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2019 Holden Acadia LTZ-V AWD review

By David Bonnici, 31 Oct 2018 Car Reviews

2019 Holden Acadia LTZ-V AWD review

Holden’s new seven-seat flagship SUV is designed to be a new luxurious take on the traditional family wagon

Holden’s Captiva replacement has arrived to up the ante against popular seven-seaters such as the Toyota Kluger and Mazda CX-9. Built by Holden’s US sister brand GMC in Tennessee, the Acadia is big and brash but has surprisingly good road manners for a large SUV. It’s also the most advanced Holden to date, with its full suite of active safety technology on display in the LTZ-V, which tops the three-variant range ahead of the LT and LT-Z.

VALUE

The Acadia LTZ-V AWD retails for $67,490 and, excluding limited edition variants, is currently the most expensive vehicle to wear a Holden badge.

Wheels: 2018 Holden Acadia launch review

The LTZ-V is also available with 2WD for $4000 less, with both versions costing $20,000 more than their entry-level LT counterpart. 2019 Acadia pricing is as follows:

  • Acadia LT 2WD - $43,490
  • Acadia LT AWD - $47,490
  • Acadia LTZ 2WD - $53,490
  • Acadia LTZ AWD - $57,490
  • Acadia LTZ-V 2WD - $63,490
  • Acadia LTZ-V AWD - $67,490

Spending close to $70,000 on the LTZ-V brings premium features, and a scrolling equipment list rivalling six-figure priced European models. And the price is competitive against rival range-toppers such as the Mazda CX-9 Azami LE ($66,490) and Toyota Kluger Grande ($69,617).

For a limited time Holden is offering keen drive-away pricing on all Acadia variants offering the LTZ-V for $67,990 including on-road costs. Almost everything is included in the price with options confined to accessories, and prestige paint which attracts a $550 premium.

All Acadias are powered by a 3.6-litre V6 engine with nine-speed automatic transmission that, with AWD, drinks regular unleaded petrol at a rate of 9.3L/100km.

The Acadia also benefits from fixed priced scheduled servicing with 12-month or 12,000km intervals, and is covered by Holden’s five-year unlimited kilometre warranty.

STANDARD FEATURES

The Acadia LTZ-V is brimming with comfort and safety features starting with the standard equipment across the range that includes:

  • The latest generation MyLink infotainment viewed via an 8.0-inch touchscreen
  • Android Auto/Apple Carplay
  • Satellite navigation
  • Rear Park Assist
  • Rear View Camera
  • Traffic sign recognition with intelligent speed assist
  • Hitch View System
  • Towing package (accessory ball mount & tow ball required)
  • Keyless entry/push-button start  
  • Tri zone climate control

Read next: 2019 Holden Acadia SUV features detailed

  • Alloy Wheels
  • LED Daytime Running Lamps
  • Autonomous emergency braking with bicycle and pedestrian detection
  • Forward collision alert with head-up warning
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Lateral impact avoidance
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Following Distance Indicator
  • Driver Mode Control

Add to that the comfort features found in the LTZ, including:

  • Leather-appointed trim
  • 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat
  • 8-way power adjustable front passenger seat
  • Heated front seats
  • Auto-dimming interior mirror
  • Chrome door handles
  • Front fog lamps
  • Rain sensing wipers
  • Wireless phone charging (compatible devices)
  • Hands-free power tailgate
  • Front Park Assist
  • Advanced Park Assist

Plus all these features exclusive to the LTZ-V:

  • 10-way power adjustable front passenger seat
  • Driver’s seat memory
  • Ventilated front seats
  • 20-inch alloy wheels
  • Dual-panel sunroof
  • Bi function HID headlamps
  • ‘FlexRide’ adaptive suspension
  • Adaptive cruise control with stop & go
  • All-speed autonomous emergency braking  
  • 360-degree camera
  • Digital dashboard display
  • 8-Speaker Bose Premium Audio with amplifier and subwoofer.

Read next: Holden Acadia spotted on holiday

SIZE

The Acadia’s 4.98m length, 1.92m width and sizable 2.86m wheelbase translates to genuine three-row accommodation for up to seven adults. The middle row seats slide back and forth to provide good legroom in the third row without compromising anyone else’s comfort.

The Acadia LTZ-V stands at 1.77m high, which means good headroom in all three rows even with the panoramic sunroof.

With all seats in place the boot holds 292 litres, which expands to a capacious 1042 litres. Fold down both the third and second rows and you can store up to 2102 litres behind the front seats.

SAFETY

The Acadia takes safety features introduced to the ZB Commodore a step further with active safety and driver assistance tech designed to protect vehicle occupants as well as other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

This includes traffic sign recognition that can work with the speed limiter to automatically govern your speed to the limit when you enter a new speed zone. The system was developed by Holden engineers who tested it around Australia so the system could recognise the dozens of different speed signs posted throughout the country.

The Acadia’s autonomous emergency braking recognises cars, cyclists and pedestrians, and in the LTZ-V, works at highway and city speeds.

The LTZ-V is the only Acadia to feature adaptive cruise control, which also functions in traffic jams.

