Holden pitches its Acadia seven-seat SUV as the classic family car reimagined into a big comfortable SUV with a spacious cabin and a gutsy V6 petrol engine. There’s no shortage of large-SUV competition though, so we grabbed the mid-spec LTZ variant to see how it shapes up in terms of practicality, performance and value.
What is it?
Built by General Motors sub-brand GMC in Tennessee, the Holden Acadia is a bold-looking, comfortable, seven-seater with enough room in the third row to comfortably seat two adults. It’s powered by a gutsy V6 petrol engine with a choice of front- or all-wheel-drive drivetrains. The Acadia arrived in Australia in October 2018 as the most advanced vehicle to wear a Holden badge, with all versions coming with the latest infotainment and active safety technology, including autonomous emergency braking that detects pedestrians and cyclists.
How much is the Holden Acadia LTZ?
The Acadia LTZ sits between the entry-level LT and range-topping LTZ-V and is priced from $53,490 for the front-wheel-drive version, with the all-wheel-drive version costing an additional $4000.
That price is a considerable $10,000 leap from the more basically equipped LT spec. And while it’s $10,000 cheaper than the LTZ-V, that version has considerably more technology and improved ride comfort that provide better value despite its near $70,000 price tag.
IN DETAIL: 2019 Holden Acadia Range Review
The Holden Acadia is covered by five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty.
Who is it for?
Holden believes the Acadia’s rugged looks will appeal to people looking to trade in their large sedans or wagons for a big family cruiser with genuine seven-seat capacity.
The LTZ spec offers a decent equipment list for those who like their creature comforts, including leather-appointed seats with front-seat heaters, a wireless phone charging pad, automatic parking assist, and a powered tailgate.
Is the Holden Acadia LTZ easy to live with?
The Acadia is a big SUV but it’s not exceptionally wide, which means you’ll easily fit into most parking spaces. If things get a little tight it has an automatic parking assist system that helps you reverse in to parallel and right-angle parking spots.
The Acadia LTZ also features active safety and driver-assistance tech including traffic sign recognition that can work with the speed limiter to automatically govern your speed to the posted limit when you enter a new speed zone.
Its autonomous emergency braking recognises cars, cyclists and pedestrians, though unlike the system in the LTZ-V, only works at city speeds. Other key safety features include rear-cross traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, blind spot monitor and a lateral collision avoidance system that steers the Acadia to the side to avoid a vehicle beside it that begins to stray from its lane.
Forward collision alert lets you know if you’re in danger of hitting the car in front via a flashing light on the windscreen, an audible warning, and by vibrating the seat cushion. The haptic seat vibrator also lets you know if you stray over a line, and operates with the parking sensors.
The LTZ’s partial-leather interior is comfortable with plenty of soft-touch materials but, as is often the case with American-built cars, lacks finesse.
The second row easily accommodates taller passengers and offers occupants access to climate control settings, air vents in the ceiling, reading lights, a deep drawer that slides out from under the centre console and two USB sockets.
The third row is among the roomiest of all seven-seat SUVs and is even on par with the space offered by Kia's Carnival people mover. It seats two adults comfortably, but can be a little more difficult to access from the kerb-side door because the middle-row seat slide/fold setup was designed for American left-hand-drive models.
Third-row occupants also get their USB socket, reading lights and ceiling-mounted air vents.
If you have small children, 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 Aussie-developed multi-media system is one of the most advanced of any GM vehicle worldwide. It’s intuitive, with sharp graphics and you can sync two phones at a time via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. There are five USB sockets throughout the cabin, including the third row, which are rated at 2.1 amps to allow for fast charging of larger devices such as tablets.
Road noise is well contained in the Acadia and the ride comfort on the 18-inch wheels is good, though it does lack silky ride afforded by the LTZ-V’s adaptive suspension dampers.
There are plenty of places to put things around cabin, including door bins with a separate nook under the arm rests, and under-floor tubs in front of the second row seats.
The boot holds 292 litres with all the seats in place and expands to a capacious 1042 litres with the third row folded down. Fold down both the third and second rows and you can stash up to 2102 litres of gear behind the front seats.
The Acadia will tow up to 2000kg and the Trailer/Tow drive mode changes the auto transmission’s shift patterns to provide more torque or traction when required. All Acadias come standard with a tow bar – a tow ball is required – and there’s also a hitch view system via the reversing camera display that lets you line up the tow ball and trailer.
How well does the Holden Acadia LTZ drive?
Despite its size the Acadia has car-like handling that’s been enhanced by an extensive local suspension tuning program by Holden engineers to make it more compatible with Aussie roads.
The LTZ lacks the range-topping LTZ-V’s adaptive suspension that further acclimates to different road and driving conditions, but the ride is still comfortable with surprisingly little body roll and side shove.
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.
Its weight doesn’t seem to bother the V6, which handles the heft well and offers a nice rumble to complement its macho American looks. If anything there seems to be a bit too much torque through the front wheels. You don’t have to put the foot down too hard at the light to produce a hoonish wheel chirp especially when there's weight in the back.
This happens with the FWD version, and the AWD when in the default 2WD mode – if you can afford the extra $4000 you’re best choosing the latter, but you'll need to manually put it in AWD if you anticipate slippery conditions.
The Holden Acadia is a good large SUV that ably fills the brief as a family tourer, and the LTZ brings additional levels of comfort to make long trips and the daily drive all the more pleasant.
That said, the LT offers much of that liveability for $10,000 less even without the leather trim and seat heaters, and you’ll always be envious of the LTZ-V’s extras that include adaptive suspension, adaptive cruise control, digital dashboard display, and dual-panel sunroof.