Another Owner Says The Holden Captiva is a Lemon


Regarding my 2011 Holden Captiva 7 2011: I'm really hoping you can help here.

I now realize this car is an absolute lemon. I really need some sound advice from you as to what can be done. I have already had many warranty issues with the car. The entire dashboard computer needing replacement, big issues with the car just dropping out of gear at any time on the highway with complete loss of power, and of course the entire engine needed to be replaced just prior to the warranty running out recently. The engine replacement was due to oil coming through in the cooling water. Yeah: it was well stuffed.

Now I find this - it seems the transmission is stuffed, it just clunks and drops in and out of gear between certain ranges.

My Captiva lemon is still on finance, so I still have that cost, but now the car is out of warranty, and the likely repair bill for the transmission concerns me greatly. Is there any hope or solution for me other than now having $16k owing on a car that I wouldn’t even want to sell privately because it’s morally the wrong thing to do to someone.

Please help me.
Thank you,


You simply have to get rid of this Holden Captiva. (What you’re experiencing is exactly why insiders refer to it as a ‘Craptiva’.) The Holden Captiva is without doubt one of the market’s biggest shitboxes, and doubtless you would not have bought it had you known.

This is hardly a consolation - but you are not alone. Many, many owners around the world are monumentally disappointed in this second-rate lemon.

The Holden Captiva is what you get when you take an outdated design and build it in the former Daewoo factory in South Korea, owned today by a company that has had no money to spend on R&D for almost six years because, inconveniently, it went tits-up in the GFC. 

On the question of warranty, under Australian Law, what matters isn’t the expressed duration of the warranty (three years, five years, whatever), what really matters is the reasonable life of the component that is defective. So that means manufacturers still have legal warranty obligations when the car is out of warranty. In the case of the transmission, it’s reasonable to expect a transmission to last more than 3-4 years without becoming defective - especially if you have had the car serviced appropriately. For example, if an engine is serviced properly and dies at five years of age, with 60,000km on the clock, you could make a powerful case that the manufacturer needs to fix it - because engines should last more than 60,000km/five years if they are properly serviced. Manufactuers often call these claims ‘good faith’ claims (as in: we’ll fix that free of charge in good faith) like they’re doing you a favour. The reality is, they are obliged under consumer law to do it anyway - the only question is: how hard would you have to push them to compel them, and how much damage could you do to the brand in the public domain if they don’t? (And how likely would you be to succeed in court?)

Basically, you should take the car to the dealership and put it on them. Like this: “This car has been a lemon from day one. Call up its warranty history and you’ll see what I mean. I’m very disappointed. I’m thinking of spending an hour every day going to the media on this. It’s a disgrace. If you ever want me to buy a new Holden from you again, you need to look after me here. It’s the moral and ethical thing to do in any case. We both know warranty obligations extend beyond the end of the expressed warranty and depend on the reasonable life of the component - and that transmission should last 10 years or more - not three-and-a-half.” Kind of thing… (My advice is: Try to do this with the volume at about eight in the service department when it is full of people. If they don’t play ball, demand to see the dealer principal and lay it all on him.)

Ideally, you get that fixed (in so-called ‘good faith’) and then trade the Captiva in. Buy a similar but more reliable vehicle.

Two Main Rivals Versus Holden Captiva 7

Hyundai Santa Fe

  • RRP: $38,490-$53,240
  • Manufactured: South Korea
  • Preferred engine: 2.2 diesel
  • Power: 145kW @ 3800rpm
  • Torque: 436Nm @ 1800-2500rpm
  • Trans: 6sp auto
  • Seats: 7
  • Fuel (combined): 7.3L/100km
  • Towing: 2000kg
  • Warranty: 5yrs/unlimited km
  • ANCAP safety: 5-star

Nissan X-Trail

2014 Nissan X-Trail 3.jpg
  • RRP: $27,990-$46,580
  • Manufactured: Japan
  • Preferred engine: 1.6 diesel
  • Power: 96kW @ 4000rpm
  • Torque: 320Nm @ 1750rpm
  • Trans: 7sp CVT
  • Seats: 7
  • Fuel (combined): 5.3L/100km
  • Towing: 2000kg
  • Warranty: 3yrs/100,000 km
  • ANCAP safety: 5-star

Holden Captiva 7

lemon captiva.jpg
  • RRP: $30,490-$41,490
  • Manufactured: South Korea
  • Preferred engine: 2.2 diesel
  • Power: 135kW @ 3800rpm
  • Torque: 400Nm @ 2000rpm
  • Trans: 6sp auto
  • Seats: 7
  • Fuel (combined): 8.1L/100km
  • Towing: 1700kg
  • Warranty: 3yrs/100,000 km
  • ANCAP safety: 5-star

Let me get the team from the brokerage to call you ASAP. They’re experts in the pricing area and they can help you achieve the best price on your new SUV, plus help you get a good trade-in on the Craptiva. They can also assist with competitive, low-rate finance for individuals and businesses - and this should help you roll the debt from the Captiva into the new vehicle. These guys will have solid information for you on the current state of play regarding stock levels and other factors that determine the potential for discounting. It’s worth having a chat to the guys at the brokerage. Callbacks to AutoExpert visitors usually happen within 24 hours Monday to Friday. Thank you for visiting the website. If I can be of any other assistance, please let me know.