now, priced at $42,490 or you can add $1000 and get the turbodiesel.

The Thai-built LX has a worthy features list - climate control air conditioning, power windows, three 12 volt power outlets, split second and third row seats, leather trim, power-adjustable driver's seat, automatic headlights (but no rain-sensing wipers), Bluetooth phone (which was temperamental at best) and audio link for the eight speaker sound system, cruise control, electrochromatic centre rearvision mirror, satellite navigation (with compass), tilt-and-reach adjustable leather-wrapped steering wheel, multifunction driver information display, rear parking sensors and rear camera and a trip computer.


There's little in the way of ground-breaking gear here - the three-litre direct-injection V6 claims 190kW and 288Nm on the spec sheet but it feels short of that - with 400Nm on offer from the diesel that's ample temptation for another $1000.

The V6 doesn't seem to be enamoured with the six-speed auto, which feels a little slow and confused when asked for quick action.

It lays claim to a combined fuel use figure of 11.3l/100km, while we got 13.2 during our time in the car, which was not always driven for frugality - on par with its petrol competition.

The all-wheel drive set-up is the on-demand system, which - like most of the systems seems eco-centric - takes a very long time to bring the rear wheels into play, despite extreme provocation. The delay is ample evidence to suggest anything other than fire trails and hard-packed beach sand would be a challenge.

The descent control system does a reasonable job of bringing the big SUV down a hill at a gracious pace, but serious off-road work would probably bake the brakes. Sadly, that's an issue in any of these SUVs with electronics in lieu of a good low-range.

There's a USB port within the more spacious centre console for added connectivity - the extra room comes from the inclusion of an electric park brake.


The main change aesthetically comes at the front, with a sharper, sculpted snout and more air intake grilles. The bonnet and headlights have been re-designed and seem to be following a similar path to the new Ford Territory.


The Captiva still rates a four-star crash performer but has dual front, side and full-length curtain airbags, anti-lock braking on four-wheel ventilated discs, emergency brake assist, a hill descent control system (which is too fast), electronic brakeforce distribution, rollover, stability and traction control.


Immediately the ride was a concern, very sharp over small bumps and not much better over bigger ones. A quick check with the pressure gauge prompted five pounds of pressure out of each tyre and the ride became a little less brittle, but the wagon's ride was still too firm for the rugrats and the Speaker Of The House.

Part of the problem is - regardless of the myriad seating configurations - the seats themselves are flat and not overly comfortable. The suspension's taut control does deliver flat cornering and that shows up the seating's deficiency in terms of lateral support, but the compromised ride is too hard for a family truckster.

As mentioned, the six-speed auto and the petrol V6 are not the best of bed-fellows, with a dearth of low-down torque to overcome the transmission's indecision.

The infotainment side of the cabin seems considerable, with Bluetooth phone and music link - but the system seems more adept at the latter than the former. The satellite navigation screen is clear and easy enough to use and read, but appears easily confused.

Despite claiming signal from nine satellites, the map was telling me I was driving on the South Eastern freeway when I was still well and truly on Upper Sturt Road, more than a couple of kilometres away.


Not a great step forward over its predecessor, the petrol LX has potential but needs another makeover and more input from the locals. If you have to have one, get the diesel.

Holden Captiva 7 LX

Price: from $42,490
Warranty: 3 years, 100,000km
Resale: 72%
Service Interval: 15,000km or 12-months
Economy: 11.3 l/100km, on test 13.2; 268g/km CO2, tank 65 litres
Equipment: six airbags, stability and traction control, ABS, EBD.
Crash rating: 4 star
Engine: 190kW/288Nm 3-litre DOHC direct-injection V6
Transmission: six-speed auto, all-wheel drive Body 5-door, 7 seats
Dimensions: 4673mm (L); 1849mm (W); 1727mm (H); 2707mm (WB)
Weight: 1852kg
Tyres: 19in alloy wheels. 235/50 tyres, spare TYRE Space saver (16in steel spare, 215/70 tyre)


