Holden Captiva
(2006 - 2017)

  • Quite inexpensive for an SUV in this class
  • Good amount of equipment and features
  • Good levels of practicality
  • Ummm…
  • Horrendous and deserved reputation for reliability
  • Utterly underwhelming driving experience
  • Interior can feel cheap (and nasty)
  • Range of variants and permutations are completely confusing
Overview

The Captiva mid-sized five- or seven-seater lobbed in the mid Noughties as Holden’s solution for a must-have large-ish SUV. It was GM/H response to Ford’s home-spun Territory and a replacement for the mixed-bag Commodore wagon-based Adventra and the imported Captiva couldn’t have more different in every way.

Its story is, erm, complicated. And can be a bit of a minefield for the casual used-tyre-kicker.

The Captiva was sourced from GM Korea, aka the former Daewoo. Well, both of them. See, the regular Captiva was a rebadged Chevrolet of the same model name, whereas the high-end Captiva MaXX version was instead based on an Opel Antara. Different vehicles, then, albeit with technical similarities in platform and with powertrains.

At its 2006 launch, there were three grades – SX, CX and LX – of regular Captiva, price between $36k and $42k. The Opel based (slightly shorter) MaXX range-topper was $43k. Despite the South Korean source, all version used an Aussie-made 169kW/297Nm 3.2 petrol V6 backed by a five-speed auto and on-demand all-wheel drive. To confuse matters (more), the SX and MaXX were five-seaters, the middle-rung variants offering seven…

For MY08, a 2.0-litre turbodiesel four outputting 110kW/320Nm lobbed and could had with a five- speed manual in base SX trim ($35k) as well as the staple automatic elsewhere in the range.

From mid-2008, you could also get the oiler SX in front-wheel drive. Right around here the Captiva story gets muddier. Holden axes the MaXX flagship, though it returns in spirit in late 2009 as the Captiva 5 (for five seats). And with the new name is fresh power by way of a new 103kW/220Nm 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine, with manual/auto and FWD/AWD options, kicking off as low as $28k.

From here, the ‘5’ sits along the renamed Captiva 7 (for…you get the idea) carrying over the petrol-V6 and diesel-four motivation as the higher-spec versions that nudge up to a $45k plateau. At least Holden kept the SX, CX and LX variant structure for familiar continuity.

Then the Series II facelift arrived in 2011 and the whole shebang copped another shake-up. The Captiva 5’s petrol 2.4 was upped to 123kW/230Nm as a front driver only (from $28k), but soon enough a more powerful 135kW/400Nm 2.2L diesel ‘5’ joined the fray ($34k) with a six-speed auto.

Meanwhile, the now (77mm) longer Series II Captiva 7 could be had with a new, Aussie-made, Commodore-shared 3.0-litre petrol V6 good for 190kW/288Nm. You could also get the new 2.2 oiler in the ‘7’, with both engines backed by a six-speed auto and AWD.

Just to ensure everyone was paying attention, Holden went and adopted (mid-spec) LT and (flagship) LTZ naming in 2015 – both seven seaters – while the familiar LS could be had with five or (optional) seven pews.

Digging down into features and options throughout Captiva’s dozen-year lifecycle is too exhaustive for here. But in a nutshell, Holden’s large-ish family hauler never really hit critical heights in its segment and was renown, fairly or not, for patchy quality and questionable reliability.

Holden would axed the Captiva 5 in 2016, the nameplate living on for a couple of years – as just Captiva, no ‘7’ – until the then seven-seat-only model was replaced by Equinox in 2018.

