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Holden Captiva CX Diesel Car Review

Author: NRMA MotoringDate: 14 September 2007

In late 2006 Holden launched the Captiva range - a five/seven seater all wheel drive SUV, which featured Holden's new Australian-built Alloytec V6 engine. Three specification levels, SX, CX, LX, plus the Captiva Maxx (shorter in length, designed in Europe with a more edgy appearance but with the same petrol engine), came into the market to tackle the likes of Ford Territory, Toyota Kluger and Hyundai's Santa Fe, and others including the traditional station wagon buyer.
Enter the diesel Captiva, complete with a two litre turbocharged common rail diesel that's been designed in Europe. It develops 110Nm of power and 320 Nm of torque, putting it on almost equal footing with the Hyundai Santa Fe Diesel; plus being a new generation diesel it's Euro4 emission compliant. 

Value for money



The Captiva CX automatic comes in at just under $40,000, it's priced at $39,990. Equivalent specced CX Captiva's with the 3.2 litre Alloytec petrol engine are $1,000 cheaper, priced at $38,990.

There are plenty of choices in the SUV segment although it slims down if your requirements are for a seven seater and diesel power. Hyundai's excellent Santa Fe diesel in seven seat guise is $3,500 dearer at $43990.

Standard features

The mid spec level CX model comes equipped with air-conditioning, power steering, electric mirrors with one touch down function for the driver, cruise control, plus a four speaker sound system with a single in dash CD/MP3 player.

Seventeen inch alloy wheels, ABS braking, with Electronic Stability Control, Electronic Stability Program (ESP), hill hold and an engine immobiliser form the basis of a comprehensive features list.

Design & functionality

Space & practicality

Having the seven seat configuration adds extra versatility especially when the weekend comes around and extra seats are needed for the football taxi duties. The third row of seats are stowed nearly flat in the luggage compartment if they're not needed. Easiest entry is via the second row of seats, flick a seat mounted lever and the second row tumble forward with the assistance of a hydraulic ram. A fair degree of effort is required to fold them back and care is required not to squash the third row passengers' feet with the seat securing latches when performing the operation.

There are plenty of storage hidey holes, a generous glovebox with a divider, two cup holders in the centre console and shallow map pockets in the front doors.


Front seats - especially the seat base are flat and reasonably supportive, when a corner comes into sight the support gives away and you start to fly around. The seat back rest does a slightly better job holding you in place - just.

The second row provides good levels of comfort, the centre position less so, it felt firmer, and the third row is best suited to small children. 


Simple and straightforward - the only criticism is the placement of the handbrake down low in the centre console - it's a bit of a stretch. Sitting behind the wheel all the major controls come readily to hand. With the high seating position, forward vision is excellent. When reversing, rearward vision is restricted by the thick rear C pillars, and it's made worse if the second row headrests are raised.


Standard across the range is Electronic Stability Program (ESP), dual front airbags, curtain airbags, (they are optional on the base SX), plus ABS brakes with Brake Assist (EBA) and Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), traction control, descent control and active roll over protection form the basis of a comprehensive safety package. An Australian NCAP safety rating is not available at this point, however the European NCAP has given a four star rating to the left hand drive Chevrolet Captiva, results could vary for the Australian version.

Build quality & finish

Inside and out, in terms of fit, the Captiva presents well, although on the base and mid specced models the dash looks a bit barren with a large opening in the centre of the dash that's too big for its own good. Body margins are even and the quality of internal plastic moulding up a notch from the hard edged Korean product from years gone by. Chrome tipped exhaust outlets on the top specced LX should be across the range, without them the mid and base models look unfinished.


Security for the Captiva Diesel is the same as the petrol versions, remote central locking and an engine immobiliser. It receives an NRMA Insurance security rating of 52/120 which is below average, especially for a new model in this class.

On the road


One big advantage the diesel has over its petrol siblings is in its fuel consumption. The diesel is a frugal SUV indeed. Around town in the petrol Captiva we recorded a figure of just under 14 litres per 100km - the more efficient diesel recorded 11.9 litres per 100km. Our best figure recorded during testing was 10.8 litres per 100km.


