Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Sorry, there are no cars that match your search

Holden Captiva used review: 2006-2017


David Morley
Reviewed & driven by

24 Apr 2020

Holden came to the SUV party quite late and, without a home-brewed SUV of its own, it gave us the Captiva, a rebadged Daewoo.

What do we love about the Holden Captiva?

The Captiva’s formula has always been a simple one: Lots of car (and seats) for the money.

Earlier versions could be had with a five-seat layout, but in the very last of them, Holden was offering just the seven-seat layout as acknowledgement that this was a pragmatic family purchase in the majority of cases.

You also got lots of choice with two or four-wheel-drive and petrol or turbo-diesel power.

What do we dislike?

The Captiva was never perfect and betrays its Daewoo roots in its noisy operation, sometimes ordinary build quality and a lack of any real athleticism.

The car is not without its mechanical bogeys, either.

Does the Holden Captiva have any common problems, issues or faults?

A turbo-diesel Captiva carries the same caveats, issues, complaints, problems, common faults and reliability issues as any other make or model diesel with a soot filter fitted.

That includes the chance that the filter will never get hot enough in urban driving to clean itself. Manually cleaning or even replacing the filter (in a worst-case scenario) equals big dollars.

Diesel fuel-injectors can also have a short life, particularly if the vehicle has been used to tow heavy loads.

The turbo-diesel engine also required replacement of the toothed rubber timing belt at 90,000km, so be very wary of a diesel Captiva with 85,000km that seems like a steal.

The earlier two-litre diesel was also prone to bearing failure in the rocker arms, a problem made worse by a lack of servicing.

Holden eventually even issued a recall to fix the affected vehicles.

The petrol V6 engine uses a timing chain rather than a belt, but these are prone to stretching, at which point they require replacement.

Given the east-west engine location in the Captiva, this is not an easy (nor, therefore, cheap) job.

The problem is more likely to crop up in cars that have suffered skipped oil changes, so a look at the service handbook will tell you a lot.

The first signs of a stretched timing chain might be a rattling noise from the top of the engine when it’s hot, or a 'check-engine' light on the dashboard as the computer becomes confused by the slack chain.

The V6 has also been accused of rough running and a poor idle and the usual solution is to fill the tank with premium ULP rather than the standard 91-octane fuel.

That will often fix the problem but adds considerably to the running-cost bottom line.

The other fix for the same problem is sometimes to replace the oxygen sensor.

Again, a bung sensor will often trigger a dashboard light but some Captivas have also taken it upon themselves to randomly switch on their `ECU’ light.

Some owners have reported replacing the on-board computer multiple times to try to fix this and other electrical problems, including a sudden loss of power which the trade reckons is a faulty connector in the wiring harness.

In that case the fix is simple; the connector which has acquired moisture needs to be dried out and re-sealed, but that’s only possible once the problem has been diagnosed.

Anybody who has replaced tyres on a Captiva may also have discovered that the vehicle seems very difficult to wheel-align correctly.

The wheel-alignment industry reckons the Holden is very hard to accurately set-up, but incorrect camber settings (in particular) will lead to accelerated tyre wear.

The Captiva has also been prone to automatic transmission problems, apart from getting used to the sometimes patchy shift pattern that seems part and parcel of the vehicle.

Problems include a loss of drive or failure to select a particular gear.

Holden was replacing entire transmissions in some cases.

The odd thump of bang from the gearbox is also not uncommon, particularly when shifting back to first gear.

To check for specific problems and their solutions, check out our Holden Captiva problems page.

How much does a Holden Captiva cost?

Since it was on sale for 11 years and available in a huge range of combinations of engine, driveline and trim, the Captiva price list was always a long one.

As a guide, though, the earliest, simplest versions of the car now start at around for around the $6000 mark, while a mid-spec, post-facelift turbo-diesel will be closer to $12,000 or $13,000 and is probably the better buy.

As with all deals, make sure the price is either drive away, or that all the extras on-road costs are clearly spelled out.

For the full run-down on pricing and specifications of a used Captiva, check out our online guide.

  • 2006 Holden Captiva MaXX five-seat. 2006 Holden Captiva MaXX five-seat.
  • 2006 Holden Captiva MaXX five-seat. 2006 Holden Captiva MaXX five-seat.
  • 2006 Holden Captiva MaXX five-seat. 2006 Holden Captiva MaXX five-seat.
  • 2006 Holden Captiva MaXX five-seat. 2006 Holden Captiva MaXX five-seat.
  • 2006 Holden Captiva MaXX five-seat. 2006 Holden Captiva MaXX five-seat.

How much storage space does the Captiva have?

Like a lot of station-wagon SUVs, the Captiva has enough boot space until you fill all seven seats at which point the size of the luggage space shrinks dramatically.

The luggage cover is redundant at that point, too, as is a cargo barrier.