imageToyota Kluger KX-R
PRICE: $44,490
ENGINE: 3.5-litre,V6 petrol, 201kW/337Nm
TRANS: 5-speed auto, all-wheel drive
BODY: 5-door wagon
THIRST: 11l/100km, 91 RON, CO2 259g/km


imageMazda CX-7- compare this car
PRICE: $45,990
ENGINE: 2.5-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder petrol, 175kW/350Nm
TRANS: 5-speed auto, all-wheel drive
BODY: 5-door wagon
THIRST: 11l/100km, 91 RON, CO2 259g/km

imageMitsubishi Pajero GLS- compare this car
PRICE: $60,590
ENGINE: 3.8-litre, V6 petrol, 184kW/329Nm
TRANS: 5-speed auto, all-wheel drive
BODY: 5-door wagon
THIRST: 13.5l/100km, 91 RON, CO2 322g/km


Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 15 comments

  • I bought Captiva 7LX 2012.. having some problem with air-conditioning at back.. No air vents into the middle row or the back row. So how do we resolve this problem..

    Tarun of Lower Templetowe Posted on 18 March 2014 5:57pm
  • I bought a 2013 LX diesel a week ago and have to say Im very impressed with it.
    the first 400 klm,s were highway driving as we bought it in Gladstone it has now done 587 klm,s and is showing slightly over 1/2 full the computer is saying 390 klm,s left.
    I have test driven most of the other brands and came back to the LX Captiva. we had the petrol SX for 2 years and couldn’t fault that either,( not one warranty claim) it was slightly under powered compared to the diesel however.
    I have had no problems with the blue tooth, it works fine with my iphone 5.
    The quality of roads we have in Central Qld is a good test for any vehicle and both Captivas have delivered a smooth ride and good to handle under these conditions, I definitely recommend them.

    Charlie Tudor of Emerald Qld Posted on 03 November 2013 6:20am
  • I purchased cx captiva 7 seats 2011 one of the first series ll.  Car has been returned to service centre 8 occasions minimum outside of service. Oil leaks, tyres replaced at 150000, breakdowns interstate due to computer malfunction and the story continues as it just broke down again!

    sad captiva owner of new south wales Posted on 14 April 2013 4:02pm
  • DO NOT BUY A CAPTIVA. We have bought a LX 2008 model new, straight of the floor. Nothing but trouble. We have yet to complete 80,000km and are up to the 3rd set of tyres, due to Holden not having an adjustable camber kit within the captiva, hopefully that they have fixed for others, but the fuel consumption is crap, we use 11.9ltrs per 100kms and that is for the diesel. Holden do not back there products, especially when they know about the problem, but refuse to fix whilst within warranty.

    FrustratedFamilyCar of Brisbane Qld Posted on 12 February 2013 12:30pm
  • I’m considering buying a LX 2012 DT and have test driven one a number of times.  The car seems really nice, though I have read a number of comments about the fuel consumption not being up to its rating.  I was watching a youtube clip on one of the vehicles in that range and it only met it’s consumption specs when driving on the highway at 80kph.  Maybe the same deal with the Captiva.  My neighbour has one and has taken it into the dealer already to have the engine replaced after about 500km!!  Also, the bluetooth annoys me, my wifes basic KIA Rio has a better bluetooth system.  This one can’t even upload contacts or use voice recog to make calls - it may be phone compatibility, but I have a Samsung Galaxy, so it should manage it.  Was so close to buying it, not I’m not so sure.

    Chris of Canberra Posted on 08 October 2012 10:34am
  • I purchased my lx captiva diesel in Feb 2012. I have now done 13000 km and considering I do a lot of hills driving my average fuel consumption, based on my girl use and distance averages out at 10.2 l/100k the best tank returned 9.77 l/100k.  I’m yet to go on a trip from Adelaide to Melbourne so I’m curious as to how it will perform on a long trip. The inbuilt computer display shows 10.3.  The car has loosened up quite a bit since new and seems to have a bit more go than when it was new. I use Proma diesel additive in my vehicle (1ml per litre) and I know it’s good. I have a Scanguage 2 connected to my obd II port and it’s been useful in resetting a couple of trouble codes.
    One code related to a throttle issue. hasn’t returned but I’ve documented it and will report at my next service. The other code was an unknown one..But that hasn’t returned either. In regard to the GPS… It’s pathetic. My Navman eats it hands down. The on board GPS gives poor speed readings, it can’t navigate anywhere as well as a stand alone navigator or my Google Maps on my Android Smartphone. On the plus side I love the reversing camera.