In common with a lot of mid sized SUVs power delivery to the wheels is via an 'on demand' system meaning that drive is predominately through the front wheels. When wheel slip is detected a maximum 50:50 torque split is available which for most people who may find themselves off the beaten track only occasionally, will find satisfactory

The two litre common rail diesel develops 110kW of power and 320Nm of torque, and matched to a five speed automatic transmission is perfectly suited to the Captiva - more so than the petrol models driven earlier.

On longer inclines the petrol versions seemed to lacklustre and needed a bunch of revs for best results, not so with the diesel. The extra low down torque and good spread of gear ratios meant that little troubled the diesel. It's not as quick in the 0-400 metre sprint as the petrol engined Captiva, but its in gear performance is closer, and out on the open road it cruises along effortlessly.


The impressive quality ride highlights what can happen when Holden Engineers can get their hands on a Korean product and spend some time with it at the proving ground. Slightly firmer initially than some of its competition it has top quality compliance; even when a wheel is dropped off the bitumen the ride remains composed.

Off road on stretches of corrugated dirt there was a little sharpness, and some minor steering wheel shake but the long travel suspension soaked up everything thrown at it, and in terms of ride it felt up a class.

Handling & steering

It's a shame the steering is communicated to the driver through such a large old fashioned-looking steering wheel (the top specced LX leather wrapped version is so much better), as the steering provides excellent feedback to the driver. It's direct and not too heavy. With its hefty mass and average power levels, the Captiva diesel is no sportscar, but its handling traits are as good as anything else in its class. Good steering feedback, nicely balanced springs and dampers make the Captiva a safe, vice free vehicle to drive.


Ventilated discs front and rear, measuring 292mm for the fronts and 303 for the rears plus ABS with EBA and EBD haul up this 1800 kilo SUV without fuss. The only criticism being that the brake pedal feel was a little dead in its feedback to the driver.

Smoothness & quietness

Most noticeable at idle was the diesel clatter, it reminds you of a light commercial, which is a shame because once underway the diesel noise is much less noticeable. The engine transmission combination works well together to provide high levels of refinement.


With sales in the SUV market enjoying unpredecented growth, Holden is positioned nicely with the inclusion of the diesel engine in the Captiva range. In my view it is the pick of the Captiva bunch. The extra low down engine torque provides a more satisfing driving experience compared to the petrol version and with a price difference of only $1000, the fuel savings with the diesel won't take forever to add up.

Test vehicle supplied by GM Holden LTD.

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Quick Facts

Make Holden
Model Captiva CX Diesel
Category Medium SUV
Year 2007
Body type SUV
Price of vehicle tested 40,000

Fuel consumption
Ride quality
Electronic Stability Program standard


Risk of squashing feet when third row seat is secured
Thin rimmed steering wheel
Noisy diesel clatter at idle

Country of manufacture Korea
Warranty 3 years
Models Available



Captiva CX automatic: $40,000



Number of cylinders 4
Engine size 1.991 L
Fuel Diesel
Claimed max power (kW) 110 kW @ 4000 rpm
Claimed max torque (Nm) 320 Nm @ 2000 rpm


Type CVT


Wheel type Alloy


Type Kumho
Dimensions 235/60X17
Spare tyre type Space saver


Type Power assist rack and pinion
Turns to lock 3.2 m
Turning circle (measured) 12.1 m


Mass 1764 kg
Length 4637 mm
Width (including mirrors) 2105 mm
Height 1720 mm
Seating capacity 7
Fuel capacity 65 litres


Max towed mass (trailer plus load) 1700 kg

NRMA Theft Rating

Points on scale 0 - 120 (high score is best) 52

Acceleration - Test results

50 - 80km/h 5.0 secs
60 - 100km/h 8.0 secs
0 - 80km/h 8.9 secs
0 - 100km/h 13.6 secs

Fuel Consumption

Best recorded during testing 10.8 L/100km
Worst recorded during testing 11.9 L/100km
Average on test 11.5 L/100km


Distance to stop (from 80km/h) 29.6 metres


Interior noise at constant 80km/h 68 dB(A)

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