AFTER A BRIEF HIATUS from the Australian Market, Holden’s Captiva Maxx bodystyle returns. This time a serious specification and pricing shuffle sees it arrive as the entry level Captiva 5.
While the V6 engine and leather trim may be gone, there’s a familiar and pleasing-enough European-inspired body and a decent equipment list.
Add in a reasonably frugal (if not muscular) engine, a sharp price point, and the Korean-sourced Captiva 5 would appear to offer a strong value proposition.
Where the uniquely configured Captiva Maxx carried a raft of luxury equipment, the body style now comes as the entry point to the Captiva range.
The V6 engine is gone, replaced by a 2.4 litre petrol four-cylinder driving the front wheels in manual vehicles, or with all-wheel-drive in automatics.
There are also 17-inch alloy wheels, manual air-conditioning, and cloth trim. Exterior styling remains as before, maintaining the Captiva 5’s crisp and quite nicely balanced lines.
What’s the appeal?
A starting price under $30,000 with plenty of room to breathe. Commanding ride-height, interior flexibility and compact exterior dimensions mean the Captiva 5 strikes an appealing balance for young urban families.
What features does it have?
The Captiva wants for little. Equipment includes air-conditioning with pollen filter, leather steering wheel, cruise control, front and rear park sensors and front fog-lights.
Inside, cloth trim joins a six-disc MP3 compatible CD player with steering wheel controls and a multi-function trip computer for driver and passenger comfort.
Dual front airbags, curtain airbags, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and Electronic Stability Control take care of the safety equation.
What’s under the bonnet?
Both manual and automatic versions of the Captiva 5 are powered by a 2.4 litre DOHC four-cylinder petrol engine. Power is rated at 103kW @ 5200rpm with 220Nm of torque @ 2400rpm.
The five-speed manual box transfers that power to the tarmac via the front wheels.
Automatic models come equipped with a five-speed 'Active Select' automatic transmission and an on-demand all-wheel-drive system.
While the power figure may not look electrifying, particularly when coupled with a kerb weight of 1732Kg for the manual (as tested), the Captiva still performs respectably.
More importantly from a comfort perspective, the engine is quiet and reasonably refined, both in town and on the highway.
Those seeking a more powerful V6 or torquey turbo-diesel need to step up to the slightly more expensive seven-seat versions of the Captiva.
How does it drive?
"Light and easy" is the order of the day for the Captiva 5 manual.
Put to work around town the Captiva’s light steering and high seating make finding and getting into parking spots a breeze, helped further by front and rear park sensors.
Raised suspension, for all its off-road aspirations, tends to work well on pockmarked roads and over speed-humps. For highway work the Captiva is reasonably composed given its high stance and compliant suspension.
Even on the gravel test the Captiva performed well. It doesn’t have the grip of its all-wheel-drive equipped competitors, but still does a commendable job on corrugated rural roads.
The gearbox works well and the shift-gate is clearly defined, but the shift feel itself is awkward with a clunky, rubbery and imprecise action. You won't miscue on gearchanges but it's hardly a delight to use.
The clutch is light enough for repetitive operation in peak hour crawls, but not so light that it is completely lacking in feel.
The Captiva 5 isn’t immune from the usual SUV issues of body roll and early understeer, the former isn’t excessive, but the later is quite noticeable even at school-zone speeds.
Steering requires little effort for parking manoeuvres, but stays light throughout the speed range. Feel through the wheel isn’t entirely absent but isn’t a strong point either.
Engine noise is hushed throughout the rev range, and, for an engine that isn’t particularly modern or high-tech, the Captiva’s 2.4 litre four-cylinder is reasonably refined. It goes about things without soundling 'thrashy' or as if its working too hard.
Keeping pace with stop-start traffic isn’t too demanding of the engine, which uses its low-rev peak torque to good advantage.
That said, you've got a work things a bit when pushing on or with a load. These situations will demand a little more gear-work, but, given the conservative power output, the Captiva moves along reasonably promptly.
Highway drives reveal most where the Captiva needs more shove, with overtaking and progress over hilly terrain being a little more leisurely thanks to less responsive rolling acceleration.
