The Holden Captiva is a 4x4-crossover, manufactured by General Motors (GM). It has been available to the Australian market since 2006. It was specially designed to meet the needs of the all-purpose vehicle market, competing with models such as the Ford Territory, the Kia Sportage and the Toyota Kluger.
The Captiva is built in Korea by GM’s Daewoo division to a chassis, suspension and engine specification that was developed here in Australia.
Available in a five-seater and seven-seater version, the Captiva features a range of engine options with enough oomph to deal comfortably with most urban freeway driving conditions. There is plenty of clearance and a good-sized wheelbase, with a slightly more compact outer than many of the competition. In a market where consumers are increasingly looking for smaller cars to deliver big results, this is not necessarily a bad thing.
Models include the SX, CX, and LX, along with a top-of-the-range Captiva MaXX as the crowning glory that comes complete with 3.2-litre V6 engine.
Captiva engines range from the 2.2-litre turbo diesel and 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol for the Captiva 5 models through to a 3.0-litre V6 petrol for the Captiva 7 and the 3.2-litre V6 for the Captiva MaXX, with five-speed automatic gearbox.
Fuel economy ranges from 8.1-lt/100km for the diesel Captiva 7 SX to 11.3lt/100km for the petrol V6 (11.6lt/100km for the MaXX model).
Unlike many 4x4s, the Captiva's four-wheel drive system kicks in more as an aid to traction if the front wheels are struggling to grip, so if you are looking for a serious off-roader this may not be the model for you. However, if you are looking for a good-size 4x4 with decent interior capacity, reliable road holding, and some capabilities off the tarmac, this is a decent option.
The SX and upgraded CX models offer the best comfort on the bumps thanks to their high-profile 17-inch wheels, and driving is enhanced on the inside by intuitively placed controls and comfortable seating. Benefits on the outside include hydraulic power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering, an average-sized turning circle and four-wheel ventilated disc brakes.
The 3.2-litre V6-engine delivers suitable power and acceleration both for urban driving and highway cruising, and there is enough to have a little fun on softer ground. Four-channel ABS with Traction Control and a hydraulic brake assist feature offer extra-safe braking, making the Captiva a popular choice for the safety conscious.
In terms of wheelbase, the Captiva sits midway between the Ford Escape and Ford Territory and close to the Toyota Kluger, with the body sitting some 20cm shorter than each overall. Few competitors can match it for ground clearance, other than perhaps the Ford Escape.
The basic Captiva model is the SX five-seater version, with air conditioning, 17-inch alloys, keyless entry, fold-flat second-row seats, remote opening liftback glass, and CD player with MP3 all featured as standard. Newer models also feature standard front and rear parking sensors, hill-start assist, and an electronic handbrake.
Safety is high on the agenda for the Captiva, starting with a strong body structure with plenty of high-strength steel and reinforcements. All models feature front driver and passenger airbags. Side curtain airbags come as standard for all models except the SX, which offers them as an optional extra. The front seatbelts are height adjustable, and they carry pre-tensioners and force limiters for extra safety.
Post-2011 models boast enhanced safety features aimed at improving suspension and minimising body roll in the event of accidents.
Standard features on the post-2011 mid-range CX now include climate control, driver information display, rear-park assist, and multi-disc CD player, while the top-end LX also benefits from 19-inch alloy wheels, rear-view camera, leather trim, touch-screen with sat-nav, and a USB port.
The Captiva is a very competitively priced car for its market. It offers plenty of car for the money and a decent spec both in terms of mechanical design features and trim. Its main competition comes both from elsewhere in the GM range, in the form of the Opel Antara and the Chevrolet Captiva, plus its predecessors the Jackaroo and Frontera, and from the wider 4x4 vehicle market.
The Captiva 5 goes head to head with the mid-sized 4x4s including the Toyota Rav4 and the Honda CR-V, while the Captiva 7 stacks up alongside the Toyota Kluger, the Ford Territory, and the Volkswagon Tiguan. While some perhaps might consider these competing vehicles more fun to drive, the Captiva 7 offers excellent value and a more compact body in comparison.