In 2014, there are wide number of 7 seater vehicles available for families that need a little more space and flexibility for their day to day duties.
There are people movers, hardcore 4×4’s and soft-roading SUV’s offering to meet those needs. Stepping up to be reviewed this time is Holden’s second largest 7 seat SUV is the Captiva 7, sitting below the much larger 4×4 Colorado 7.
The 2014 Holden Captiva 7, that is larger all round compared to the Captiva 5, is available in a wide range of petrol and diesel engines, as well as in 2WD and AWD drive types.
This means that there’s bound to be a Captiva that matches the budget constraints and flexibility needed by families.
Styling wise it’s easy to spot its American origin with the squarer styling and big feeling dimensions. The proportions feel right and it looks better than some other SUV’s on the road.
In our top of the range LTZ AWD Diesel, there’s exterior styling including front fog lamps, silver painted skid plates, and sidesteps adding some nice touches to the practicality that is present.
Thankfully there’s smart key entry and push button start available across the range that makes the transition to the interior that much easier.
Unfortunately, the age of the Captiva 7 is shown on the inside. Even though the surfaces are hard wearing and will fare well against children, there’s no sense of comfort to be found here.
To make up for this, there is a touchscreen navigation system to make sure you never get lost.
Even with those previous points in mind, there’s no doubt that the Captiva 7 is made to put on some serious mileage. Driving during heavy traffic there was no issues with stop start traffic, partly due to the super smooth 6-speed auto and the 135kW/400Nm diesel engine.
Acceleration was surprisingly good and power was plentiful, even when loaded with loads of gear and people in the back. The AWD system we used with ‘Active Torque on Demand’, placing power exactly when and where it was needed, made life that much more easier in the Captiva 7.
Other features that proved their worth included the Descent Control System, Active Rollover Protection, Hill Start Assist and Brake Assist. Particularly important when you want to protect your little ones on board.
Even though Holden state that the expected fuel economy for the 2.2L diesel engine in our review car was a combined figure of 9.1L/100km, we managed to easily beat that figure.
The traditional hydraulic power steering showed its weaknesses with heavier than expected steering and a turning circle that left you needing a few more attempts at fitting into tight parking spaces.
Overall, the drivability and handling was a lot better than we had expected. The fuel economy was such that it allowed us to drive 800km on less than one 65L tank, equating to a figure of less than 8L/100km.
During our review period, the Captiva filled the role of the daily driver. Travelling to and from school, work and everywhere else you could imagine, and it couldn’t have been easier.
With the higher seat positioning and great view of the road, navigating traffic and negotiating merges is somewhat stress free. The large side mirrors do a fantastic job of eliminating blind spots and making sure you’re not going to miss that cyclist next to you.
Of course with 7 seats, there’s plenty of space for the whole family – even if third row of seats are reserved for those of a shorter nature.
The inclusion of a reversing camera in our review model helped out greatly to avoid kids passing behind, that hidden pole or simply to hitch to a trailer. And the massive cargo area that’s made available when the third row of seats is folded down makes life nice and easy.
The Captiva 7 might look good, but the pricing makes it look great. An entry level Captiva 7 LS will set you back just under $30,000 with driveaway deals while our LTZ Diesel AWD will cost around $37,000 driveaway.
Even though it misses out on some other tech features found in other 7 seat SUV’s, you don’t necessarily get the pricing that comes with the Captiva 7.
Sure, the Captiva 7 is getting older but there’s a reason why it continues to sell so well, just like its younger brother – the Captiva 5. It’s because it offers families a great price point and all of the essential features they need.
It drives nicely on the road and fuel economy is great too.
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