IT MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED CUTTING-EDGE, BUT FOR SHEER VALUE AND SMART TECHNOLOGIES, THE 2016 HOLDEN CAPTIVA STILL MAKES A CASE FOR FAMILY BUYERS.
The Captiva is now celebrating 10 years on sale, but a new front bumper design and LED running lights have freshened-up the styling. On the inside, up-to-the-minute touchscreen technology and connectivity do the trick.
But the biggest Captiva drawcard is value - a fully-loaded Captiva LTZ, like the one you see here with diesel engine, seven seats, all-wheel-drive,and a few high-spec touches, can be yours for a budget-friendly $42k plus on-roads.
Vehicle Style: Large SUV
Price: $41,490 (plus on-roads)
Engine/trans: 135kW/400Nm 2.2 4cyl turbo diesel | 6sp automatic
Fuel Economy Claimed: 8.5 l/100km | Tested: 10.1 l/100km
Updates to the 2016 Holden Captiva range see the previous two-body range pared back to one body-style, with three different trim levels.
The face is new, thanks to a restyled bumper and headlights, but everything behind that, right down to the alloy wheel design, stays the same as it was.
The top-spec LTZ and mid-spec LT pick up new body-coloured wheel arch flares to set them apart from the previous generation Captiva, and there’s a healthy dose of chrome bling to dress the LTZ up further.
Open the doors, and this large SUV seats seven. And while the standard features list isn’t overwhelmingly packed, there’s handy additions like blind-spot monitoring, keyless entry and start, leather seat trim, and the new must-have: smartphone compatibility.
We put the latest iteration of the long-running Captiva to the test to see how it stacks up in a packed, and fiercely competitive, market segment.
- Standard equipment: Leather seat trim, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, power adjustable driver’s seat, keyless entry and start, trip computer, auto headlights, self-dimming interior mirror, electric park brake, 19-inch alloy wheels
- Infotainment: 7.0-inch MyLink touchscreen, steering wheel audio controls, USB and AUX inputs, Bluetooth phone and Audio connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility, eight speakers
- Options fitted: Electric sunroof (no cost option)
- Cargo volume: 85 litres (7 seat), 465L (5 seat), 930L (2 seat)
The biggest news inside the Captiva is the new 7.0-inch MyLink touchscreen system that allows Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to transfer your phone’s data natively to the screen in the car.
Standard satellite navigation vanishes off the features list, replaced by your mobile phone’s mapping capabilities.
The LTZ comes with leather seat-trim, heated front seats, a powered driver’s seat, and extra safety features as part of its appeal.
The front seats are spacious, but there’s only a basic range of adjustment and the seats are about as flat as you’ll find, lacking any real lumbar or side support.
The middle row is just as flat but that only makes the process of loading and unloading, or fitting child seats, easier.
There’s enough leg and headroom for most families, but the interior feels more largish 'mid-size' than true large SUV.
Both the middle and rear rows both lack face-level air-vents, something of a crucial element for a car slated for family duty.
Third row seating is really there 'just in case'. The neighbours kids might enjoy the novelty of sitting in the back-back, but a distinct lack of space limits the functionality of the third row as a daily use proposition.
It comes as something of a surprise to find that it’s relatively simple to access then, with a one-action flip forward middle row, but the middle row is split on the ‘wrong side’ for Australia.
There’s plenty of rattles and creaky trim used throughout the interior too. The dash lacks the overall polish and presentation of some newer rivals, and it’s plain to see that a price-first approach has been taken.
Ergonomics are a little off too - why are the trip-computer buttons mounted so far from the driver, and why is the trip computer display so tiny? At least the speedo is clear and legible.
Boot space is tiny with all three rows in use, just 85 litres or enough to fit in a couple of backpacks, but not everyone’s. To the middle row there’s a more useful 465 litres, and with both rows of rear seats down there’s 930 litres on offer.
