The large three-row SUV segment is a crowded one, and the Holden Acadia is still a fairly fresh-faced arrival. We've reviewed the bulk of the range, but the entry-level LT has so far escaped our attention.
Does going for the budget end of the Acadia spectrum see buyers missing out on anything critical, or is it, in fact, a fair whack of metal for your money? I spent a week behind the wheel to discover if the base model Acadia is compatible with my family lifestyle.
What is it?
The Holden Acadia LT is a seven-seat, large SUV. Priced from $43,490 and boasting what Holden says are the most advanced safety and infotainment systems of any current Holden.
What's it like to drive?
Let’s not pretend I drive cars for their torque or their on-road performance. For me, cars need to be easy to drive, have user-friendly features, and visually represent a version of how I like to see myself.
With that in mind, the Holden Acadia is an easy and comfortable cruiser. There were enough adjustable seating controls to get a good personal preference set, and the centre console sits at perfect arm resting/coffee holding height.
Size-wise, this large SUV is solid but not so wide that it is in any way uncomfortable to navigate through inner-city traffic. It also has enough grunt to take off quickly when I needed it to.
What's it like to live with?
The infotainment system is a real winner. It is so easy to use; I just plugged in the USB cord and was instantly synced with my phone, music, podcasts and address book, thanks to the Apple CarPlay-equipped system.
The 8.0-inch touchscreen makes life easy, as does the text message read-back service. Multiple USB outlets throughout the car for device charging are an excellent addition and would be a godsend on a long family road trip.
The Acadia’s navigation system is simple to use, too, with ‘destination entry’ more straightforward than some luxury SUVs.
The very back two seats are surprisingly spacious. If you were looking for a seven-seater that could fit any age group in, not just the smallest ones, this would be a real win. Unfortunately, the compromise here is that it comes at the expense of the boot space.
If you were actually travelling with five kids, you would struggle to fit their bags in the back along with your groceries, dry cleaning, umbrella and ever-growing pile of reusable supermarket shopping bags. However, with the two back seats flat and not in use, the boot space is cavernous.
Front parking sensors are not available on the base LT model I tested (they are on the more expensive LTZ and LTZ-V models), but I think they should be. They would be helpful with a car of this size especially if you did have those five squawking kids distracting you from the back seats.
The vibrating seats, which activate in reverse, took a couple of trips to get used to. It essentially felt like I had sat on my phone and accidentally pocket-dialed someone.
Once I adjusted to the feeling, though, they were a helpful accompaniment to the reversing cameras especially given that visibility through the rear vision mirror is limited when the back seat headrests are up.
Styling-wise, the silver Acadia with a contrasting dark grey trim I drove, couldn’t be accused of being overtly sexy. It is very American looking and overall too masculine for me – kind of like the car equivalent of beige chinos and more like something my dad would drive.
The flat top gives it a chunkier looking body shape and also means the tailgate is quite low for an SUV (I’m 175cm and I had to duck to avoid hitting my head when I was putting things away).
Interior wise, it is simple and practical, with no particularly flashy finishes or lights to give it a luxurious finish.
But let’s not forget this is a $44,000 car which can carry seven people in relative comfort, so it’s all about priorities. There are other models in the Acadia range if you crave some bling.
Is it worth the money?
If you’re looking for a spacious, good value seven-seater that is easy to use, then yes. With solid safety and connectivity features, it’s worth taking a test drive, as long as you are comfortable with its rugged styling.
Pros: easy to drive, great infotainment system, comfortably fits seven people
Cons: low roof height, no front parking sensors, 'dad' looking
Rebecca Amos is a mother of two, wife, writer, filmmaker, wanderer and constant renovator.
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