Seven seat Holden Acadia LTZ impresses with space, performance and equipment. Could this be the car to put Holden back on the map?
What is it?
The all-new all-American seven seat Holden Acadia, tested here in LTZ trim. The Acadia replaces the popular but flawed Captiva and goes to battle against the likes of the Toyota Kluger – probably its closest rival – the Kia Sorento, Hyundai Santa Fe and Mazda CX-9 in the jostling seven seat SUV sector.
What’s it cost?
The Holden Acadia range opens with the Acadia LT front wheel drive which is priced from $43,490 and extends to the fully kitted Acadia LTZ-V all-wheel drive, which is priced from $67,490 plus on roads. All-wheel drive is a $4,000 option on all variants.
We sampled the mid-spec Acadia LTZ all-wheel drive, which has a recommended retail price of $57,490 plus government charges. Not exactly cheap, but you do get quite a bit of standard equipment. Standard gear includes: lane departure warning, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, autonomous emergency braking, traffic sign recognition, satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, reversing camera and parking sensors front and rear. The interior is furnished with leather trim with seat heating at the front, wireless mobile phone charging. Remote start and boot opening are added for extra convenience.
What’s it go like?
The Holden Acadia LTZ is rather pleasant to drive. Power comes from the 3.6 V6 that is shared with the Commodore, and produces 231kW @ 6600rpm and 367Nm @ 5000rpm. The V6 is mated to a nine-speed automatic, which in this case, sends power to a multi-mode all-wheel drive system.
The V6 is always eager and performance is strong, but the engine is peaky, with maximum power and torque being produced at the upper echelons of the rev range. When pushed, the engine can feel and sound thrashy, but it’s never lethargic.
The nine-speed auto is competent in extracting the best from the engine and always keeps it on the boil. Fuel economy was decent. Holden cites an official combined figure of 9.3 litres per 100km, we averaged around 12, respectable for a petrol SUV of this size.
We’d recommending spending the extra $4,000 and opting for the all-wheel drive system. We found that there was a little too much unwanted wheel spin when the car was in two-wheel drive mode. When all-wheel drive or performance mode was selected, the overall driving experience was more surefooted.
Handling is competent. The Acadia never feels big or cumbersome, and the steering provides adequate feedback. We did notice on occasion, that it can be slow to re-centre.
Ride is generally comfortable without being floaty or ponderous and only the sharpest of bumps made their way through to the cabin.
What’s it like inside?
Spacious, in a word. The Acadia feels very American inside, but in this case, that’s by no means a bad thing. You get bundles of room in the first two rows, with the second row passengers treated to limousine-like amounts or legroom.
Up in the third row, there’s more than enough legroom for two kids, and perhaps adults on shorter trips.
The third row lowers flat into the big boot, and the seats are easily raised and lowered via a couple of levers and straps.
The seats themselves are very American, being very wide but offering occupants very little under thigh support. Not uncomfortable for daily commuting, but we suspect they could become a little tiresome on longer journeys.
The infotainment system is full colour and easy to use, and of course includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for added convenience. The system is easy to navigate and pleasing on the eye. Rivals such as Toyota should take note, as the system in the Kluger feels dated and clunky in comparison and Toyota still refuses to add CarPlay and Android Auto.
The wireless charger seamlessly integrated with one’s iPhone X and charged the battery rather rapidly.
All materials within the cabin are surprisingly un-American and initial perceptions of quality are rather good. Everything is nice on the eye and to the touch, so big ticks to GMC – ahem – Holden there.
Where things started to fall apart was the squeaks inside the cabin. There was a loud squeak which seemed to be emanating from the middle of the interior.
Overall, though, the cabin is a big, stylish and well thought out place.
What we like:
- Big and accommodating interior
- Equipment levels
- It looks tough
What we don’t:
- Quality niggles
- That V6 can be a little thrashy
- It’s not cheap
- Too much wheel spin in two-wheel drive mode
The Holden Acadia is a huge advancement over its Captiva predecessor and is equal or better than some of its rivals. The Acadia could be the car that puts Holden back onto buyer’s shopping lists.