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What goes wrong
  • In terms of the exterior there are many of reports that anything that has a relationship with electricity, like the windows, the mirrors, the lights, the and the central locking can all glitch out or just fail.
  • Captiva’s fitted with sunroofs are becoming renown for excessive rattles and there are many reports of the roofs leaking.
  • There are reports out there of door seals leaking.
  • Inside it’s the same story as the exterior, electronic gremlins galore. Everything from the Air Conditioning and ventilation failing to infotainment systems crashing to random dash warnings and faulty gauges,
  • The worst however is dodgy electronics that can lead to stuttering acceleration, even resulting in the engine stopping completely.
  • If you are in the market for one of these, make sure you press every button and make sure everything works.
  • Aside from the above, there are dozens of reports of random things breaking, falling apart or failing. Trim pieces, upholstery, all something of a nightmare really.
  • We should also mention, the Captiva has been recalled multiple times for everything from niggly issues to genuine safety concerns so make sure you check out the car’s history to see if these recalls have been resolved.
  • Mechanically the terrible reputation is well deserved too.
  • The worst enemy of the V6 petrol is the dreaded P0016 cam/crank correlation fault codes. This is where the cam shafts & crank shaft are slightly out of sync and is caused by stretched timing chains & worn guides. It’s a complicated repair and here in Australia most independent workshops can repair it in a day and typically costs around $1500. It’s a job that we’d highly recommend using the genuine GM timing kit to repair it. They might be slightly more expensive but they’re a more comprehensive kit just fit more accurately.
  • The 4-cylinder petrol engines have timing chain issues too. The pivot bolt for the chain tensioner likes to break off cause timing chain failure.
  • As for the 2.2 litre 4-cylinder turbo diesels, they also have timing chain complications, turbo problems too which can sometimes be linked to lack of servicing.
  • Another common thing that happens randomly regardless of service history is oil cooler leaks, forcing engine oil into the cooling system. To replace this with a decent quality cooler and all the associated seals is about $1200 round trip.
  • The drivelines have plenty of problems too. Transfer case failure is fairly common and rear diff and the rear diff coupling can be problematic too.
  • An interesting statistic, out of the last 15 Captiva’s that were in our workshop for servicing or repairs, six of them required a significant repair well in excess of $1000. That’s not including any wear & tear items or service-related costs. That’s 40% of them. Now for some perspective a Toyota Kluger is less than 5%.
Model range, pricing & features

SX/LS

  • Price when new: $26,490 - $39,490
  • Price used: $2,500 - $25,000

Introduced in September 2006, the SX is the entry-level model of the range and available as part of the South Korean built/Captiva 7 model range. For the MY14 update, the SX had model had been renamed to LS.

Standard Features:

17-inch alloy wheels
Body-coloured door mirrors and handles
Tinted windows
Centre-mount stop light
Hydraulic steering system
Independent rear suspension
4-star ANCAP safety rating (tested 2007)
4-wheel disc brakes
Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
Electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD)
Brake assist
Electronic stability program (ESP)
Traction control
Anti-rollover protection
Hill descent control (HDC)
2 airbags: driver and front passenger airbags
3-point (lap sash) seatbelt for all occupants
Height adjustable seatbelts for driver and front passenger
Seat pre-tensioners for for driver and front passenger
Two-height adjustable head restraints
Electric side mirrors
Electric windows – front and rear with driver’s auto up/down function
Cruise control
Interior lights – dome lamp, front reading lamps, cargo area lamp
Intermittent wipers
Rear wiper
Remote central locking
Tachometer
Fuel gauge
Digital clock
Manual handbrake
Power steering
Steering wheel – tilt (up/down) and telescopic (reach) adjust
Multi-functional sterring wheel
Manual air conditioning
Cloth upholstery
Manually adjustable driver’s and front passenger’s seat
4-speaker sound system
AM/FM radio
CD player
12V power outlet – boot
Cup holders – front
Cup holders – rear
Centre console storage
Glovebox
Sunglasses holder
Vanity mirror for front passenger
60:40 rear folding seats

September 2007 updates:
4 airbags: driver and front passenger and full-length curtain airbags
Leather-wrapped steering wheel

March 2009 updates:
Automatic headlights

December 2009 updates:
CD player with MP3 compatibility
AUX (3.5mm) input

CG2 (March 2011) updates:
5-star ANCAP safety rating (tested 2011) – FWD variants only
6 airbags: driver and front passenger, front side impact and full-length curtain airbags
Leather-wrapped multi-functional steering wheel
Heated exterior side mirrors
Electromechnical park brake
Bluetooth phone connectivity

January 2014 updates:
Rear parking sensors
USB input
iPod connectivity

February 2016 updates:
Park assist function
7-inch infotainment system with “MyLink”
Apple CarPlay – wired
Android Auto – wired
Voice control
6-speaker sound system
Dual-zone climate control

Active

  • Price when new: Active
  • Price used: $11,000 - $26,500

Released in February 2015, the Captiva 7 Active limited edition model was based on the front-wheel drive LS model and powered by 2.4 litre 4-cylinder petrol engine.

