2011 Holden Captiva 5 Diesel AWD Review

Overall Rating

  • Interior

  • On The Road

  • Value For Money

  • See Full Specs

What’s Hot

One of the cheapest turbo-diesel compact crossovers out there.

What’s Not

Interior quality matches the price-tag.

X Factor

A strong spec list, a low price and greatly improved powertrain give the 2011 Captiva 5 some much-needed sparkle.

  • Country of Origin
  • Price
    $33,990 (plus on-road costs)
  • Engine
    4 Cylinders
  • Output
    135 kW / 400 Nm
  • Transmission
    Sports Automatic
  • ANCAP Rating
  • Airbags
    Driver & Passenger (Dual), Head for 2nd Row Seats, Side for 1st Row Occupants (Front), Head for 1st Row Seats (Front)
  • L/100 km
  • C02
    224 g/km
  • Luggage Capacity
  • Towing (braked)
    1700 kg
  • Towing (unbraked)
    750 kg
Tony O'Kane | Jun 3, 2011 | 8 Comments


Vehicle Style: SUV
Price: $33,990

Fuel Economy (claimed): 8.5 l/100km
Fuel Economy (tested): 10.1 l/100km


Holden’s 2011 revamp of the Captiva range sees an all-new 2.2 litre turbo-diesel under the bonnet, as well as new transmissions and a lightly rejigged interior.

Interior quality and on-road refinement may not be its strong suit, but value for money definitely is.


Quality: Easily-scratched plastics and flimsy switchgear feel cheap. And, although new features like the large centre console bin improve the usability of the cabin, they don’t bring any improvements in quality.

Comfort: There’s a decent amount of room both front and rear for a young family, with all seats trimmed in durable, child-resistant fabric upholstery.

The front seats are quite comfortable and feature adjustable lumbar support. Back seats are flat but ok. The back seat area though loses a few points due to the absence of face-level air vents.

Equipment: Standard features include cruise control, climate control, trip-computer, power windows, front and rear parking-sensors, auto-on headlamps and a seven-speaker audio system with six-disc CD stacker.

Storage: There’s enough space for an average-sized pram in the Captiva 5’s boot, with 430 litres of space with the rear seats raised. Folding the back seats produces a flat area with a total cargo volume of 865 litres.


Driveability: The Captiva 5’s 2.2 litre turbo-diesel inline four is the engine to pick (a 2.4 litre naturally-aspirated petrol motor is also available), producing a healthy 135kW of power and 288Nm of torque.

It’s definitely got great tractability, but driving it around in Melbourne’s suburban traffic meant we couldn’t get our fuel economy to dip below 10 l/100km.

A six-speed automatic is the only transmission available with the diesel; it's a smooth unit that delivers good performance in around-town driving.

There’s a hill-start assist feature to help with standing-starts on inclines, and a descent control system that automatically brakes the car on steep slippery descents.

Refinement: The best news about the Series 2 Captiva 5 is the new-found refinement of its 2.2 litre turbo-diesel. The old diesel was a clattery thing, but the new engine is smooth, quiet and not at all harsh.

We wish we could say the same for some of the cabin plastics, which rattled over harsher bumps.

Suspension: The suspension provides decent roadholding, but fidgets over small bumps and potholes. It’s far from bone-jarring though and settles down appreciably on highways.

An 11.8 metre turning circle gives the Captiva reasonable manoeuvrability in tight squeezes, but it’s a little wider than many others in its segment. The power steering is light though, so twirling the wheel back and forth is less of a chore.

Braking: The all-disc brakes work fine, stopping the Captiva with ease. The brake pedal feels a little on the soft side though.


ANCAP rating: Not tested

Safety features: Front, front side and curtain airbags are standard, while all seats have three-point seatbelts (front seatbelts are also equipped with pretensioners). ABS, brake assist, traction control and stability control help reduce the chance of a collision.


Warranty: 3 years/100,000kms

Service costs: Service costs may vary, so check with your local Holden dealer before purchase.


Hyundai ix35 Elite CRDi ($35,490) - Following complaints of excessive suspension stiffness, Hyundai has equipped all 2011 AWD ix35 models with more compliant adaptive dampers to improve ride comfort.

