Holden Captiva 5 Series II 2012 Review

Holden Captiva 5 Series II 2012 Review

There’s a lot of choice in the mid-sized SUV range and you can spend some significant dollars getting what you want. However, Holden has introduced the Captiva 5 Series II which starts at $38,490 for the manual gearbox, 2.4-litre petrol, two-wheel drive model – a price that, on the face of it, seems to represent good value for money.

Our test model, though is the 2.2-litre turbodiesel version which is four-wheel drive. It will set you back a tenner under forty-five grand. This doesn’t seem like such good value. Let me explain why.

The Captiva is a tidy looking vehicle. It comes with 17-inch alloys and roof rails as standard. Air vents in line with the A pillar break up the flank nicely. The tailgate has a prominent crease line pointing towards the brushed aluminium-style diffuser.

It has good visibility resulting from the upright driving position and the slightly higher vantage point. The driver’s seat was not particularly comfortable, being overbolstered in the lumbar region for my tastes, even after adjustment. My passenger didn’t complain of being uncomfortable. The rear seats afford a good level of legroom and fold flat to produce a total cargo area of 865 litres.

The interior has a couple of clever features (hidden storage behind a sliding drinks holder in the centre console and two separate storage pods in the rear) but overall was a little disappointing. There was no Bluetooth phone integration, USB music device support or automatic wipers. The interface for the trip computer and stereo is confusing and looks dated – it’s the same one Holden’s been using for several years in some models and hasn’t got any better in that time. You will probably need to read the manual to get the cruise control and other features working for you.

It has some off-road smarts such as the Descent Control System which utilizes the active braking capability of the ESC (electronic stability control) to control your speed when descending a steep off-road incline, and the HAS (Hill Start Assist which prevents you rolling backwards on an incline – useful with the electronic handbrake.

Serious off-road performance wasn’t able to be tested given the waterlogged nature of the countryside at the moment and the vehicle’s road tyres, but it did well on gravel and uneven surfaces. The ground clearance is 200mm.

The engine pulls well. It is very noisy outside the car, but Holden has done a reasonable job of deadening it inside the car. It’s a turbodiesel producing 135kW and 400Nm of torque.

You could use the Captiva 5 to take a family holiday fairly easily. It will tow 1500kg on a braked trailer and the roof rack will take 100kg. With the seats upright the boot volume is 430 litres.

Fuel economy has improved in the range over the Series I. Quoted fuel economy is 8.2k/100km. This will have been achieved using the eco mode, but that makes the performance lethargic and is only good for cruising. The drive is through a six-speed automatic gearbox with Active Select if you want to control the shifting yourself. The gear changes in a forward direction were perfectly adequate, but changing from forward to reverse when manoeuvring always resulted in a multi-second delay before reverse gear engaged.

Six airbags and various electronic aids come as standard, including Active Rollover Protection which detects the amount of body roll during cornering and will apply individual brakes as necessary to settle the vehicle. Braking performance felt fine; acceleration is a little noisy.

You don’t realize all the features that the Captiva 5 comes with until you look at the brochure. The problem is that they are hidden and that means that you end up driving a car which doesn’t feel like the money you spent on it.

I swapped the Captiva 5 for a Captiva 7 V6 LX. The 7 is in a different league altogether. The features, ride and performance give the expectation that this would be a car right in the mid-fifty thousand range, and it is.

Unfortunately the Captiva 5 is lacking too much in the way of interior features and refinement to justify the price when you can have a Mazda CX-5 diesel AWD or equivalent for a similar price. The base model, though, looks like better value for money and if you don’t need 4WD (not many of us do), that would be the option to go for.

Price: As tested $44,990


  • Good storage options
  • Practical performance


  • Let’s the side down with cheap interior and lack of features

Words and photos: Darren Cottingham

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