HOLDEN has joined the steady stream of car manufacturers who reveal mid-model updates to keep their vehicles on par, with Captiva this year enjoying a mini-makeover.
The inclusions list has taken on more of a luxurious look but price is probably the most significant change with our test car, the LX seven-seater $2000 cheaper.
The Captiva now also has E85 bio-ethanol fuel capability which Holden says improves performance and reduces emissions by as much as 40%.
Opinion is divided on this latest endeavour with the general feeling that while the Captiva is more competitive in terms of value add-ons, it has lost some of its driver satisfaction.
The interior of the Captiva is roomy with plenty in it for even those passengers in the third row.
Seats are a bit too straight to allow for cushiony comfort with limited support across the width.
The controls are easy to use with obvious thought given to placement and while everything looks pretty run-of-the-mill except for electronic parking brake, the Captiva delivers on overall appearance.
The steering wheel is uncluttered but allows for the basics like cruise control, Bluetooth and volume control that most people actually use.
There are plenty of storage solutions around the cabin for both large and small items while the boot is a respectable 465 litres with the last row folded flat.
On the road
Let's say from the onset that the V6 engine didn't seem the best fit for the six-speed auto transmission with performance acceptable but not very inspiring.
It is easy to manoeuvre, has minimal body roll and attacks the task at hand in a robust fashion.
You do feel every bump however, even the small ones, and there is a general feeling of a lack of power as it strains quite audibly trying to deliver even when unladen.
The 2.2 litre diesel engine priced just $1000 higher and delivering 400Nm of torque would seem the more practical option.
The Captiva's all-wheel-drive capabilities are a boon on slippery or dirt roads but we wouldn't put it through a rigorous off-road adventure.
What do you get?
This mid-year update has included the addition of extras across the range with our LX variant sporting 19-inch alloys, heated leather seats, eight-way power adjustment to driver's seat, reverse camera, front and rear parking sensors, seven-inch touch screen with integrated sat-nav, Bluetooth connectivity and USB and SD card audio inputs.
In terms of safety the Captiva is equipped with dual front, side and full-length curtain airbags, hill descent, traction control, stability control, electronic brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution.
The Captiva is a good seller for Holden, the 7 more so than the 5, but still faces increasing competition from the Mazda CX7 (from $33,990), Toyota Kluger (from $44,490), Mitsubishi Pajero (from $60,590) and even the Land Rover Evoque (from $53,390).
Space is a major advantage of the Captiva.
Seven seats that can be configured in 32 different ways offer a range of options whether you need to transport extra kids, are going for a surf or using the car to transport bulky items.
The back seat is slightly raised, allowing passengers a good view while the reverse camera and sensors are important parking and safety aids.
The touch-screen sat-nav has good graphics and is really easy to use.
The controls on the steering don't light up at night - a difficult inconvenience.
This update gains E85 bio-ethanol capability and apparently improved fuel consumption figures.
Our test struggled to stay anywhere near the official 10.1l/100km figures which was rather disappointing.
Holden also offers only a three-year warranty unlike other South Korean-built SUVs that offer a five-year deal as standard.
Holden has sharpened up the Captiva's look with a more sculpted snout and additional intake grilles.
A new bonnet and stylish headlights combine well with chrome door handles and skid plates for a modern look.
These mid-year updates to keep the Captiva current add to the edge afforded by the low price.
The Captiva has space, is practical but the drive is a tad less endearing.
It does, however, wear the Holden badge which is still a plus for many buyers.
Model: Holden Captiva 7.
Details: Five-door all wheel drive SUV.
Transmission: Six-speed auto
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 SIDI petrol generating maximum power of 190kW at 6900rpm and peak torque of 288Nm @ 5800rpm.
Consumption: 10.1 litres/100km combined average.
Bottom line: from $42,490
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