Review: Captiva 5 LTZ diesel AWD wagon
  |  First Published: September 2014

The Holden Captiva is one of the strongest selling vehicles in its class. It never takes long to spot one being driven or parked, and sales figures confirm its popularity in a very competitive market niche. Clearly the Captiva must have some good things going for it so let’s take a look at what’s on offer.

The Captiva’s styling is by no means new (although there was an upgrade not that long back) as the wagon has been around for a few years, but it’s still pretty easy on the eye. It’s a fairly tall vehicle which allows the driver and passengers to enjoy that important ‘command’ stance. This is one of the features, along with lots of load space at the rear, that endear these sorts of vehicles to buyers.

Two models are in the showroom, the 5 and the 7, named according to their seating capacity. The 5, as reviewed, comes with two engines and drive modes. There’s choice of a 2.4L petrol engine or a 2.2L turbo diesel, while two standards of trim and features are also available. The LT offers just a few less features than the LTZ, which I was offered for review.


The ‘standard’ LT will by no means short-change an owner thanks to features such as choice of petrol or diesel engine, and the choice of manual (petrol) or auto unit. Note that the diesel option is only available in All Wheel Drive mode linked to a six-speed auto unit. And there’s nothing wrong with that!

Other goodies include a host of safety features such as electronic stability control, six air bags, traction control, brake assist, active rollover protection, hill descent control, hill start assist and front and rear park assistance as standard. Outside there are auto head lamps, roof rails, front fog lamps and 18” wheels.

Interior features include electronic functions throughout, a CD audio system with steering wheel controls, Bluetooth compatibility, USB port with iPod integration, dual zone climate control air, cruise control, remote keyless entry and driver information display covering a host of functions including fuel use and the remaining range in relation to fuel in the tank.

The LTZ classification offers all of the aforementioned features plus refinements in the form of 19” alloys, heated front seats, electric driver’s seat and leather interior trim. Both models of Captiva offered a subtle blend of interior tonings designed to complement each other. The overall ambience was subdued, with a few faux metal highlights offsetting the majority of the dark interior tonings. In all, easy to live with and not at all ostentatious.

Powerful diesel engine

The Captiva LTZ All Wheel Drive reviewed was powered by a four-cylinder DOHC 2.2L direct injection turbo diesel engine linked to a very smooth six-speed auto transmission. The engine was both quite smooth and noticeably powerful. As is the case with many diesel engines it was a little inclined to chatter at idle but certainly hard to hear when underway.

Output figures were 135kW of power and 400Nm of torque. The diesel Captiva was quick off the mark, great for overtaking, handy for towing boats (unbraked trailer 750kg, braked 1500kg) and on a mix of both country and city driving returned a fuel consumption of 9.3L per 100km. That’s quite acceptable in my view.

On the Road

The Captiva had a sense of purpose on the highway: business like, easily managed but quite well balanced overall. It felt solid. Steering was very direct, yet not overly heavy and with ample feedback. The leather-bound wheel was the right size for comfort.

I found both driver’s and passenger’s front seats very comfortable and quite supportive. A four-hour drive caused no discomfort at all. Rear seating is generous enough to accommodate two adults and a child without fuss.

On winding roads with sharp bends a little body roll in corners was evident and the odd bump or thump was par for the course when I took the Captiva for a run down a badly corrugated forestry track. If you have been to Lenthalls Dam you’ll know what I’m on about. “Badly corrugated” is an accurate description.

Suspension consisted of MacPherson strut, gas dampers and a stabiliser bar up front with independent four link gas dampers and another stabiliser bar at the rear.

There’s quite good ground clearance and with the combination of strong engine power, the vehicle’s Active All Wheel Drive system – dividing power between front and rear wheels when sensors detect the need – and manual gear changing via the Active Select system I’d see a run up the beach or along a bush track quite within the Captiva’s capability.

I considered the auto unit was perfectly mated to the diesel engine with gear changes virtually undetectable. It was interesting to note that 100km on the highway equated to a mere 1800rpm on the tachometer; obviously that diesel engine is very under stressed.

In 110km/h limit areas overtaking a truck or caravan being towed would occur in seconds without the need to increase power over some distance, which is an annoying aspect of some modern diesel cars.

Interestingly, there’s an ECO drive mode with the auto transmission units as well. This system is said to improve fuel economy by up shifting transmission changes sooner, down shifting a bit later.

Summing up

Overall I saw the five-seat Captiva LTZ diesel as an excellent family unit, great for work around the city and suburbs during the week, ideal for a weekend or holiday away. Luggage capacity is a generous 430L with rear seats upright, 865L with the rear seat folded down so a fair amount of gear could be tucked in there for a weekend away. That 750kg towing limit for an unbraked trailer would see it towing plenty of boats; it certainly towed our Tabs Bullshark with ease. The price of the LTZ 5 was $35,690.

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