Car reviews - Holden - Captiva - LTZ turbo-diesel
Price, features, seating flexibility, cabin space, connectivity
Room for improvement
Refinement and noise insulation, ride and handling foibles, rear ventilation, full-length curtain airbags
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9 Nov 2016
Price and equipment
THE diesel incarnation of the Captiva LTZ starts from $41,490 plus on-road costs, a $1000 jump from the petrol-powered equivalent, which is not the biggest difference between petrol and diesels in the market.
The LTZ runs 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Hankook Optima 235/50 series tyres, with a flat tyre inflation kit or optional 16-inch steel spare on offer.
The features list also includes heated power-adjustable exterior mirrors, side steps, flat-folding second- and third-row seating for seven, leather trim, a power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, reach and rake adjustment for the leather-wrapped steering wheel, auto headlights, trip computer and cruise control.
The satellite navigation on an LTZ was once integrated but is now run through the smartphone integration system – Apple CarPlay or Android Auto depending on your allegiance.
It’s a better method than the app-based system that previously afflicted the Holden MyLink set-up, although data usage and network coverage will hamper it when away from the metropolitan area but Captiva isn’t really an off-roader, but more on that later.
The infotainment system is displayed and controlled on a 7.0-inch touchscreen that has auxiliary, Bluetooth and two USB ports for music input (although missing the digital radio reception of some Holdens), with a decent noise from eight speakers the result.
There’s also dual-zone climate control but with no vents for the second or third row, the system will be working hard to keep the two rearward passengers cool if you’re taking half a cricket team to a match on a typical Australian summer’s day.
All three rows do get access to 12v outlets to charge power-hungry devices (or run hand-held fans) – there’s three – and the features list also has Isofix child seat anchor points, keyless entry and ignition, an electric park brake, heated front seats and auto-dimming centre mirror.
The cabin has had less of a makeover than the mildly-restyled exterior, the bulk of the change coming from the revamped centre stack with smartphone integration.
The centre stack’s climate control setup is cleaner and easier to use, with good storage between the front seats.
The best aspect of the in-cabin storage is not immediately obvious – slide the two cupholders aft and there’s a sizeable storage cubby beneath, one that’s not always obvious to the smash-and-grab car thief brigade.
Seating is trimmed in leather which doesn’t feel as plush as some, with a firm and flat cushion which leaves occupants ‘on’ rather than ‘in’ the seat and wishing for more lateral support as well as comfort.
The driver gets clear and uncluttered instruments, with a ‘vintage’ blue digital centre information display showing the car’s fuel use and mileage.
There’s also a leather-wrapped steering wheel with cruise and audio functions, the latter a frustration to use – pushing the rocker switch changes the source of the music and flicking up and down changes tracks or stations, but more often than not, a track change results in switching music sources.
It’s a problem common to Holden, which has the offending switches in a number of its models and shouldn’t.
The third row folds out of the floor to give reasonable leg and foot room to smaller adults or juvenile occupants, with a claimed 85 litres of cargo space behind them (which is far from segment-leading), although the 60/40 split fold means a roadside entry to the third row if you only want to fold one seating position forward.
With the third row unused the cargo capacity swells to 465 litres, rising to 930 litres if there’s only two occupants on board.
The front passenger’s seat can also fold down to add a long-load dimension to the Captiva, with Holden claiming 1565 litres for a driver riding solo.
Engine and transmission
The LTZ on test is fitted with the optional 2.2-litre common-rail direct-injection turbo-diesel four-cylinder and in many respects it’s the preferable powerplant.
While it is a little noisier than the standard V6 petrol engine, which produces 190kW and 288Nm, the 3.0-litre petrol engine is thirstier previous experience also suggests a mismatch between V6 and automatic transmission ratios that hamper driveability.
The diesel has an iron block and alloy head, using a variable-geometry turbo and double overhead cams to control 16 valves, the result being 135kW at 3800rpm and a useful 400Nm of torque at 2000rpm.
Also teamed to GM’s own six-speed auto, the diesel seems better attuned to the auto and makes good use of the engine’s pulling power, allowing the driver to roll along in an unfussed manner – a good thing too as it’s still a noisy powerplant.