The Active model featured additional comfort and luxury features on top of the LS model.

In addition to LS:

Leather upholstery
8-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat
Front fog lights
Sunroof
Roof rails

CX/LT

  • Price when new: $25,990 - $41,490
  • Price used: $5,000 - $27,000

Introduced in September 2006, the CX model was the middle of the range and added features like curtain airbags and level-ride suspension.

From MY14 update, the CX model had been renamed to the LT.

In addition to SX:

Level-ride suspension
4 airbags: driver and front passenger and full-length curtain airbags
6-speaker sound system
6-disc in-dash CD player
Fold-flat third row seats

September 2007 update:
Chrome exhaust tips
Front fog lights
Charcoal roof rails
Trip computer
Rear parking sensors
Climate control

March 2009 update:
Automatic headlights

CG2 (March 2011) updates:
5-star ANCAP safety rating (tested 2011) – FWD variants only
6 airbags: driver and front passenger, front side impact and full-length curtain airbags
Rear parking sensors
Compass
“Sportec” seat bolsters

January 2014 updates:
18-inch alloy wheels
Push-button start
Integrated side steps

February 2016 updates:
Park assist function
Power sunroof
7-inch infotainment system with “MyLink”
Apple CarPlay – wired
Android Auto – wired
Dual USB inputs
Voice control
6-speaker sound system
Dual-zone climate control

Captiva 5

  • Price when new: $27,990 - $33,990
  • Price used: $4,000 - $16,000

From 2009 until 2013, the Captiva 5 model sat between the CX and LX. It was based on the slightly smaller Opel Antara variant.

The Captiva 5 offered largely the same features as the CX, with added features such as side fender vents, front and rear parking sensors and a 7-speaker sound system. The was incorporated into the conventional model layout as LT.

In addition to CX:

Side fender vents
Rear mudflaps
Front fog lights
Front and rear parking sensors
Vanity mirror, driver’s side. Illuminated, with cover
Storage tray under front passenger’s seat
Electric windows, front and rear with auto up/down for all windows
Roof-mounted radio antenna
7-speaker sound system

CG2 (March 2011) updates:
5-star ANCAP safety rating (tested 2011) – FWD variants only
6 airbags: driver and front passenger, front side impact and full-length curtain airbags
Electromechnical parking brake

January 2014 updates:
18-inch alloy wheels
Chrome door handles

LX/LTZ

  • Price when new: LX/LTZ
  • Price used: $3,500 - $31,000

The LX is the top-of-the-range model in the Captiva range and added a variety of comfort and luxury features on top of the CX model.

For the MY14 update, the LX model was renamed to LTZ.

In addition to CX:

18-inch alloy wheels
Side fender vents
Stainless steel sill plates (LX only)
Front fog lamps
Three-height adjustable head restraints
Driver information centre and trip computer
Multi-functional leather sterring wheel
Heated side mirrors
Climate control
Vanity mirror, driver and passenger side. Illuminated, with cover
Leather upholstery
8-Way electrically adjustable driver’s seat
8-speaker sound system
Ventilated glovebox

September 2007 update:
Silver roof rails
Chrome door handles
Rear parking sensors
Automatic headlights

March 2009 update:
Reversing camera
Leather-wrapped gear shifter

CG2 (March 2011) updates:
5-star ANCAP safety rating (tested 2011) – FWD variants only
6 airbags: driver and front passenger, front side impact and full-length curtain airbags
19-inch alloy wheels (Captiva 7 variants)
Electrochromatic rear vision mirror
7-inch touchscreen infotainment system
Satellite navigation

January 2014 updates:
19-inch alloy wheels (Captiva 5 variants)
Rain-sensing wipers
Heated front seats
Front parking sensors

February 2016 updates:
Blind spot alert
Rear cross traffic alert

LX 60th Anniversary Edition

  • Price when new: $43,990 - $44,990
  • Price used: $5,550 - $11,000

The LX 60th Anniversary Edition was released in May 2008, and was a limited edition model which added features such as a electrochromatic rear vision mirror, 7-inch in-dash display with DVD player, reversing camera, and a leather wrapped gear shifter.

