Family wagons were, at one time, the vehicle of choice for so many Australian mums and dads. Lately however, this seems to be changing. With wagons declining in popularity and manufacturers discontinuing some models it would seem that there is now a space vacant in the Australian auto market. In a previous article I noted that the SUV’s seemed to be gaining ground on all other vehicle classes despite the economic downturn. With all of this in mind
Holden have refreshed their Captiva range to closer reflect the aspirations of this new market.
As expected the styling is very much in theme with the latest cross range series 2 re-vamp. The new Captiva resembles the curvature and lines of the Holden Cruze series 2, in a sense both are trying to create an air of European styling in their side panels and back ends. Despite these changes the new Captiva (I received the Captiva 7 in an interesting gold colour) is definitely a conservative refresh as opposed to a potentially more daring re-vamp. As an SUV it’s unlikely to match the good looks of an Audi or BMW range, however on the whole it is an attractive vehicle which should poll well with Holden fans. Some colours (black and maroon look great) suit the styling more than others (the white version looks a little disappointing)
When first sitting into the Captiva one is immediately struck by one thing; where is the handbrake lever? Well, its actually now replaced with a simple button leaving a generous amount of cup holder space in its wake. Being a cup holder fan I adapted very quickly to this new space whilst at the same time retaining some nervousness about my ability to remember to use the button on parking. With seven seats (two are fold ups at the back of the vehicle) and ample space for shopping the new Captiva is unashamedly a family oriented car. With the exception of the handbrake change, the centre console and dash are more or less standard Holden set ups with the usual modern conveniences either as standard (Electronic Stability Control, park assist, Bluetooth connectivity etc.) or available as added extras.
Like with most modern diesels the noise factor is now not as much of a deal breaker as it was in the past. The sound only really becomes apparent when the vehicle is stationary (in traffic or at start up) and on most reasonably good roads the noise is almost indistinguishable from traditionally less noisy petrol SUV’s. With impressive torque (400Nm) and power (135Kw) the new Captiva moves on from where its predecessor left off in terms of towing capacity, but what is really remarkable is that the new model is by no means a gas guzzler. The fuel economy is impressive. Reaching 9.1 litres per 100 kilometres whilst keeping everything else is, in itself a remarkable achievement.
In the back of the new Captiva, when the two extra seats are pulled up there are two sets of babies shoe imprints in the moulding, this really says it all for what the new captiva is attempting to accomplish. In my honest opinion the new series will struggle to stand out from an increasingly competitive marketplace as more and more customers look to the Korean brands (Hyundai and KIA) for value for money. However with the Captiva starting at a very reasonable $27,990 and reaching $42,490 at the top end Holden should be capable of extending its reach beyond just family buyers.