6 / 10
Update:2011 Holden Captiva Review
A role reversal doesn’t help this Korean SUV.
Times have changed and Holden has taken to the fact more people are after the larger of the two Captivas – and arguable the better looking one. Following this epiphany, Holden reshuffled the entire Holden Captiva range, turning it all on its head.
Prior to the MY10 (model year 2010) update, you would have known the Captiva 5 as the Captiva Maxx. It once sat at the top of the Captiva range and was powered by a single engine offering – a 3.2-litre V6. The Captiva 5 is now at the entry level, with the Captiva 7 taking over as spec leader.
In addition to the model reshuffle, the name change now also takes into account the amount of seats available, five for the Captiva 5 and seven for the Captiva 7.
While styling is subjective, it’s hard to find anything attractive about the exterior of the Captiva 5. An awkward design, coupled with brash badges and a bubble shape easily make it the uglier of the two Captivas.
Luckily the exterior design is chalk and cheese in comparison to the interior. While it’s no luxury cruiser, the interior is a humble and cosy place to be. All the dials are easy to reach and are intuitively labelled, spread out over the dashboard.
An onboard trip computer provides easy access to functions such as fuel consumption, range and time travelled. Interior fit and finish is also surprisingly good, with quality plastics used right through the cabin.
Leg and head room throughout the cabin is reasonable for a small SUV. Front seat passengers have ample room to stretch out, while rear seat passenger comfort is mainly limited to children, with leg room at a premium for adults.
There is 430 litres of cargo capacity available in the boot with the rear seats upright. The cargo capacity is similar to that of the Dualis and Grand Vitara, coming in at 410 litres and 400 litres respectively.
Unfortunately, that’s where the upsides end.
From the moment you turn the key, it becomes hard to imagine why anyone with a family would buy this car after completing a comprehensive test drive.
The Captiva 5’s idle can be likened to that of a modern HSV V8. It rocks from side to side, with the steering wheel visibly moving with the idling engine. On top of the rough idle, there’s also a rattle that rears its ugly head under load in second gear. To Holden’s credit, we were told about the rattle before we left with the car and they are looking into the issue.
The 2.4-litre four-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine produces a modest 103kW and 220Nm of torque. The lacklustre engine struggles to haul the Captiva 5’s porky 1.7-tonne mass. In addition to the slow and asthmatic engine is the unremarkable fuel consumption.
During my two week tenure with the car, I spent almost 80% of my time behind the wheel on a highway. The average fuel consumption figure returned was 10.3L/100km – an absolutely abysmal effort for a car that struggles to make it up hills with a full complement of passengers. The 10.3L/100km fuel consumption average fell short of the equally unimpressive official ADR figure of 9.7L/100km.
Considering this car will spend most of its life in the urban jungle, expect a much higher fuel use figure, with the official ADR consumption for urban driving at 13.9L/100km. As a comparison, the Ford Falcon XT and Holden Commodore Omega consume less on the urban cycle.
The clutch in our test vehicle often had a mind of its own. On occasions, mid way through lifting the clutch pedal from first gear into second gear, the car would lose power momentarily causing it to jolt.
Luckily the manual gearbox was one of the Captiva 5’s few upshots. The gearbox was smooth and slick shifting and very easy to use, perfectly catering for the target market.
Starting at $27,990 in base model five-speed manual front wheel drive form, the Captiva 5 is barely considered cheap. That kind of money gets you into cars like the top-spec Nissan Dualis Hatch or entry level Suzuki Grand Vitara (with several thousand dollars left over).
The Captiva 5 is only available in front wheel drive. The only four wheel drive variant is the Captiva 7, which starts from $35,490.
Overall, the Captiva 5 is a huge disappointment. It lacks the type of engine required to haul such a heavy vehicle and on occasions feels unsafe due to the lack of power.
The pricey starting price doesn’t help the Captiva 5, which falls well short of the game for this day and age.
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