Thanks to a tractable and refined turbo-diesel engine, the ix35 Elite is a capable and family-friendly compact SUV, and well worth the small premium over the Captiva 5. Its spec sheet might not be as impressive, but overall it’s a more polished product. (see ix35 reviews)

Nissan X-Trail TS automatic ($38,240) - Freshly updated earlier in the year, the diesel X-Trail is above par for interior quality and space - its 1773 litre maximum cargo capacity easily eclipsing both the ix35 and Captiva 5.

The X-Trail’s 2.0 diesel lacks the power and torque of the Holden’s powerplant, but it’s compensated for by its decent off-road capabilities. It’s dearer, but a good buy. (see X-Trail reviews)

Ssangyong Korando SX automatic ($32,811) - Ssangyong’s first foray into the compact SUV segment is a solid effort, but cabin quality could be better.

Still, presentable on-road manners and a willing turbo-diesel engine work in its favour, as does its keen pricing. (see Korando reviews)

Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.


If value for money matters to you, the Captiva 5 will appeal. The standard specification list is relatively generous, and the strong diesel powertrain/drivetrain combo is hard to fault.

A jittery ride may turn some people off and cabin quality is under par for the segment. But, for less than $35,000, the Captiva 5 diesel delivers value that even its Korean competitors can’t match.

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Filed under: Featured, review, wagon, Holden, diesel, awd, suv, holden captiva, holden captiva 5, automatic, family, Advice, special-featured, 4cyl, 5door, 6a, holden series ii captiva, series ii captiva, series ii captiva 5

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  • Pauline Dwyer says,
    3 years ago
    I drive a 2009 Holden Captiva diesel and although I love it, it has the most annoying and dangerous turbo lag (as the dealer calls it). This is what happens. As I approach an intersection or roundabout and if I haven't come to a complete stop, when I go to put my foot down most of the time I have a flat spot for 2 seconds. The only way I can avoid this is the keep the revs up as I approach the intersection or round-about and and apply the brake.

    The company I work for has a fleet of vehicles for their field force so the above issue is not just an isolated one. When I have asked other Reps in our company a number of them too have the same issue with their Captivas.

    I am about to change cars, and although I would love to get another Captiva this issue is enough to put me off getting another one. Holden you need to fix this in the diesel motors, or you will become uncompetitive.
  • Ian Webster says,
    3 years ago
    Very disappointed in my new Captiva 5 Series II! I experienced serious engine failure whilst travelling at 100klm's per hr on several occassions. When I tried to change over to another vehicle the value of my car was ONLY $18,000 and I paid $38,500!!$20,000 loss in 12 months....NOT IMPRESSED!
    • Ran says,
      3 years ago
      Seems very odd.What was the complaint and why didn't your dealer fix it?
    • Ran says,
      3 years ago
      1 like
      My captiva7 lx diesel is a gem.It had done 16500 Kim's and had no issues.The DPF need to be sorted when it comes on for persistent short journeys.Great off roader.Had travelled from Darwin to Adelaide in 2 days.Great fuel economy if driven with a bit of common sense.
  • Imi says,
    3 years ago
    After looking at the territory and great wall suv, this appealed to me. Although The turning circle is hard to get used to and the fuel economy of the diesel isn't as good as expected,I love driving this car.
  • Jj says,
    3 years ago
    Had my captiva 5 diesel for 8 months now, completed 14000km's (80% heavy city traffic) and i am very very happy with it. No problems at all. Drove the old captiva cx diesel for work, but new captiva 2.2 has a ton of power, no turbo lag, or other issues of old - but economy is still avergage; off-road in snow mud and dirt it is great; has heaps of leg room front and back(the main reason i bought it @195cm - other makes i struggle to get into let alone have someone sit behind me). Overall, certainly not the best out there in terms of interior quality (if thats what rocks your boat then plan on spending more $) but certainly very very good value for money. Very happy.
  • Paul Andrew says,
    3 years ago
    We have had our captiva5 diesel for one year we have travelled over 40,000 km mostly towing a hawk jayco van trips include outback & city driving fuel used never went over 9km per 100 km, we travelled at max speed permitted the captiva is great for comfort over long distances and handles all types of roads with ease has no rattles etc even over even the roughest roads up steep hills with van in tow itt can easily maintain max legal speed
    At first we had no idea what vehicle to buy I had a Mercedes Benz and my wife had a Holden commodore the captiva was the best vehicle ever
  • lazy man says,
    2 years ago
    Why are there so many of these things on the road,people that buy these suvs need to do a bit more research before they go out and spend their hard earned money.I owned one, never again they are rubbish.
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