Joel Helmes reviews the entry-level Holden Captiva 5 LT.
This is it folks, the absolute entry-level point into the Holden Captiva range.
The LT is priced from $26,490 for the six-speed manual; the auto version of the LT will set you back from $28,690. My test car was the manual.
Under the bonnet is a 2.4 litre four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 123kW and 230Nm. Fuel consumption, not bad – 8.8L/100kms combined.
The engine is a good place to start with this grade of Captiva 5 because it is actually one of the strongest parts of the story. Mated to the six-speed manual transmission, the engine is happy enough to rev and, in general, acceleration around town is up to the job.
Highway speeds are well covered too, though you might find yourself changing up out of sixth-gear quite regularly when an incline or overtaking is required – this is due to the limitations of the 230Nm.
The throw of the transmission (i.e. how far the shifter moves from one gear to the other) lets the feel down a little, combined with quite a large and hard steering wheel this grade of Captiva 5 is a little ‘truck-like’.
Steering though is pretty good and the ride is actually much better than I’d expected from this bargain-basement SUV. A big letdown though is the turning circle – it’s massive!
The Captiva 5 comes with a push-button park brake and hill holder too, this takes a little getting used to in a manual car (i.e. with hill starts) but the system works well.
There are some highlights in the cabin too, especially the seats. While you might expect fairly flat and unsupportive seats in an SUV at this price, those in the Captiva 5 are anything but.
Quite good legroom front and back, surprisingly good cabin space and an array of storage areas throughout the cabin come in very handy, especially when kids are your main cargo!
Clear gauges, well-placed and well-designed binnacle switches and steering wheel controls are some of the other highlights.
Overall however the cabin of the 2014 Holden Captiva 5 LT is dated and a bit cheap. It just doesn’t feel as crisp and clean as it probably should. In some ways it kinds of feels like it’s fitted with bits and pieces from a couple of different models, like its not a unique and dedicated model.
Warning, DO NOT leave the dealership in your Captiva 5 LT without a thorough understanding of how the stereo system works – after a week of experimenting I still couldn’t work out how to change the radio band!
Thankfully it was an easy process synching my iPhone, but alas this grade of Captiva 5 doesn’t offer Bluetooth audio streaming, bummer!
The climate control adjustments are also a little too small and a lot too low for my liking.
One interesting thing to note on this model is that Holden will happily give you a sunroof and 18” alloy wheels at no extra cost (don’t leave the dealership without these too, though the lower profile tyres on the larger wheels won’t help ride comfort).
There isn’t an ANCAP safety rating for the Captiva 5.
Summing it up; the engine is surprisingly frugal and willing, while the ride, legroom, storage areas, seats and cargo space all get a big tick.
On the downside, the Captiva 5 is horribly dated. It’s also not the nicest small SUV to drive, this isn’t helped by the big turning circle and some of the design elements that are either poorly thought-out, cheap or just plain out-of-date.
Still, at just under $26,490 you can’t expect perfection can you?
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 2.4 litre petrol producing 123kW and 230Nm
Transmission: Six-speed manual or six-speed auto
Safety: Not tested
Origin: South Korea
Price: From $26,490