Read next: Holden Equinox range review

Other key safety features include rear-cross traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, blind spot monitor, and lateral collision avoidance that steers the Acadia to the side to avoid a vehicle beside it, if it begins to stray from its lane.

The Acadia also has forward collision warning that, as well as displaying a flashing light on the windscreen and audio alarm, sends a vibration through the driver's seat to ensure you're well and truly alerted. The seat also vibrates if you stray into another lane.

The Acadia also has seatbelt alerts and a passenger reminder that warns you to double check that you haven’t forgotten any sleeping kids, pets or valuables before you leave the vehicle.

Crash protection includes seven airbags including driver’s knee and full-length side curtain protection that extends to the third row.

The second row has two ISOFIX child seat anchor points and there are five conventional child restraint anchors including two in the third row.

The Holden Acadia is yet to receive an ANCAP crash rating.

COMFORT

The Acadia LTZ-V’s interior is full of premium features but suffers from a lack of finesse – a common trait in many American-built cars. Apart from the leather upholstery and extra buttons it doesn’t look too different from the entry-level LT, though that can be taken as a compliment toward the LT that’s very well equipped for the price.

That said, soft-touch surfaces abound and the leather seats are very comfortable. The heated and ventilated front seats support you from each side making you feel like you could drive all day, and even the middle and third row benches feel plush.

Second row passengers get their own climate control settings with air vents in the ceiling, reading lights, a deep drawer that slides out from under the centre console and two USB sockets – all USB sockets in the Acadia are rated at 2.1 amps to allow for fast charging of larger devices such as tablets.

The third row is among the roomiest of all seven-seat SUVs and is even on par with the Kia Carnival people mover. It seats two adults with enough legroom so they’re not looking at their knees. Third row passengers also get a USB socket, reading lights and ceiling mounted air vents.

Getting in to the third row is helped by being able to slide the second-row forward, but the door opening is a little narrow meaning entry and egress can become a rather ungraceful exercise.

Storage options are extensive throughout the cabin and include door bins with a separate nook under the arm rests, and under-floor tubs in front of the second row seats.

Read next: 2019 Holden Acadia pricing and features

At the time of launch the Aussie developed multi-media system was the most advanced of any GM vehicle worldwide. It’s intuitive, with sharp graphics including the reversing/360-degree camera display,  and you can sync two phones at a time via Apple Carplay or Android Auto.

The LTZ-V also has a digital gauge display that looks good, but it simply displays analogue-like gauges and a multi-function display with no alternative functions as with systems such as Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit.

Road noise is well contained and the ride comfort feels silky even on the 20-inch wheels, thanks to the adaptive dampers.

Speaking of wheels, our one major bugbear with the Acadia is access to the spare wheel, which is hidden under the boot floor and another layer which makes it difficult to find, let alone remove even after you’ve removed all your cargo and folded away the third row seats.

ON THE ROAD

Despite its American truck looks and 2032kg kerb weight, the Acadia LTZ-V has car-like handling that benefits from its ‘Flexride’ adaptive suspension and an extensive local tuning program to make it more comparable with Aussie roads.

READ NEXT: Holden Acadia LTZ-V v Toyota Kluger Grande comparison review

One of Holden’s engineers told WhichCar he reckons they’ve got the LTZ-V to feel like the VF Holden Caprice luxury sedan and once behind the wheel we realised he was actually serious.

The Acadia’s ride feels soft and loping, but well composed, while switching the Sport driving mode stiffens the adaptive dampers, as well as adapting the gear ratios, steering and traction, resulting in precise and composed cornering with surprisingly little body roll even when sitting in the third row.

The AWD system comes with five selectable drive modes: 2x4 to help save fuel, 4x4, Sport, Off-Road and Trailer/Tow, but unfortunately there is no Custom mode to allow you to mix and match sport and comfort settings.

The Acadia shares the same 3.6-litre V6 engine and nine-speed automatic transmission as the Commodore, though in a slightly less powerful tune that offers up to 231kW and 367Nm. With all the extra gear, the LTZ-V AWD is the only Acadia variant to exceed two tonnes, but that doesn’t seem to bother the V6, which hauls the heft well and offers a nice rumbling sound to go with its macho American looks.

It’s enjoyable to drive, but there’s no opportunity to engage more with no manual shifting option via the gear shifter or steering wheel paddles, though there is toggle switch that lets you select lower gears when towing.

Read next: Holden halts production of Commodore and Equinox

The Acadia will tow up to 2000kg and the Trailer/Tow drive setting changes the auto transmission’s shift patterns to provide more torque or traction when needed. All Acadia’s also come standard with a tow bar to attach a tow ball mount, and there’s also a hitch view system that lets you line up the tow ball and trailer via the reversing camera display.

THE VERDICT

Holden wants its new flagship to be seen as the family tourer reimagined and in many ways it appears to have succeeded. It has an attractively butch aesthetic that’s missing from the ZB Commodore, while almost matching the big sedan for ride comfort and handling.

In LTZ-V spec it’s every bit as comfortable as a Calais or Caprice while offering plenty more in terms of space and practicality. And it stands up well against its competitors, with plenty of features and safety tech that score points over the benchmark CX-9 Azami and make the big-selling Kluger look well past its use-by date.