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Holden aims to captivate SUV buyers


Holden’s will expand its four-wheel drive range with a GM Daewoo-developed compact sports utility vehicle (SUV) which will go on sale here and in Australia in the second half of 2006.

The exact onsale date, model line-up and further technical specifications have not been released.

Called the Captiva, the new 4x4 will be powered by a new 3.2-litre Global V6 all-alloy engine made in Australia. The car debuted at this month's Geneva motor show in Switzerland.

It will join the GM Daewoo-built Barina and Viva; gthe Vectra replacement will also be based on a Korean-developed car.

GM Holden chairman, Denny Mooney, says the Captiva will be sold with five or seven seats, electronic stability program (ESP) and an active all-wheel drive system.

“The extensive Australasian input in Captiva encompasses many aspects of the vehicle to ensure it looks, feels and drives as a Holden should," he says. Holden stylists and chassis engineers also had a hand in redeveloping the Daewoo Kalos into the Barina and the Lacetti into the Viva.

Mooney says a compact SUV has been "a missing link in our product line-up and we believe there is strong appetite for its arrival.Captiva is Holden’s strongest move yet into the sports utility vehicle market and it will represent great value and high specification.”

The Captiva is 4635mm long, 1850mm wide and 1720mm high, with seating for five or a third row to fit seven people. 

Holden is promising the Captiva will have "high quality materials (to) provide an impressive fit and finish to complement its sophisticated and bold exterior design."

It has a strong Australasian influence, with former GM Holden-based designers Mike Simcoe (then man who penned the timeless lines of the VT/VY Commodre) and Max Wolff involved in the car’s design team. GM Holden engineers have tested the Captiva extensively around Australia and at GM Holden’s Lang Lang Proving Ground in Victoria. Holden says the aim was to ensure "top-class ride and handling for local conditions."

The Captiva runs most of the time in front-wheel drive, bringing in the active all-wheel drive system instantly, when there's a loss of front wheel grip. The system engages the rear axle via an electronically-controlled electro-magnetic coupling to provide maximum traction.  This system also works in with the Captiva's stability control (ESP) and ABS anti-lock brake system.

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