Tuesday, March 27, 2012
It’s vehicles like the second generation Captiva which are spearheading a range of models that are doing wonders for Holden in this country.
One of the reasons behind the Captiva’s success is its “Something for everyone and every budget” model line up. The Series 2 continues that theme with eight models the cheapest starting at $38490 for the 4-cylinder 5-speed manual. The all bells and whistles LX Captiva turbo diesel automatic I drove sells for a competitive $57890. There is a petrol powered version that uses the same 190kw 3.0 litre V6 found in entry level Commodores. I cannot understand why anyone would want this big and rather thirsty six after driving the live wire diesel.The all new 135kw 2.2 litre turbo diesel adds some serious performance kick to the Captiva and is more sophisticated than the smaller 2.0 litre diesel it replaces. Throttle response is strong and you get an illustration of just how strong, the first time you pull out to pass slower moving traffic that rapidly disappears in your rear vision mirror as the engine hits its straps.
At idle and under hard acceleration the engine turns up the vocals, while not of heavy metal proportions, well I guess it is in one sense, its not music to the ears of the driver or passengers. Smarter use of and a lift in the quality of sound deadening material in key locations around the engine compartment, would help knock the top off the motor's current elevated noise levels.
Handling and road holding is far more disciplined and controlled than the previous model with noticeably less body roll at higher cornering speeds. This combined with improved levels of grip, mean the suspension is less likely to fold when it is under siege from rougher road surfaces. I was pleasantly surprised at the ride and handling gains that have been made between the previous Captiva and this one. While the steering is still a bit light and vague, overall it is now a far more enjoyable vehicle to drive.
What is verdict? A welcome and worthwhile update of one of Holden’s best selling models.