ON THE ROAD
- Engine: 135kW/400Nm 2.2 litre four-cylinder turbo diesel
- Transmission: Six-speed automatic, all wheel drive
- Suspension: MacPherson strut front, independent rear suspension
- Brakes: Four wheel ventilated disc brakes
- Steering: Hydraulic power steering, turning circle: 10.8m
- Towing capacity: 2000kg braked, 750kg unbraked
The 2016 Captiva offers a choice of two engines in LTZ trim, either a 3.0 litre petrol V6, or a 2.2 litre turbo diesel four-cylinder tested here.
That engine first appeared in the Captiva in 2011, and still produces the same 135kW at 3800rpm and 400Nm as it did at launch, although peak torque starts at a slightly lower 1750 rpm until 2750rpm.
It’s not off-the-pace by modern standards, with just a little less power and torque than Hyundai and Kia’s similarly-sized engine, or even Ford’s bigger 2.7 litre V6 Territory diesel.
It does have some ground to make up in terms of refinement compared to those Korean diesels though. This engine is noisy at idle, and sounds almost truck-like as revs rise and fall.
There's also vibrations aplenty that work their way through the firewall and into the cabin. It’s not as bad as the dirty ol’ 4X4 diesels of last century, but still a little short of modern standards.
Despite that, the diesel engine is surprisingly happy to rev freely, something we didn’t expect to find. The Captiva does struggle however to turn that into accelerative urge, feeling more leisurely than the obedient engine would suggest.
Drive is channelled to the all-wheel-drive system via a six-speed automatic that delivers smooth, but often slow, gear changes. If conditions get a little demanding it’s not the sharpest gearbox, but it gets by.
Driving around town reveals that the Captiva lacks the driving flexibility of some of its rivals. Power delivery doesn’t feel lively, and the engine drone gives the Captiva a CVT-like feel.
That one-dimensional throttle map means that progress is relaxed - not always a bad thing in a family bus, but in hectic peak hour traffic it could do with a little more immediate urge.
It doesn't have the alert, agile feel that we've come to expect from modern diesels, and, while it's fine at highway speeds (and quite able to deal with hills, even with a load), it lacks a little zip around town.
Away from city streets the Captiva enjoys an open-road cruise, with revs kept low, and noise levels are well managed. That said, road noise isn’t what you’d call whisper quiet, but there’s no need to shout to have a conversation.
ANCAP rating: ANCAP has yet to test the current Captiva, despite having previously published results on the pre-update Captiva range.
Safety features: Six airbags (dual front, front side, and curtain airbags for first and second row), ABS brakes with brake assist, electronic stability control, front seatbelt pretensioners with load limiters, front and rear park sensors, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, rear view camera
RIVALS TO CONSIDER
The closest rival to Holden’s Captiva in terms of size, price, and seating capacity is the Mitsubishi Outlander DiD, and, just like the Captiva, it feels just a little older than some of the fresher SUVs on the market.
The Ford Territory TDCi is another firm favourite, a little old as well, and only available in basic TX trim at the Captiva LTZ’s price point. But it does come with a higher quality interior and more space inside, plus the choice of rear or all-wheel-drive, and five or seven seats.
Similarly both the Hyundai Santa Fe CRDi and Kia Sorento start in base-trim at the LTZ’s price, but for that you get a fresher package in both cars, with lively diesel engines, a slightly more spacious third row, and locally-developed handling that really is brilliantly matched to Australian road conditions.
Meanwhile, the Toyota Kluger, Nissan Pathfinder, and soon-to-arrive Mazda CX-9 are all petrol-only offerings. While that may not matter to all buyers, those with their hearts set on a diesel aren’t served by these three.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
Without a truly fresh look or feel, the Captiva feels its age, both in the showroom and on the road, despite the addition of new infotainment technology.
A flash screen in the middle of the dash doesn’t make or break a truly good car though, and, with time as its enemy, the Captiva is simply outclassed by newer, roomier, better equipped models.
But, price really works in its favour and by the time you add on-road costs to the sub $42k price, the Captiva still comes in cleanly under $45k - affordable enough to fit to a variety of family budgets in its highest specification.
So, the Captiva’s recommendation is made on price first and foremost. As a vehicle it’s not bad - utilitarian and simple, but a little rough around the edges.
There’s plenty of better seven-seat SUVs on the market, but none of those are as affordable as Holden’s long-wearing battler.
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