Test driving the Holden Captiva 7 LX AWD

by ~Tina · 25 comments

in Reviews + Giveaways

When my 1985 Commodore starting playing up a couple weeks before the Aussie Bloggers Conference, I had planned to travel up to Sydney via State Rail. While I don’t mind travelling by train, I knew it was going to be a PITA (pain in the ass, for those playing at home) with our luggage and that darn swag bag that I, silly enough, didn’t think to leave one at home for me so I didn’t have to lug it back again!

So I was SO excited when Holden agreed to let me test drive one of their cars for two weeks. We went into the local dealership and picked up a brand spanking new Holden Captiva 7 LX AWD, in a pretty maroon.

A big thank you to Jonathon, from the Wollongong dealership, for taking the time to show us the features. I’m so glad he dumbed it down for me because I know nothing about cars. I just drive them and I know what I like.

I should also mention that because I do drive a 1985 car, I DO excited about the mod cons that most just take for granted so please excuse me while I squeal over power windows. *ahem*

When planning to write this review, I had decided not to get all technical but instead write about everything I liked about this car, as a mum. So, shall we?

The first thing I liked was the key less entry. One click of the remote and it unlocks the driver’s door. Two clicks of the remote unlocks all the doors. There’s a third button on the remote which opens just the tailgate window which is brilliant for tossing the school bags in when on a school run or if you’re at the beach and need to quickly toss the towels and picnic basket in the back.

The head rests are all adjustable and there are a whole heap of storage spots! THIS was one of my favourite features. There is upper storage on the dashboard, coin storage on the driver’s side of the dashboard, a card holder, glove box, cup holders in the front, with a storage bin underneath, cup holders in the rear armrest, console in the centre of the front seats, sunglasses holder, underseat storage AND of course the rear storage which is quite ample. The seats were very easy to fold down and bring back up. It was just a matter of pulling a handle at the back of the rear seats and on the top of the middle row seats. Apparently having all the back seats down and the front passenger seat is called the “Bunnings setup”. Heh.

Another smart addition was the folding side mirrors. You know when you go into shopping centre carparks and people walk past and bump your mirrors. Or if the only car spot available is just that little bit too narrow? The Captiva 7’s mirrors, which seem to be quite larger than most cars I’ve driven, fold in to prevent getting bumped or scratched.

Here’s where I got a little lost so maybe someone can fill in the details but young Jonathon from the dealership told me what type of material the front and back panels were made from and that they were designed so that if the car was hit, the panels would bounce back into shape. This was where I heard “If you reverse into a pole or fence, it won’t cause much damage.” He demonstrated by pushing the front panel in using his knee. It made a dent but it bounced right out. Handy! Not that I have a habit of reversing into things. *ahem*

Other features worth mentioning that I liked were:

  • the reverse camera – a must have when you have children and there could be bikes and whatnot left in the driveway, and also for reverse parking (which I try to avoid. But that’s just me)
  • park assist – like I said, reverse parking isn’t my forte so having the car beep at me to alert me when parking helps.
  • the built-in navigation system – definitely a life saver when travelling up to Sydney because I am the biggest tourist ever and will get lost every single time!
  • volume control for the multimedia, located on the steering wheel – I may or may not have increased the volume while not taking my eyes off the road when the teenagers were squabbling in the back seat.
  • setting the headlights on auto – so they will turn on and off automatically. Brilliant idea! And good for those who sometimes forget to turn the headlights off and end up with flat batteries.
  • the fact that you can use E10 unleaded fuel – with the price of petrol, it’s good to know that using the cheaper one won’t cause any damage.
  • the electric park brake – love this feature! to put the handbrake on it’s just a matter of flicking the switch in the centre console. It has an automatic release which means that you start the car, put it in gear and press down on the accelerator and the park brake will release.
  • bluetooth – this is a great feature but I try not to answer my phone while in the car so I didn’t bother setting this up to try it.
  • six air bags – a great peace of mind when travelling with the family.

After driving the Captiva 7 for only two weeks, it wasn’t easy to find anything I DIDN’T like about it because, like I said, I drive an old car, and driving the Captiva was one smooth ride, (heck! driving ANY car made after 2000 would be a smooth ride! Hehe.) but there were a couple things that I did notice:

  • there are two blind spots on either side of the windscreen. I’m not sure if this is normal with cars like this but it was quite noticeable to me after driving my smaller car.
  • while the side mirrors are quite larger than normal, and especially on the left side, you can see behind/beside you, but I found that when looking over my left shoulder (before changing lanes, etc) and if I had one of the teens sitting in the seat behind the front passenger seat, that created a bit of a blind spot as well.

If you are looking for more technical information about the Holden Captiva 7, please visit the Holden website.



This blog post was sponsored by Holden. I was given the opportunity to drive the Captiva 7 for two weeks and also received a $100 fuel voucher.