    Stan Jezioranski of Bridgewater. South Australia Posted on 05 October 2012 12:10am
  • In the story it briefly mentions the Yerritory but at the end it doesn’t rate it as a rival yet we all know that Holden dumped this other piece of Korean junk on us to combat the Ford. Ford are to blame for their poor sales due to a lack of advertising but the journo’s are as much to blame for their lack of promotion of local products.

    David Pickford of Indonesia Posted on 25 September 2012 12:12pm
  • I have a 6 month old captiva LX diesel.  I have had nothing but trouble with this car.  The airconditioning has failed 4 times , sent back to the dealer 4 times and also has an intermittant problem with the gps/fuel consumption/airconditioning screen.  when you go to start the car the screen just does not work.  Every time ive taken it back to get fixed, it works properly yet the dealer failed to pull it out and have a look for loose wires or something simple behind the dash.

    The fuel consumption with the diesel is between 10 and 11.5 ltrs per 100 kms and the car has now about 7000 ks on it.

    The dealer told me that is normal and swept that under the carpet also. 

    I brought a lemon and holden sucks.  However, they finally did fix the airconditioning problem.  As I told them, it was the condensor.  Yes if i wanted to get 11.5 ltrs per 100 ks, I would have brought a petrol captiva.  How many other people have had this problem?
    Thank you,

    David MacLeod of Fern Bay, Nsw 2295. Posted on 22 September 2012 1:28pm
  • Confidence in this vehicle is now low after our roller rockers apparently “shattered” and shot the pins into the engine. It was only 4 years and 60k. Thankfully Holden came to the party and fixed it although I was just out of warranty. The previous major event was when we had many warning lights come on the dash, the car lost power and got stuck in a fixed gear.  Took a few tries with the workshop (couldn’t replicate the problem) and it was finally identified as poor electrical connections. It’s had 3 recalls, and quite a number of warranty part replacements in it’s young life. Leaves me wondering about Holden’s QC!

    Dan of Sydney Posted on 29 August 2012 6:27pm
  • with regards to 3 child seats it will be tough squeeze - ive got 1 booster seat and one new born seat and there is enough space for a slender person on the 3rd seat- depends on the width of the child seats . id suggest u measure each child seat.,

    Holden 7 Lx of Sydney Posted on 15 August 2012 1:22pm
  • Can you get three childseats in back

    Dad to be Posted on 09 August 2012 3:08am
  • Don’t touch them! There is a noise in the vehicle. Holden can’t tell us hat it is after having the vehicle for 3-weeks. Therefore we don’t know if it’s a safety issue or something that may crop up later.


    Unhappy customer Posted on 27 July 2012 2:06am
  • Don’t touch them! There is a noise in the vehicle. Holden can’t tell us hat it is after having the vehicle for 3-weeks. Therefore we don’t know if it’s a safety issue or something that may crop up later.


    Unhappy customer Posted on 26 July 2012 7:47pm
  • Bought a brand new LX diesel and on 2000km was told the engine has to be removed due to an oil leak.  Still awaiting a response from Holden Ltd in Melbourne.

    Stuart of Brisbane Posted on 18 July 2012 10:12am
  • I can tell you from my experience that the captiva (a diesel no less) is unreliable, fault ridden and altogether unsafe. Stuart I suggest you ask Holden about the captiva’s known roller rocker bearing failure issues (resulting in catastrophic engine self destruction). This happened to us on a brand new model at 4 years and 45k.  When approached after repair to ascertain if the problem was part related, design related and if it was now safe to drive Holden customer service advised that Holden was not prepared to comment at that time and hung up.

    Unhappy Holden customer of Brisbane Posted on 09 June 2012 8:00am
Read all 15 comments

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