In addition to LX:

New front fascia
New tail lamps
Black bezel headlamps
Silver painted skid plate, fog lamp inserts, roof rails and door handles
Leather-wrapped gear shifter
Electrochromatic rear vision mirror
7-inch in-dash display with DVD player
Reversing camera
Front passenger under-seat storage

Maxx

  • Price when new: $42,990 - $44,490
  • Price used: $5,500 - $12,500

The Maxx was the top of the range model for the Opel Antara variant from 2006-08.

In addition to the LX, the Maxx offered auto up/down electric windows, roof-mounted antenna and additional storage.

In addition to LX:

Vanity mirror, driver’s side. Illuminated, with cover
Storage tray under front passenger’s seat
Electric windows, front and rear with auto up/down for all windows
Roof-mounted radio antenna
7-speaker sound system

September 2007 update:
Front and rear parking sensors
Rain-sensing wipers
Automatic headlights
Retractable cargo cover

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Should you buy it?

You don’t have to buy a Captiva, and you should not buy a Captiva.

Yes on paper they offer a lot of equipment and features and when compared to their rivals, they seem to offer excellent value for money but the problem is, excluding maybe a couple of dozen unicorn examples out there, the Captiva is just a bad car.

Even the unicorn examples are average at best and there are just so many other better options, like public transport, walking or being shot out of a cannon.

Please do not buy a Captiva, they’re terrible and only getting worse.

Warranty & servicing

Warranty:

3 years/100,000kms
5 years/unlimited kms (from 1st July 2018)

Servicing:

9 months/15,000kms (Maxx, Captiva 5 models)
12 months/15,000kms (All other models, Captiva 7 models)

Tech specs

Body style:

5-door SUV

Engines:

2.0 litre 4-cylinder petrol (Captiva 5) – Until 2011
2.0 litre 4-cylinder diesel (SX, CX, LX) – Until 2011
2.2 litre 4-cylinder diesel (SX, LS, Captiva 5, CX, LT, LX, LTZ) – From 2011
2.4 litre 4-cylinder petrol (SX, LS, Captiva 5, LT) – From 2011
3.2 litre V6 petrol (SX, CX, LX, Maxx) – Until 2011
3.0 litre V6 petrol (CX, LT, LX, LTZ) – From 2011

Power:

103kW – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder petrol
110kW – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder diesel
135kW – 2.2 litre 4-cylinder diesel
123kW – 2.4 litre 4-cylinder petrol
167kW – 3.2 litre V6 petrol (Maxx)
169kW – 3.2 litre V6 petrol (SX, CX, LX)
190kW – 3.0 litre V6 petrol

Torque:

220Nm – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder petrol
320Nm – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder diesel
400Nm – 2.2 litre 4-cylinder diesel
230Nm – 2.4 litre 4-cylinder petrol
297Nm – 3.2 litre V6 petrol
288Nm – 3.0 litre V6 petrol

Transmission & drive:

5-speed manual, front-wheel drive (FWD) – SX, Captiva 5
5-speed automatic, front-wheel drive (FWD) – SX
5-speed automatic, all-wheel drive (AWD) – SX, CX, LX, Maxx, Captiva 5
6-speed manual, front wheel-drive (FWD) – Captiva 5, LT – From 2011 to 2015
6-speed automatic, front wheel-drive (FWD) – Captiva 5, SX, LS, LT, LTZ – From 2011
6-speed automatic, all wheel-drive (AWD) – Captiva 5, SX, LS, CX, LT, LX, LTZ – From 2011

Fuel consumption:

7.2 – 11.6L/100km

Dimensions:

Length:

4570 – 4637mm

Width:

1849 – 1850mm

Height:

1700 – 1720mm

Kerb weight:

1640 – 1810kg

Towing (unbraked/braked):

750kg / 2000kg (1700kg for Maxx and Captiva5 variants)

Disclaimer

Information correct as of July 29, 2022.

The advice provided on this website is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

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