4000 Km Test Drive Series 2 Holden Captiva 7 LX Diesel.

The Holden Captiva has proved to be popular amongst Australian buyers, since it’s released in 2006. 2011 Saw the release of the much awaited Series 2 update for the Captiva, packing all new engine and transmission options across range. I couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel of one.

The Series 2 Captiva range is basically split between the 5 seat Captiva 5 and slightly bigger 7 seat Captiva 7 models.

The Captiva 7 comes in 3 models SX, CX, LX with 3 different engine options 2.4L 4cyl Petrol engine, 3.0 SIDI Petrol V6 from the Commodore, 2.2L Common Rail Turbo Diesel in both 2wd and AWD guises. I’ve had the pleasure of doing 4000km in the top of range LX Diesel over the last couple of months. First thing I noticed about the Series 2 Captiva 7 is the new front end treatment.

I never was a big fan of the look of the series 1, but I find the new more aggressive looking frontend on the Series 2 Captiva 7 really appealing. The 2nd thing I really like is the 19inch factory alloys that the LX sits on, which also sets the LX apart from the CX which has 18inch rims and the SX which sits on 17inch rims.

Under the Bonnet The 2.2L common rail Turbo diesel one of the new power plants available on the Series 2 Captiva is in opinion a real cracker. With 135kw and 400Nm of torque available low down in the rev range I haven’t found it wanting in any situation.

This engine has really changed my views on diesel engines, from the outside you can hear it’s a diesel but it’s remarkably quiet on the inside at times you don’t even realise you’re driving a diesel.

The power delivery is great with bucket loads of torque available from as little as 2000rpm, the Captiva takes off smartly from the mark.

It doesn’t have the outright acceleration you might find in something like a V8 but the power deliver is very linear as in it just keeps building and building. It really surprised me at first going up hills as it just kept wanting to climb and climb.

The new 6 speed auto which replaces the 5 speed in the Series 1 is pretty good the ratios seem to be well matched with the engine torque. I love the sport shift feature it adds some fun to driving the Captiva. At times though it seems to be a bit finicky as in it wants to change down a gear far too much for my liking, normally only takes a slight drop in speed or revs for it to go searching for a lower gear.

Which I find at times down right annoying specially on the freeway.

Other than that I do really like the transmission the shifts are smooth and easy, it does seem to be perfectly matched to the torque of the Diesel, it’s a damn fun drive using the sport shift to stay in the torque band. It’s only flaw seems to be the one mentioned above.

Fuel economy has been alright I wouldn’t call it fantastic as it’s been way above what the quoted fuel economy is at 13.5l/100 km, Part of the problem I think is the gearbox and it’s tendency down shift too often part of it would be that I’ve only done a lot of short trips so my ave speed has been high either.

On the road the Captiva rides well if not a little on the firm side but not so firm it’s uncomfortable but I like that as it seems to sit flatter in corners because of it. The steering is incredibly light for such and biggish car it does take a little bit to get use to if you are use to driving around with heavier steering.

The lightness makes it a dream to park, even though the turning circle is a little big. One thing you have to watch is because the steering is light it doesn’t take much to hit the steering lock on each side. On a side note I’ve been driving my dad’s 2001 Astra around a lot lately and the Captiva’s steering is a lot lighter then what the Astra’s is.

Inside out First thing you notice when you get in is the lack of a handbrake lever in fact Holden has done away with the hand brake once and for all. Instead the Series 2 Captiva has an electric park brake which is operated by a button on the console below the gear shift. The plus side to this is by removing the handbrake lever they have opened up a heap of storage space. Where the lever use to be you will find 2 cup holders the clever thing about that is the cup holders slide back to reveal a cavernous storage space.

Dead set when I first put my hand in there I thought I was going to touch the road. LX is a very well appointed vehicle coming standard with Leather seats, Sat Nav, 6 stack Cd player, Bluetooth audio streaming, blue tooth phone connectivity, Climate control aircon, reverse sensors and camera, cruise control. All features are accessible via the 7inch touch screen that sits well placed in the centre stack.