Fuel use under the laboratory derived ADR combined cycle is a claimed 8.5 litres per 100km from the 65 litre tank and our time in the car yielded a reasonable 10.8L/100km at a suburbanesque 34km/h average speed, not a bad number considering it’s a two-tonne vehicle once lightly laden.
The update also brought with it a change in towing capacity – it now sits on equal terms with the petrol V6’s 2000kg braked towing capacity, with the 750kg unbraked rating unchanged.
The all-wheel-drive system is an on-demand front-biased system with no ability to lock the drive into a 50/50 split front to rear.
It then relies on its sensors to bring the electronically controlled electro-hydraulic differential into play, sending drive to the rear end as required – fast dirt, a firm-packed beach, snowfields (with chains) or a sodden sports ground are probably the extent of its off-road scope, especially given only 200mm of ground clearance and the low-slung front splitter.
Ride and handling
It would be unfair to suggest the Captiva is averse to grot in its wheel arches – it can handle a decent dirt road at an indecent speed, but sticking to its sealed surface forte is a better option.
The Captiva is best described as serviceable, with a ride quality that has improved, coping sufficiently with larger bumps the self-levelling rear multi-link setup and the MacPherson strut front end still get a little perturbed by some smaller imperfections, with little assistance from the 50-profile Hankook rubber.
It can get a little tiresome if the road surfaces are constantly patchy and pockmarked, fidgeting over some smaller ruts and showing its age in terms of the refinement levels present in newer market entrants.
The result is a suspension that gets the job done in metropolitan work with little serious cause for complaint, but asking more than sedentary pace in the bends does little to endear it to the driver.
Again, it gets the job done without excessive bodyroll, but some will tire of the steering and the nose-heavy demeanour when pushed.
Safety and servicing
Another area where the Captiva is now showing its age is in the safety features realm – it does have dual front, front side and curtain airbags, but just as the third row has been forgotten in ventilation terms, the curtain airbags don’t stretch past the back door – something others in this segment have rectified and an oversight that counts against the Holden.
The drivetrain is aided by the inclusion of stability, traction and rollover control systems, as well as ascent and descent control, anti-lock function for the four-wheel ventilated disc brakes, brake force distribution and emergency braking assist.
There are also LED daytime running lights, front and rear foglights, heated exterior mirrors, front and rear parking sensors (which disturbingly use the same alert beeper as other less serious functions), a reversing camera (which is susceptible to dust, grainy at best in daylight and not great at night), a blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert systems.
Automatic dusk-sensing headlights are on the features list but there’s no rain-sensing function for the variable intermittent wipers.
Along with sharper pricing, the sales and marketing crew at Holden have also added deals involving roadside assistance and the capped price servicing due every 9 months or 15,000km, but the listed servicing prices range from $379 to $439 for the diesel drivetrain, up from $279 to $339 for the equivalent petrol model.
Holden’s factory warranty stands at 3 years or 100,000km, with the option of extending that warranty by up to three years and 175,000km – for an extra $2090.
Holden’s seven-seater SUV has long been the winner on pricing and features and if that is the only consideration then it’s a value-for-money kid-carter that can be bought at the time of writing with after-sales insurance and warranty extras galore.
But if the peace of mind that comes with more modern safety features, a longer warranty or a nicer set of road manners is part of the buying equation, there are better vehicles on offer for not a great deal more.
Kia Sorento AWD Si CRDi from $44,490 plus on-road costs
An impressive offering from the much-improved brand, the Sorento now leans more toward the bitumen and does so with distinction. Well-featured in equipment and safety spec, and backed by a class-leading seven-year warranty and capped-service schedule, there’s no petrol offering in AWD but regardless it should be on any shopping list in this segment.
Hyundai Santa Fe Active AWD from $42,350 plus on-road costs
The Santa Fe hasn’t kicked the sort of sales goals that it could have for Hyundai but it is well worth having on a shopping list. Like its cousin from Kia, the Santa Fe is one of Hyundai’s better offerings and although ‘only’ wearing a five-year warranty, it too has features – a sliding second row, for example – that mean the extra dollars for its purchase make more sense.
Mazda CX-9 AWD Sport from $46,490 plus on-road costs
No longer offered with a diesel, the Mazda is another with minimal off-road leanings but it’s a newer machine and it shows. A flexible and appealing vehicle, there’s a quality feel to the cabin, a very polite set of road manners and a pricetag that puts it (just) within sight of the Koreans.
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