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Holden Captiva 7 review

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    Cornering in the Captiva is smooth at high speeds on long sweeping bends.

Murray Hubbard road tests and review the Holden Captiva 7, with specs, fuel economy and verdict.

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
Weight: 1852kg
Engine: 3.0-litre 6-cylinder, 190kW/288Nm
Transmission: 6-speed sports automatic, 4X4 on demand
Thirst: 10.1L/100Km, 241CO2 emissions


Toyota Kluger KX-R
Price: from $44,490
Engine: 3.5-litre,V6 petrol, 201kW/337Nm
Transmission: 5-speed auto, all-wheel drive
Thirst: 11l/100km, 91 RON, CO2 259g/km



Toyota Kluger - see other Toyota Kluger verdicts




Mitsubishi Pajero GLS
Price: $60,590
Engine: 3.8-litre, V6 petrol, 184kW/329Nm
Transmission: 5-speed auto, all-wheel drive
Thirst: 13.5l/100km, 91 RON, CO2 322g/km



Mitsubishi Pajero - see other Mitsubishi Pajero verdicts




Mazda CX-7
Price: from $45,990
Engine: 2.5-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder petrol, 175kW/350Nm
Transmission: 5-speed auto, all-wheel drive
Thirst: 11l/100km, 91 RON, CO2 259g/km



Mazda CX-7 - see other Mistubishi CX-7 verdicts







Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 9 comments

  • Just purchased my third Diesel Captiva 7, now the LT MY14. While I hear the concerns of other owners, I have found the Captiva CX value for money, reliable and overall a good car. Test drove the Santa fe and Kia Sorrento and while nice cars are more expensive. The LT seems more refined than the previous Series II and with N/C extras thrown in, there is more reason to consider this option.

    David Waudby of Camden Sydney Posted on 09 April 2014 12:49pm
  • I drive a 2010 run out Captiva 7 LX
    Overall I love it. Everything works just fine except the GPS - it’s hopeless and takes the most inane routes . It invited us to leave the Hume Fwy and trek through snowy dirt tracks to get to Canberra. Accommodation and visibility are excellent and service costs low. I would buy again

    Peter of Vic Posted on 19 February 2014 8:05pm
  • We have a diesel SX model and have had a lot of trouble with it- we regret our purchase. The DPF warning light comes on regularly, the fan comes on after it is switched off and sounds like a plane taking off, and under low RPM, it shudders or has power surges. Our dealer tells us this is a “characteristic"of the Captiva??????

    Jane of Australia Posted on 30 January 2014 8:55pm
  • This review is way too kind to the Captiva. You can only asume the people buying them cant be bothered test driving anything else and they’re just Holden fans.

    Jason Stewart Posted on 11 December 2013 10:50am
  • Murray Hubbard nice review if reviews were to focus only on the bad points you obviously have something against holdens as you have bagged this one senseless. You are the most negative person and how you got a job road testing cars is beyond me good job mate.

    Jason Posted on 11 December 2013 10:00am
  • Here’s the warning- my Craptiva in 5 years old and has done 150,000km of country driving for the most part. This year, we have spent more than $7500 in repairs and the car is nowhere near saleable. My mechanic tells me that this car’s diesel engine famously gives up the ghost between 120 and 150000km. he tells me that unless i get rid of it, i will need the engine rebuilt in another 80-100,000km. A lot of the electrical gadgets stopped working years ago. I will NEVER buy another Holden so long as I live. I came from a Toyota (350,000km and I only ever replaced batteries, tires and one alternator), and to Toyota I shall return

    BendigoFamily of Bendigo Posted on 27 September 2013 9:10pm
  • We bought our SX diesel 7 seater last year and loving it. We actually like the so call ’ Bench Seats’. They are firm, but not that uncomfortable and we found the seats really supportive.
    The economy isn’t too bad since we got the diesel version, on average, we got about 11L/100km. The kids love the 3rd row, my 12 years old said there was heaps on room back there and she is about 152cm in height. The electronic gadgets are good and easy to use. All and all, we like our Captiva.

    Viv Mcquinn of Brisbane Posted on 22 August 2013 4:42pm
  • I clicked on this section telling me it was about large SUV’s, well where are the road tests on the Ford Expidition or Expidition EL or the Lincoln counter parts?  No road test for the 2014 Chevrolet Suburban/Tahoe or GMC Denalli XL.  Plenty of small and mid size vehicles here but not a full size SUV to be seen!

    Richard W of Sydney Posted on 22 August 2013 8:44am
  • Got my V6 LX 7 seater 3 months ago and have to say it is great value for money.  Has all the bells and whistles and big enough for a large family.  The rear seats have good room for mid sized kids and the other seating is comfortable and roomy. Good quality build and electronics are intuitive enough for most people.  The only disappointment was the fuel economy isn’t as good as reported.  About 14l/100k city driving.

    S. MORRIS of Australia Posted on 05 April 2013 5:52pm
Read all 9 comments

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