On the steering wheel not only are there buttons for the cruise control, but buttons that operate every other function including the aircon. Which means you don’t have to remove your hands from the wheel to change anything. The only problem I have with them is that the buttons do not light up at night.

The audio system is a cracker with 8 speakers its well and truly loud enough for my old ears, the live blue tooth audio streaming from my phone works great. The CD player holds 6 cd’s but frankly haven’t put more than 2 cd’s in it only because in the centre console is usb connection and we’ve had an 8GB flash drive plugged into and mainly listen to music off instead of cd’s or my phone. The dash is well set up with large speedo and tacho which light up white which make reading it a dream even in the day time. At night it lights up with soft blue back lighting which seems to be really good on your eyes as well, there is dimmer control to tone down the dash lights if they get too bright for you at night.

The leather seats are ok but a little firm at first after a while they do soften up a little bit but to me they are still too firm for my liking.

Two things I find very annoying are wheel the car handles great around corners the seats offer bugger all support in corners.

The other thing is the seats are fully electric which offers many different adjustments in all directions which is great for finding the right driving position.

But there is no memory function for the driver’s seat so makes it damn annoying to find your correct driving position again after changing drivers. This is one thing I really think it should have specially in the top of the range LX model.

The back seat offers plenty of room, my dad has terminal lung problem requiring constant oxygen and plenty of times we’ve had 3 people plus dad’s o2 tank in there and never had complaint s about room.

The 3rd row offers decent amount of space as well mostly my kid’s ride in there and they have heaps of room, last weekend my wife rode around in there to see what it was like and she had room. In the back there is a decent amount of space the 3rd row seats fold flat in the floor so don’t impede the load area there are also I couple of storage bins on the side as well.

The rear has load levelling suspension so even with a load in the back it’s always going to stay nice and level.

Safety wise the Series 2 Captiva has just become the newest Holden to receive a 5 star NCAP rating so has all the safety gear you would expect from a 5 star car including Driver and front passenger airbags, Curtain airbags, Side Impact airbags front seatbelt sash height adjustment, pyrotechnic pre-tensioners, Childproof rear door locks, Rear Park Assist (CX & LX only), reverse camera (LX only) abs, traction control, esp, active roll over protection, hill decent control, hill start assist.

One other good thing is that Holden have placed the anchorages rear seat child restraints on the seat backs so it doesn’t interfere with load space or people sitting in the 3rd row. Conclusion: The Series 2 Lx Captiva Diesel is damn good family car.

Pros:

The diesel offers great performance and reasonable fuel economy.

That has a 5 star safety rating.

Plenty of room with a bonus of having 7 seats if needed.

Very well appointed packed with lots of features.

Cons:

Firm seats with lack of lateral support.

No memory function on the driver’s seat.

Finicky transmission at times

Would I recommend the Series 2 Captiva 7 LX Diesel to anyone? Yes I would and in fact I have more then once.

Would I buy one? Most definitely I would. Sure the Series 2 LX Captiva diesel is not perfect, in my 41 years on this planet I have learnt nothing is perfect.

But rather then ask me if the Captiva is perfect ask if the Captiva is perfect for my family and the answer would be yes.

If you are in the market for a great family car with decent amount of room, decent performance and economy and you haven’t driven a Captiva then I suggest you give one ago.

You will be pleasantly surprised how good they really are.

3 thoughts on “4000 Km Test Drive Series 2 Holden Captiva 7 LX Diesel.

  1. the ride is firm and the seats are firm …not mushy-i can drive all day and not have a sore back , the auto does love to rev the motor at 3000rpm which is intreging as peak torque is at 2000rpm which is why we dont see anything less than 11l/100km. maybe a true eco mode for the gearbox would be a good update !

    • I have the same view of the seats it’s still my least favourite part of the car but I can spend a day in it driving and not be in any pain from my bad knee and dodgy hip.
      Mines stuck around the 12.2L at the moment which has come down from the 13.3 I was getting I now have close the 20,000km on the clock. Mine doesn’t seem to rev that hard most of the time. The eco mode does work though for us in the bumper to bumper traffic we spend a lot of time in. But I do like driving it more in normal mode as it is more responsive.

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