Just one body type but still the choice of seven or five seats and no change in current prices: That’s the game plan for the refreshed Captiva. Holden New Zealand sees plenty of sales potential yet from this ‘final days’ update.
LESS will mean more for the Holden’s enduring medium crossover in 2016, potentially its last year of sale, the brand’s New Zealand marketing manager believes.
Marnie Samphier is confident that a big line-up reshape that has seen the Captiva Five being dropped and the model line instead consolidated around a re-designed Captiva Seven body, but still maintaining the three current trim levels - LS, LT and LTZ – with extra kit for all will keep the model in vogue.
However, while Holden will not confirm that this is a final freshen for a now 10-year-old shape, it has conceded awareness that it is not immune from the effects of aging – or the threat from other newer designs.
“Whilst we've added a significant level of new content into the vehicle, we are carrying over the pricing from the current model - reflecting that this is a highly competitive segment and we have one of the oldest models in the segment,” she told Motoring Network.
Now called simply Captiva, the revised vehicle has just been revealed by Holden and will be on sale in February here.
This Captiva is on the Theta underpinning, now GM’s oldest passenger platform, and has already had one major facelift and a number of tweaks since it was launched in 2006.
The apparent intention is to replace it, with one or two all-new crossover vehicles, including a large SUV based on the same E2XX mid-sized car platform as the new-generation Insignia. These will come from an Opel plant.
Potentially the switch could happen within 18 months, perhaps sooner, but Samphier would not be drawn in speculation.
However, she insists this Captiva is not dressing for an imminent funeral.
“Captiva will still be around for some time, and there will continue to be updates and refreshes to the range for the foreseeable future.”
The current model has certainly been dressed to leave the scene in style; it will offer in a choice of both five- and seven-seat options and a variety of powertrains, plus a host of new features including the latest Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, operating through the familiar MyLink system that has previously not been available in this model.
Captiva has been a solid performer for Holden in 2015 however though the crossover sector has been a goldmine for car brands it is continually growing, and awareness that there is more customer choice than ever has influenced Holden’s strategy, Samphier says.
The retention of three specifications remains logical, she argues. “We think each have a role to play - and we're still seeing strong sales in each.”
The update is a mix of give and take. “We do lose the five seater diesel - although this has never been a big-seller. And we also lose the second trim level (the LTZ) that has previously been offered in the current Captiva 5.
But overall the revision “will deliver new promise for the type, especially since prices of the new models will be no different than those applying to current equivalents.”
The update certainly removes customer confusion from Holden’s decision to take the Opel-designed Captiva Maxx and American-oriented three-row Captiva to cover various market needs.
The South Korea-sourced wagon is easily spotted in it incoming form. The styling changes includes a Chevrolet-style grille and front fascia that includes LED daytime running lights for the first time.
The two-port grille gets multiple black horizontal blades, with chrome surrounds reminiscent of Holden’s latest Commodore VFII sports models
The refreshed interior includes a new Commodore-style steering wheel with audio, phone and cruise control buttons.
Safety has been improved with the addition of blind spot alert and rear traffic warning on the top-of-the-range LTZ
A “cleaner, more contemporary” infotainment panel brings phone projection technology and a rear view camera as standard.
Holden says Captiva’s new system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto was class-leading.
Samphier is definitely keen on the tech. “We are very excited about the introduction of Apple Car Play and Android Auto, which both totally integrate into our MyLink Infotainment system. And of course it's great to finally get MyLink in Captiva.
“We think that consumers are going to enjoy this enhanced technology which offers a sense of familiarity with their mobile device, and which really brings that sense of connectedness to life in the vehicle.
“In essence, it enables smartphone users to display certain apps and functionalities from their phone on the vehicle’s infotainment display, allowing them to control those apps and functions via the vehicle’s infotainment system touchscreen or voice commands.”