1 Feb 2011
Holden’s first Captiva was a true success story. While it was nothing special in the engine and dynamics department, if offered clever seven-seat (or five-seat) packaging in a stylish body, at a thoroughly good price.
Buyers beat a path to Holden dealerships across the land, with the range overtaking the likes of the Toyota Kluger to become Australia’s best-selling ‘soft-roader’ – the car-based, high-riding form of SUV so loved by mums everywhere.
In 2011, Holden gave the range’s main glaring faults some much-needed attention in their quest for continued market dominance (and in the light of a revised Ford Territory rival), introducing a new engine line-up with better performance and refinement. This was coupled with some minor visual tweaks to the already attractive outer shell and a sharpening of prices.
Styling changes were most dramatic on the seven-seat ‘7’, which got a new bonnet with a distinctive crease, an all new front fascia, and new slim-line light clusters with projector-style headlamps to help to set it apart from the European-styled ‘5’ that retained more of the previous design, including the larger headlamps.
The base engine was a new American-made, Holden-calibrated 2.4-litre petrol four-cylinder producing 123kW of power and 230Nm of torque. Its fuel economy was sharpened by six per cent, to 9.1L/100km, and CO2 was down from 231 to 217g/km.
At the top of the range and available only in the ‘7’ family fun bus was Holden’s 3.0-litre SIDI (spark ignition, direct injection) V6 transplanted directly from the Commodore and made at Holden’s Port Melbourne plant. Although this engine was 200cc smaller than the previous 3.2-litre port-injection Holden V6 in the earlier Captiva, it generated 12 per cent more power, up from 167kW to 190kW, and cut fuel use by three per cent, from 11.7L/100k to 11.3L/100km.
But the highlight of the range was the new (at launch) 2.2-litre 135kW/400Nm diesel engine, developed in conjunction with Italy’s VM Motori. The Euro 4 twin-cam turbo diesel four-cylinder delivered 23 per cent more power and 25 per cent more torque than the previous model’s 2.0-litre diesel.
The Captiva was the first vehicle in the GM world to get the new engine, which employed a variable geometry turbocharger and 1800-bar common-rail fuel injection to push up performance while cutting fuel consumption by six per cent over the previous diesel, to 8.3 litres per 100km, from 8.5L/100km. Carbon dioxide emissions were also down, from 224 grams per kilometre to 213g/km.
The dashboard in both the ‘5’ and the ‘7’ were, to our tastes, a little fussy in their design. But the packaging remained a highlight and all models, from the $27,990 base model ‘5’ 2.4-litre through to the $43,490 range-topping ‘7’ LX AWD TDI were very well specified.