What is it with Holden’s model names? The theme runs with ‘a’s and ‘ra’s appended at will.
We had Calibra (of calibre), Frontera (no frontiers), Adventra (adventurer), Agila (agile), Vectra (sort of sounds like victor) and so on. Anyway you get the picture. So what about the Captiva, does it mean captivated or captive (as in ‘hostage’)? Time to find out.
First impressions are good. The European-designed, Korean-built Captiva MaXX looks modern, sporty, chunky and purposeful, befitting the SUV market well. The pointy nose and shark-like gills at the front provide a real sense of purpose that could cause drivers in front to ‘take flight’.
On closer inspection you may even notice that this range topper has different panels, lamps and other details that set it apart from the other three variants of Captiva (as designed in Australia). It could almost be another model, nearly.
In the cabin there are nice touches like multiple 12V power outlets (for devices chargers, etc), a cooled glovebox, fancy rear cup-holders and card slots, all against a backdrop of grey trim, leather ‘faced’ upholstery, faux wood inserts and aluminum. Not quite ‘First Class’, but it tries hard.
Sitting in the Captiva I was left with the distinct impression that one of the boffins on the design project could have been on loan from Boeing. The handbrake lever wouldn’t look out of place in a cockpit and the seat design, which you don’t so much sit ‘in’ as ‘on’, would not be out of place in the passenger cabin either.
And there’s more. The convenient ‘arm rest’ controls on the drivers door, the overhead lighting controls, in fact all that’s missing is the flight attendant call light. Anyway, not that any of this is a particularly bad thing, just different, and different can be good.
As your passengers embark and stow away their luggage in the available 865 litres of cargo space, it’s time for the pre-flight checks:
- ABS (Anti-lock Brake System) âˆš
- ESP (Electronic Stability Program) âˆš
- DCS (Descent Control System) âˆš
- EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution) âˆš
- TCS (Traction Control System) âˆš
- ARP (Active Rollover Protection) âˆš
- DID (Driver Info Display) âˆš
- SRS (airbags and Supplemental Restraint System) âˆš
- Active AWD (All Wheel Drive) âˆš
- 6CD with MP3 âˆš
- Winter take-off mode âˆš
- Seatbelts fastened âˆš
Fire up the silky smooth 3.2L Alloytec V6 engine, with its 167kW and 297 Nm of torque (@ 3200rpm), and it’s clear the trip won’t be too arduous. It won’t require re-fueling too frequently either, with the AWD system running in 2WD most of the time, delivering an average 11.6 l/100km.
When taxiing, initial throttle response is a little slow, then it picks up and you’re off. Further up the rev range with the 1770kg of mass in full tow, it takes longer to get through the gears (0-100 km/h takes, well, too long).
With autopilot (cruise control) engaged and riding high at 17,000mm, you can kick back, look out of the window and watch the world fly by. If you fancy pulling some stunts along a twisty section or two, engaging the Active Select mode (tiptronic style), then be beware its not easily done. The slow steering, firmish ride, big tyres and high ride height are more suited to being piloted on school runs through town.
So if you want a good all round package trip, aimed squarely at going under the radar of Ford to claim a chunk of its Territory, then the ticket price is a captivating $50,990.
Price: from $50,990
What we like:
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- Value for money
- V6 engine
- Interior features
What we don’t like:
- Lack of rear visibility
- Faux wood trim
- No engine temp gauge
- Controls not that intuitive
Words Phil Clark, photos Darren Cottingham