Roof rails were standard, so roof racks are one solution, but the Holden’s relatively narrow body limits things, too.

What is the Holden Captiva towing capacity?

The turbo-diesel version had slightly less towing capacity (1700kg plays 2000kg) than the petrol version, but a tow-bar was still a popular accessory on a diesel Captiva.

To be honest, the diesel was the better towing vehicle because of the way it made its power and torque lower in its rev range.

The revvier V6 made harder work of hauling a trailer.

What colours is the Captiva available in?

Captiva buyers seemed to tread the middle ground with their colour choices, so you’ll find plenty of sober silvers, whites, black grey and even metallic red cars out there.

Also available was a metallic oyster colour that could pass for gold and the usual; suspects like metallic blue.

There was also a popular metallic orange that was similar to a very popular colour in Holden Commodores of about 20 years ago.

Are there any must have accessories?

On earlier cars, the smart accessory to add is a reversing camera.

This make the car much safer in driveways and car-parks.

Adding bigger alloy rims to a Captiva is fine as long as you don’t go too low in the new tyre’s profile.

That will make the firm ride even firmer.

Many dealers threw in floor mats when the car was sold new, but a mat in the luggage area is also a good idea.

Which version of the Captiva is the best?

Spanning more than a decade and one major facelift, there’s lots of choice in Captivas including no less than five engines, two or four-wheel-drive, five or seven seats and plenty of trim specifications.

Broadly, though, the pick of the range would be a later (post-2011) high specification turbo-diesel model.

Find a high-spec version on the basis that it won’t cost much more than a base-model these days, while the turbo-diesel is a better match with the automatic transmission, is more relaxed and uses less fuel.

  • 2011 Holden Captiva Series II seven-seat. 2011 Holden Captiva Series II seven-seat.
  • 2011 Holden Captiva Series II seven-seat. 2011 Holden Captiva Series II seven-seat.
  • 2011 Holden Captiva Series II seven-seat. 2011 Holden Captiva Series II seven-seat.
  • 2011 Holden Captiva Series II seven-seat. 2011 Holden Captiva Series II seven-seat.
  • 2011 Holden Captiva Series II seven-seat. 2011 Holden Captiva Series II seven-seat.
  • 2011 Holden Captiva Series II seven-seat. 2011 Holden Captiva Series II seven-seat.
  • 2011 Holden Captiva Series II seven-seat. 2011 Holden Captiva Series II seven-seat.
  • 2011 Holden Captiva Series II seven-seat. 2011 Holden Captiva Series II seven-seat.
  • 2011 Holden Captiva Series II seven-seat. 2011 Holden Captiva Series II seven-seat.
  • 2011 Holden Captiva Series II seven-seat. 2011 Holden Captiva Series II seven-seat.
  • 2011 Holden Captiva Series II seven-seat.
2011 Holden Captiva Series II seven-seat.
 

How does the Captiva compare to its rivals?

The Captiva didn’t fare too well as a new car when compared with its direct competitors.

Both the Ford Territory and Toyota Kluger were better vehicles to drive and own, and it was only really the keen pricing that got the Holden over the line in many cases.

Nothing has changed now the car is a second-hand prospect.

What are the key stats & specs of Holden Captiva engine?

Because the Captiva was sold for many years, there are plenty of variations under the bonnet.

The first cars launched with either a V6 petrol or a turbo-diesel motor, with 169kW and 110kW respectively.

Typically, though, the turbo-diesel made plenty of torque. It also had a diesel particulate filter as part of its specifications to clean up its emissions.

A cheaper, 2.4-litre petrol four-cylinder with 103kW arrived in 2010 and, in 2011, the Captiva got new engines with a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel making 135kW and a slightly smaller V6 petrol that made 190kW.

Interestingly, the new V6 shared a lot of its engine specs with the engine in the Holden Commodore at the time.

Does the Captiva come in diesel?

The Captiva came along at a time when the petrol vs diesel debate was raging.

As such, it was available in both forms.

What is the Holden Captiva fuel consumption?

Good fuel consumption has always been a diesel long suit, so the turbo-diesel Captiva shines in this department.

An official combined figure of 7.3 litres per 100km in all-wheel-drive form for the first diesel is pretty good.

The earlier V6, by comparison, used 11.5 litres per 100km on the same test.

The facelifted Captiva’s diesel fuel economy was about the same as the first version, while the new, slightly smaller V6 recorded just over 10 litres per 100km on test.

The four-cylinder petrol split those results with 9.1 litres per 100km.

Drivers of the facelifted Captiva could also select Eco Mode for the transmission which forced the gearbox to shift up gears earlier to save fuel.

How much does it cost to replace the battery on a Captiva?

A quality Australian-made battery to suit the Captiva will cost about $250.

What features come standard with the Captiva?