What did our passengers think?
Adult passengers unanimously agreed on the Captiva’s step-in ease of entry and exit. Those in the rear found legroom acceptable if not overly abundant.
Putting three adults across the rear was cosy, but three children or younger teens will slot in with little complaint.
Even on longer journeys the firm seats remained comfortable, with subtle but grippy bolstering for the front seats.
The youngest crew members weren’t too pleased about the high belt-line cutting into their view out the side windows. At the same time they didn’t find climbing in and out of the rear seat too difficult or high.
Interior quality and feel?
Thanks again to the Euro-inspiration behind the Captiva’s design the interior is quite a stylish affair.
Lashings of chrome add a premium feel to the air vents and instrument cluster, and the satin-chrome and leather steering wheel looks like it belongs to a car in a higher price bracket.
All the interior parts fit together well, with a quality looking finish and consistent panel gaps with no squeaks or creaks from the trim parts.
A high boot floor is the only impediment to throwing gear in the rear easily but isn’t a big issue for the average weekly grocery shop.
The tailgate opening is also a little narrow, but in most situations isn’t particularly noticeable.
For added versatility, two large bins, behind the wheel wells help keep smaller items in place and come in handy for transporting more fragile items.
The available 430 litre capacity in the rear expands to 865 litres with the 60:40 rear seats folded.
Additionally goods stored in the rear are protected from prying eyes by the standard retractable cargo-blind.
How safe is it?
Captiva scored a four-star rating in ANCAP crash testing, based on testing conducted with left-hand drive vehicles by Euro NCAP.
Standard safety equipment includes dual front and curtain airbags, ABS brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Brake Assist and Electronic Stability Control with rollover and traction control.
All five seats feature lap-sash seatbelts with height adjustable front belts featuring load-limiting pre-tensioners.
Fuel consumption and Green Rating
Holden’s factory figures for the Captiva put it at 9.7l/100km on the combined fuel consumption cycle. CO2 emissions are rated at 231g/km earning a 3.5 green star rating
On test the Captiva returned a higher 10.8l/100km, and while highway economy was promising, the Captiva’s weight works against it around town. Our test route was tipped in favour of highway work, which shows just how detrimental stop-start driving can be overall.
How does it compare?
All of the above feature all-wheel-drive, with the Rav4 to offer an entry-level front wheel drive model for under $30,000 later this year.
Until then the Rav4 CV starts from $31,990 (plus on road costs), Honda has the CR-V priced from $30,990 (plus ORC) while the Nissan X-Trail is priced from $32,990 (plus ORC) with all providing slightly more powerful engines and only the CR-V using (marginally) more fuel.
Pricewise the Captiva 5 sits closest to Hyundai’s new ix35 which starts from $26,990 and offers the same front wheel drive layout albeit with a smaller and more economical, but still more powerful 2.0 litre engine.
To help keep room between it and the slightly larger seven-seat Captiva, the 2.4 litre petrol is exclusive to the Captiva 5, with seven-seat variants coming with a choice of 2.0 litre turbo diesel or 3.2 litre V6.
Warranty coverage is for three years or 100,000 kilometres. Holden also offers extended factory warranty programs to add up to an extra three years or 175,000 kilometres of warranty coverage.
Olympic White, Chino Metallic (gold), Ironite Metallic (tinted silver), Nitrate Metallic (silver), Midnight Blue Metallic, Merlot Metallic (red) and Carbon Flash Back Metallic make up the exterior choices with black cloth trim inside.
The Captiva 5 manual starts from $27,990 (plus on road costs) and moved up to $30,990 (plus ORC) for the Captiva 5 automatic, which also adds all wheel drive.
By stripping the content out of the previous Captiva Maxx and repackaging it as the Captiva 5 Holden has built an accidental value-winner, which delivers a stylish package coupled with a decent drive.
Pricing that starts from under $30,000 makes this a 'must see' for the budget conscious who seek a vehicle with substance.
The lack of a diesel option, coupled with its around town thirst may cost it some points, but generous equipment levels and a pleasant on-road experience help even the balance.