Brian Tanner toured south-east NSW to test its power and economy, or at least that's his story! While both Holden and Ford are quick to say that the Captiva is not a competitor for the successful Territory, Holden would like a share of Territory sales, while Ford would kill to have a turbo-diesel in the Territory line-up. In this regard Holden have been first out of the blocks with their 2.0-litre common rail turbo diesel engine joining the petrol Captiva launched last year. The petrol variants impressed and Holden could only be encouraged with sales, which are steadily building each month. The Captiva is pitched at budget conscious all-wheel drive buyers, and the turbo-diesel offering greater range and economy could fit the bill. To test Holden's claim of 8.7 litres per 100 km (auto) I embarked on a 2,000km odyssey from Melbourne through east Gippsland and through various terrain in south east NSW. There was a good mix of city and country touring, a wide variety of road surface and for much of the time with a tidy load on board.
The Captiva is equipped with a 2.0-litre common rail turbo diesel that produces 110kWs of power at 4000 rpm and a respectable 320Nm of torque at 2000 rpm. The in-line four cylinder engine uses the latest common rail system from Bosch, which delivers a flat torque curve through a large portion of the rev range. Torque delivery is assisted by a variable geometry turbocharger. Our test vehicle was the base model SX?Captiva fitted with automatic transmission with Active Select, which in effect is a steptronic device allowing manual gear selection. A straight manual transmission is also available. The diesel variant is not offered in the range-topping MaXX Captiva. The diesel engine is produced at GM Powertrain's Gunsan Plant in South Korea. Apart from the engine all other engineering elements of Captiva - chassis dynamics, steering and brakes - remain the same as introduced on the petrol models. Despite being an introductory level model, the SX is well equipped and with a starting price of $34,990 for the five seat manual and $36,990 for the auto, represents excellent value for money.
Captiva diesel is available in three models, the five seater SX, the seven seater CX and the luxury LX?version also with seven seats. Equipment levels are the same as their petrol counterparts. Standard safety equipment on all Captivas includes all-wheel drive, electronic stability program, traction control, hill descent control, ABS, electronic brakeforce distribution, Active Rollover Protection and dual front airbags. Inside our vehicle was finished in grey and charcoal trim, with a wide dash that incorporates a small centre tray and a large storage bin where the satellite navigation monitor would be housed. The overall feel is modern, with polished alloy highlights down the sides of the centre binnacle, steering wheel and door handles. The shifter is easy to use, and when more enthusiastic driving or manual gear selection is required, the shifter slips to the left gate to move up and down through the 5 gears. Instruments are all clear and easy to read, and there are plenty of storage options. The centre console will store 12 CDs, and there is a 12V plug to charge your mobile phone.
Standard equipment includes air conditioning, power windows, vanity mirrors, centre dome light, tinted windows, cargo area light AM/FM stereo radio, single disc CD player, with MP3 compatibility and sound system control on the steering wheel. The handbrake is located close to the driver's hip and has a large grip. Despite manual adjust seating (in this model) the seats are generally very acceptable, with good side bolstering and lumbar support. The second row seats are 60/40 split and tumble forward to increase the cargo area. Beneath the cargo floor are two deep storage bins that can be used to carry a host of out of sight gear, and across the front of the cargo area is a full width shallow storage tray. Access to the rear is via either pop up glass lid or the full width roof hinged hatch. There are deep door pockets and a neat use of space between the front seats to incorporate drink bottles and storage areas. On the highway the Captiva has a distinct diesel sound, but it is far from being intrusive, with insulation generally pretty good.
The secret to this engine and its performance is the strong torque and the fact that it is available quite early. In short it is competent and economical and there isn't much else you can ask from a 4-cylinder unit, despite its turbocharger. Launch speed can be a bit slow but once mobile this is a fine vehicle. On long highway stints it pulled well, although when we started long hill climbs we experienced a disconcerting loud surge noise, which we put down to the air cooler kicking in. The Captiva while not sluggish on these long up hill climbs, became a far better, far more responsive unit by taking advantage of Active Select. Flick the gear shifter into manual mode and the Captiva was far more willing to get up and go. There is plenty of torque on tap and while some gearboxes instinctively go gear hunting, the Captiva box hung onto gears - often for too long before downshifting. It happily cruised at 100 km/h at 1900 rpm. The engine is smooth and ride and handling is surprisingly well sorted out. Across rutted roads, the suspension soaked up bumps and the all-wheel drive system kept us on line even when dancing across corrugations.
The suspension is firm, but with a load on board and two adults it improved. On fast windy roads there is some understeer that is not aided by some body roll. Economy wise the Captiva certainly has the potential to deliver excellent results, with our overall economy in the low 7 litres per 100 kms, which is excellent considering the vehicle was generally loaded and pushed along when able. Similarly, when in manual mode fuel consumption seemed to increase. Diesel Captiva does many things competently, but not outstandingly. Now while this might equate to an ordinary vehicle, this is not so with the Captiva being better than average. It does most things well and while not top of the class in any, cumulatively it rates highly. A mid-sized - family sized - wagon, powered by a responsive and modern turbo-diesel engine is the right type of car and powertrain for today's fuel conscious SUV?buyer. While not designed for off road work, Captiva handles dirt roads easily, although poor ground clearance precludes venturing far off main roads. It is equipped with hill descent control, which is largely cosmetic, as the car should not be driven into terrain where it has to worry about safe descents.
On road Captiva diesel is a sound proposition. It is sure footed and the all-wheel drive system works unintrusively - as it should. This is a practical and functional vehicle that is good value.
Specifications: Holden Captiva turbo-diesel
Type: 2.0-litre common rail turbo diesel. In-line SOHC 16 valve 4 cylinder. High pressure, direct injection. Variable
geometry turbocharger. Charge air cooler.
Compression ratio: 17.5
Max. Power: [email protected] 4000 rpm
Max Torque: 320Nm @ 2000 rpm
Type: 5-speed automatic with Active Select. Active all-wheel drive.
5 sp Auto 5-sp manual
1st 4.575 3.820
2nd 2.979 1.970
3rd 1.947 1.304
4th 1.318 0.971
5th 1.00 0.767
Final drive: 2.397 4.357
All-wheel drive system
The AWD system is 'Active Torque On Demand'. An electronically controlled electro-hydraulic differential ensures the best possible torque distribution between the front and rear axles. As
driving conditions dictate, the rear axle is employed via an electronically controlled electro-magnetic coupling to give increased traction. The torque split ratio between front and rear wheels is variable in real time depending on driving
Brakes: Four wheel disc. Ventilated discs - front & rear. ABS - 4-channel, 4 sensor.
Steering: Rack & pinion power steering
Turning circle: 11.5 metres
Wheels & Tyres: 17”x7” 5 spoke alloy wheels. 235/60 R17 102H (road biased tyres).
• Active all-wheel drive system
• Electronic Stability Program
• Traction Control System
• Hydraulic Brake Assist
• Descent Control System
• Anti-lock Braking System
• Electronic Brakeforce Distribution
• Active Rollover Protection
• Level Ride Suspension
• Driver & front passenger airbags
Dimensions and Capacities
LxWxH: 4637 x 2110 xs 1720mm
Track front/rear: 1562/1572mm
Ground clearance: 200mm
Approach angle: 24.4°
Departure angle: 23.3°
Fuel tank capacity: 65 litres
Towing: 750kg unbraked, 1700kg braked