Mark Higgins’ first drive 2014 Holden Captiva 7 LS review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety and verdict.

In a Nutshell : Born from a need for a family-sized SUV to tackle the Ford Territory and Toyota Kluger, Holden introduced the Korean sourced Captiva back in 2006. At the time the risk was whether Holden convince buyers it was more than just a re-badged Daewoo.

Practical Motoring says: You can’t argue with the sales success of the Captiva. It looks good, is priced right but it’s dynamically a let down and off the pace compared with the vehicles it’s beating in the sales race.

SALES SHOW that Holden has hit a winning formula with the Captiva, being one of the most popular SUV’s on the road, knocking off the Toyota twins Kluger and Prado in January to become the best-selling medium SUV. Probably not hard to see why many buyers fall for the Captiva 7. For not a lot of money (when compared with its key rivals), you get plenty of space for seven (there’s also a five-seat model which is unimaginatively named Captiva 5), a good level of kit, sharp pricing and pleasing looks.

The current Captiva which graced our shores in 2011 is an evolution of the original model launched five years earlier, so the basic shape remains, but its looks have been refreshed. It still features the familiar chrome grille and large under bumper air intake with grey fog light housings either side. Six-spoke, 17-inch alloy wheels give it a nice lift, though and for a touch of ruggedness, there’s grey plastic paneling around the lower body, and wheel arches.

2014 Holden Captiva 7 LS review

All five doors are big and open wide, although climbing into the third row seats through the back doors is tricky for young ones due to its ground clearance. Side steps are standard on the upper models, which make things a little easier.

Inside, the cabin is well proportioned and provides plenty of leg, head, and shoulder room in the first two rows, although the third row is strictly for children that have outgrown a booster seat – it’s too cramped for adults. When all seven seats are occupied there’s a small 85 litres of luggage space, that grows to a respectable 465 litres with the third row seats folded flat and for even more carrying capacity, the second row seats also fold flat giving you 930 litres. There are also plenty of storage cubbies and cupholders in all three rows.

2014 Holden Captiva 7 LS review

The analogue instruments with digital trip metre nestled behind the leather-wrapped, multifunction steering wheel which is comically large, are easy to read – the wheel takes some time to acclimatise to. Less user friendly were the audio/phone and air-con controls in the centre console – they didn’t all operate through the touch screen in the dash centre, as you’d expect. Some did, but others like the phone and music streaming setup set up went through the screen on the audio system and proved taxing in its setup procedure. Once connected the Bluetooth echoed during conversations, but the audio was quite acceptable. For the size of the cabin, the air-con vents were too small to push out enough air, meaning we ran it flat chat the whole time, even on mild days.

2014 Holden Captiva 7 LS review

Although the reversing/parking camera was a welcome feature, the delay in the image appearing was too long, especially when starting the car. Going from drive to reverse wasn’t as bad, but there was still a slight delay.

The large, cloth trimmed seats (the driver’s has lumber adjustment) are flat, firm and comfortable but offer little in the way of lateral support, on the flipside the second row pews easily accommodate three adults.

2014 Holden Captiva 7 LS review

On the road, the Captiva felt big and the overly large steering wheel muffled what was happening with the front wheels. Most Captiva’s will spend their days on the school and shopping run and the almost 12m turning circle could be a hindrance in those sometimes tight confines. Self-leveling MacPherson strut front and independent rear suspension is standard across the Captiva range, but as you’d expect with a large and old-school SUV, acceleration, braking and corners are met with a degree of pitch and roll, which was exacerbated by the flat seats. Dynamically the Captiva isn’t in the same league as Ford’s Territory, which remains one of the best-handling SUV’s in the market.

Powering the Captiva 7 LS is a 91 RON fuelled, 123kW (at 5800rpm) 230Nm (at 4600rpm) 2.4-litre petrol four-cylinder and to be honest, it struggles under acceleration which isn’t surprising given it weighs 1810kgs, but things improve out on the open road. The small engine also puts a dent in fuel efficiency. While the official combined figure is 9.5L/100km, we could only manage 11.2L/100km despite a lot of highway driving. We’d recommend opting for the diesel engine that will give you more grunt (135kW/400Nm) and use less fuel on longer drives. The six-speed auto transmission that drives the front-wheels shifts swiftly and smoothly and matches the engine’s characteristics very well.

2014 Holden Captiva 7 LS review

When it comes to value, the Captiva certainly delivers and even this base LS model is well equipped. Standard is air conditioning, heated side powered mirrors, rear fog lamps, moulded mud flaps, rear-view camera, a (no-cost) sunroof option, power windows, reading lamps, tinted windows, keyless entry, auto headlamps, cruise control, dual chrome exhausts, Bluetooth, a CD/AMFM/MP3 four-speaker stereo and vanity mirrors, door lights with delayed fade and variable
intermittent wipers.

The Captiva range gets a five-star ANCAP safety rating and the Captiva 7 LS features six airbags, stability control, traction control, hill start assist, descent control system, electric park brake and ISOFIX child seat anchor points as standard. Add to this is a three-year 100,000km warranty with the first year of roadside assist included, plus capped-price servicing for the first three years or 60,000km.

Holden Captiva 7 LS

Price $30,490 (+ORC)

Engine 2.4 litre fuel injected four-cylinder petrol (91 RON)

Power/Torque 123kW/230Nm

Transmission six speed auto (standard)

Body 4673mm (L); 1849mm (W); 1727mm (H)

Weight 1810kg

Thirst 9.5L/100km (combined)


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