1 Fiona March 27, 2011 at 1:28 am

Heh $100 in fuel won't get you far at the moment!

But love trying new shiny cars. :)

2 ~Tina March 27, 2011 at 1:32 am

True that. But we only spend about $50 per week on fuel anyway so it suited us.

3 Dorothy March 27, 2011 at 2:40 am

Awesome! Love the sound of the electic park brake. Now to convince Holden to let you become their bloggy ambassador for good…

4 ~Tina March 27, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Now that sounds like a great idea! ;)

5 Norlin March 27, 2011 at 2:43 am

Wow cool car! Loved the fact that it had the reverse camera and parking assist, something I KNOW I need, so that I don't bump into inanimate objects. Something I'm always prone to do – yes, just ask my husband.

6 ~Tina March 27, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Reversing can be hard, especially in a bigger car, I find. The camera and park assist is definitely a great feature.

7 erin March 27, 2011 at 2:54 am

you have done well with the $100 fuel voucher then, mine costs $80 to fill every week .Love the part about the Bunnings position ours has been in that many times lol

8 ~Tina March 27, 2011 at 5:52 pm

I think this one would take $70 – 80 to fill it as well, but as we usually only use $50 a week (roughly) in fuel, I wanted to see how far this one would take us on the same amount. It's pretty fuel efficient. And I think you do more driving around than I do. Heh.

9 Veronica March 27, 2011 at 3:02 am

Very Cool.

And I think I said it before, but I'll say it again, lucky you and what brilliant timing!

10 ~Tina March 27, 2011 at 5:54 pm

It was great timing. I'm so thankful that Holden gave me the opportunity to do this! :)

11 Belinda March 27, 2011 at 3:19 am

Awesome! I'm not a big 4WD/AWD fan, but that sounds like one sweet ride.

12 ~Tina March 27, 2011 at 5:56 pm

I'm not a big fan of 4WD. They're too big for me but this one, while higher and bigger than what I'm used to driving, didn't FEEL too big, if you know what I mean. And if definitely WAS a smooth ride.

13 Kellie O'Brien March 27, 2011 at 4:39 am

Oh, how lucky are you!! You have no idea how great your timing is – and I don't just mean AusBlogCon!! We've had our trusty VX S Commodore since 2000 and are now in the process of updating to either a wagon or 4WD. We're scouring the net for reviews, so very happy to read this!! And again… lucky you!! LOL! :)

14 ~Tina March 27, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Glad to be of help :) As a family car, I would recommend this one. The safety features and comforts are great for families, in my opinion.

15 Corporate Gifts March 27, 2011 at 6:59 am

Great Work Tina, this is what blogging is all about! I have some reservations about the Captiva though, hope it retains it's value in say five years and isn't expensive to service.

16 Lucy March 27, 2011 at 7:19 am

Tina, we drive one. I love it, and I would be totally lost without the reverse camera and the park assist. And I love the built in sat nav thingo…& the fact that I can charge my iPhone in it…

17 ~Tina March 27, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Being able to charge iphones is a must these days, I think. We spend so much time in the car as mums and we all need our phones!

18 Chantelle {fat mum s March 28, 2011 at 3:00 am

We have one of these in black and I love it. I hope, pray and wish that you get to keep something like this! x

19 Kelley @ Magnetobold March 29, 2011 at 2:17 am

I would have totally fangirled over the electric windows and the click the button thingy to open and lock the car.

My car is older than Boo. So I totally get the excitement.

Wish you had of given me a ride!

20 Office Furniture Syd March 29, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Hey! I just would like to give a huge two thumbs up for the great information on the Holden Captiva you have here in this article. I'll be stopping by to your blog for more soon.

21 Jonathan Kiley March 29, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Thanks for the kind words Tina, it was a pleasure taking you through the car and showing all of the great features on the Captiva II. They have had great reviews and are arriving now for test drives so if anyone needs any help on any Holden Vehicle just call Gateway on 42228888 and ask for Jonathan Kiley.

PS Make sure you let me know Tina sent you :-)

22 lafkin August 9, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Wow; am I the only person that has nearly been wiped out by the cronic understeer! not since my SLR Holden have i driven such a sandshoe on an ice rink!! It is NOT an all wheel drive but a front wheel drive with an 'emergency kick in from the rear idf the front loses traction…thats why everyone finds them unstable on the dirt BUT i think they are positively dangerous on the dirt and I've driven more ks than the average on dirt and highway.

23 Tina August 9, 2011 at 5:13 pm

I appreciate your feedback, Lafkin. To be honest I didn't take it off the road so I can't comment about that

24 Jonesy October 18, 2011 at 5:13 am

Has any one else chewed through 12 tyres in 18 mths???

25 tinagraydotme October 19, 2011 at 8:38 pm

I only got to test drive it for a week so I can't help you :)

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