The Captiva was always a pretty well equipped car for the money, so most of what you need is part of the deal.

As with all cars, though, later models were generally better specified.

Cruise-control was always fitted to all Captivas, and a rear parking sensor was standard also.

A front parking sensor became standard from 2010 models onwards.

Keyless entry was included cross the board, and the spare tyre was a space-saver throughout the model’s life.

Bluetooth connectivity only became available on the base-model after 2015 but a reversing camera became standard on high-spec models from the 2011 facelift.

  • 2011 Holden Captiva Series II five-seat. 2011 Holden Captiva Series II five-seat.
  • 2011 Holden Captiva Series II five-seat. 2011 Holden Captiva Series II five-seat.
  • 2011 Holden Captiva Series II five-seat. 2011 Holden Captiva Series II five-seat.
  • 2011 Holden Captiva Series II five-seat. 2011 Holden Captiva Series II five-seat.
  • 2011 Holden Captiva Series II five-seat. 2011 Holden Captiva Series II five-seat.
  • 2011 Holden Captiva Series II five-seat. 2011 Holden Captiva Series II five-seat.

What features can you upgrade?

The Captiva wasn’t really upgraded too much by owners.

There was enough choice of specification when they were new to avoid that, plus they weren’t really a car for the enthusiast who didn’t mind spending more on their car as the years passed.

You might find the odd country-based Captiva with an aftermarket nudge-bar or bullbar, but given the car’s zero off-road credentials, they didn’t get plastered with side-steps, LED headlights, light bars or bigger alloy wheels.

We’re yet to see one with a body kit and the wagon layout means even a rear spoiler was a non-starter.

Actually, the Captiva must rate as one of the most unmodified cars out there.

Basically, you specced it how you wanted it at the dealership, and left it at that.

The exception was an aftermarket reversing camera which made the car much safer for families and was a popular add-on.

Is the Captiva available as a manual?

No, the only gearbox ever offered on the Captiva was an automatic transmission.

How many seats does the Holden Captiva have?

The Captiva could be had as either a five or seven-seater.

Both sets of rear seats could be folded or laid flat, and the middle row of seats had a 60:40 split.

Only higher-spec versions of the car got leather seats.

How does the Captiva feel to drive?

The biggest driving issue with the Captiva was probably its too-firm suspension.

The engineers tightened this up to make the car corner a bit more gracefully, but ride quality was the loser.

The turbo-diesel engines are effortless and relaxed and work well with the automatic gearbox, although the earlier diesel is pretty noisy and rattly in the cabin.

Meanwhile the four-cylinder petrol engine was simply gutless and, fundamentally, charmless.

The V6 is smoother and offers up more outright performance and a shorter 0-100 time, but needs to be revved to produce the goods, so it’s harder work to drive than a diesel Captiva.

The V6 also seems less of a perfect match with the transmission which can clunk and bang and throw up some strange shifting patterns.

That’s true of both the earlier five-speed auto and the later six-speed unit.

The Captiva will also be compromised if a previous owner has fitted cheap replacement tyres

How does the Captiva interior look & feel?

There’s a fairly generic look and feel to the Holden’s cabin, mainly because of the grey plastic that covers most surfaces.

There’s the odd splash of chrome here and there, but it’s otherwise a little bleak, particularly in the lower-spec variants.

A car with the optional panoramic sunroof will feel much airier and nicer to be in.

The radio unit includes a CD player (but no DVD player) and the touch-screen is a bit on the small side.

Some owners have found that the front seats of the Captiva are also a bit too firm.

What are the dimensions of the Captiva?

Although it’s a family car, the Captiva is really half a size smaller than some of its competition.

A Ford Territory, for instance, is a good 10 or 20cm bigger in most directions.

That limits the Holden’s interior space a little, and families with older, bigger kids might find it a bit tight in terms of its interior dimensions.

For the record, the Captiva is 4637mm long, 1849mm wide and has a wheelbase of 2707mm.

It’s not light, either, and the V6 version with all-wheel-drive tips the scales at more than 1800kg with a full tank of fuel.

  • 2017 Holden Captiva LTZ. 2017 Holden Captiva LTZ.
  • 2017 Holden Captiva LTZ. 2017 Holden Captiva LTZ.
  • 2017 Holden Captiva LTZ. 2017 Holden Captiva LTZ.
  • 2017 Holden Captiva LTZ. 2017 Holden Captiva LTZ.
  • 2017 Holden Captiva LTZ. 2017 Holden Captiva LTZ.
  • 2017 Holden Captiva LTZ. 2017 Holden Captiva LTZ.
  • 2017 Holden Captiva LTZ. 2017 Holden Captiva LTZ.

Is the Captiva 4wd and can you use it off-road?

Captivas fitted with the V6 engine had all-wheel-drive (AWD) as standard.

Turbo-diesel examples could be ordered with AWD optionally.

The rest were front-wheel-drive vehicles.

But even with AWD fitted, the Captiva is not an off-road vehicle.

It lacks the ground clearance, wheel articulation and gearing to tackle anything more than a gravel road or a trip to the snowfields.

Does the Captiva have a timing belt or chain?

Depending on whether you have a petrol or diesel Captiva will determine whether you need to periodically change a timing belt.

The petrol engines use timing chains, but the diesel uses a rubber belt which must be changed at the appropriate interval.

How reliable is the Captiva?

Proper servicing is crucial to the Captiva’s long-term reliability.

Even then, some reliability issues like stretched timing chains in the later V6, turbo-diesel engine failures and transmission problems certainly won’t go away with time and kilometres.

A well-serviced, low-kilometre example is the best way to get a reliable Captiva, but there are no guarantees.

Really common issues or problems are likely to appear on our Holden Captiva problems page.

Is the Captiva expensive to maintain?

Not really. Provided the car is in good condition when you get it, regular maintenance won’t break the bank.

The turbo-diesel version needs an eye kept on the soot-filter, though, to avoid costly replacement down the track.

The Captiva wouldn’t present too many problems for the home mechanic, either, when it comes to an oil and filter change.

Holden last year announced the option of capped price servicing for very Holden ever made, including the Captiva.

By taking up this option, you’ll know the service cost before you take the car in to the dealership, so it’s good peace of mind.

The details for Holden's servicing are here.

What is the fuel tank capacity of the Captiva?

The Captiva has a 65-litre fuel tank which is a good size considering its fuel consumption.

How safe is the Holden Captiva?

The earlier version of the Captiva (sold up until 2011) scored four stars for crash-safety.

The upgraded model, thanks to better standard safety equipment, scored a five-star safety rating in the same test.

ANCAP’s used-car assessment program rated the early Captiva as a three-star performer and the later version a four-star car.

All Captivas got front, side and curtain air-bags, except the base-model built prior to 2007 which missed out on curtain air-bags.

Does the Captiva have ISOFIX points?

All Captivas sold in Australia had Isofix child-restraint mounts.
 

Does the Holden Captiva have Sat Nav?

Only later model Captivas in higher specification levels got a GPS navigation system. Check each car carefully for the options you want as they Captiva ran for many years and was constantly upgraded.

  • 2017 Holden Captiva LS. 2017 Holden Captiva LS.
  • 2017 Holden Captiva LS. 2017 Holden Captiva LS.
  • 2017 Holden Captiva LS. 2017 Holden Captiva LS.
  • 2017 Holden Captiva LS. 2017 Holden Captiva LS.
  • 2017 Holden Captiva LS. 2017 Holden Captiva LS.
  • 2017 Holden Captiva LS. 2017 Holden Captiva LS.
  • 2017 Holden Captiva LS. 2017 Holden Captiva LS.
  • 2017 Holden Captiva LS. 2017 Holden Captiva LS.

Does the Captiva have Apple CarPlay?

Where can you download the Holden Captiva owner’s manual?

A free PDF of the owners manual can be downloaded from here.

How many years and kms does the warranty last?

Captivas sold after July 1, 2018 gained from Holden’s decision to extend its factory warranty to five-years and unlimited kilometres.

So, some late Captivas will still have plenty of this cover remaining.

Unfortunately, the extension wasn’t retrospective, and earlier examples made do with the standard three-years/100,000km warranty, meaning almost none of them would still be covered.

Who makes the Holden Captiva?

The Captiva was fundamentally a rebadged Daewoo with some retuning for Australia.
 

Where is the Holden Captiva made?

The Captiva is manufactured in South Korea where it is built alongside the same vehicle with Daewoo (and Chevrolet) badges.

Read More: Family advice

What is the resale value of a Captiva?

The Captiva’s patchy reputation meant that it wasn’t a great performer when it came to resale value.

That’s great news for used-car buyers, though, and cements the car’s place as good value on a per-kilo basis.

For the full story on resale values, check out our Price & Spec page.

When to replace the timing belt of a Holden Captiva?

The turbo-diesel engine in the Captiva needs its timing belt changed every 90,000km.
 

How to open the fuel cap on a Holden Captiva?

On the driver’s armrest is a button that will unlock the flap that covers the fuel cap.

The fuel cap is on the driver’s side of the car.

Is the Holden Captiva a Good Car?

The list of known faults with the Captiva makes it a bit of a lottery, especially if it’s travelled a lot of kilometres.

Neither is it especially good to drive or sit it, meaning that it’s real selling point hasn’t changed over the years: It’s plenty of car for the money being asked.

If you need to seat seven people and do so on a budget, then the Holden starts to come into the reckoning, but you must buy one with a full service history and signs of being cared for over the years, not just tizzied up for sale.
 



Comments