Review: Holden Acadia

Built for the Aussie adventurer (and his family), the latest offering from Holden to the big SUV market is impressive, inside and out.

Holden kindly lent us a Holden Acadia LTZ-V for a family trip down the snow. First impressions: it’s a big vehicle, inside and out. It’s a tad bigger than the Toyota Kluger, with a wider wheelbase. The one we had was black and looked very much like it belonged in presidential motorcades, especially with tinted windows. It does attract sideway glances and appreciative nods. My bother in law, an ex-highway patrol cop and car aficionado, looked it over, his head shaking impressively. “Nice, very nice.”

I have a wife and three almost full-size kids and a snow trip requires a lot of gear, so it was as good opportunity to test the Acadia’s marketing spiel that it’s “big on space and comfort, and clever when it comes to convenience.”

First off, it’s a genuine seven-seater. There was ample space in the rear for the bags and one tall child. The Acadia’s second seating row adjusts front to rear allowing leg room. It was tight-ish, but we still managed a fit the whole family and five large bags with relative comfort.

Turn the know from 2WD to AWD

It may be big, but the Acadia doesn’t lack power. Powered by a 3.6 litre V6 petrol engine with direct fuel injection it had no problem climbing and overtaking. The Acadia’s 231kW and 367Nm delivered by a nine-speed automatic transmission had no problem climbing up to Mount Bulla and although it wasn’t really required, slipping from 2WD to AWD was as simple flick of a wheel on the middle console.

While we didn’t test the towing capacity, I was thinking about how it would handle towing my boat. The Holden Acadia is the first GM vehicle to utilise ‘Tow Haul’ mode in the 9T65 automatic transmission. This mode changes gear shift patterns under specific circumstances while towing to aid drivability, performance and stability.

What I could see a real use for was the “Hitch Guidance with Hitch View”, which helps you line the vehicle up when you’re hitching a trailer and lets you check on it while driving – which coupled to the transmission’s carefully calibrated ‘Tow Haul’ mode – again adjusted by a dial in the centre console — makes it easier to use the Acadia’s 2000kg braked towing capacity. The Acadia feels like it’s made to tow something.

On the highway, it’s a buttery smooth ride thanks to a combination of McPherson strut front and five-link independent rear suspension. This engineering was tested locally for Australian roads by Holden engineers at the company’s proving ground in Victoria.

Inside, there’s USB’s galore – the 2.1-amp fast-charge versions – so it was easy to keep three teenagers occupied on their devices for the long drive, while mum was happy with Apple Car Play and George Michael.

For dad, the perennial driver, there was enough tech to help me navigate unfamiliar surrounds. Probably the best thing was Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR). Basically, it alerts you to the current speed limit. So barrel from the freeway into some kick-a-tin-along town and it’ll tell you if it’s 50km/h or 60 km/h or 80km/h, if you miss the sign, which I did often. Saves Officer Bob telling you down the road. Nothing kills a holiday mood like a +$200 ticket.

The Acadia boasts a full suite of active safety features across the entire range. Some guys find different ones useful and other annoying, so here’s the list, in no order.

  • Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian and bicycle detection
  • Following Distance Indicator
  • Automatic High Beam Assist
  • Safety Seat Alert
  • Forward Collision Alert with Head-Up Warning
  • Lateral Impact Avoidance
  • Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning
  • Side Blind Zone Alert with Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Rear Parking Assist.

Drive Away Pricing Starting From:                       

  • LT 2WD               $42,990
  • LT AWD               $46,990                                 
  • LTZ 2WD              $53,990
  • LTZ AWD              $57,990                                             
  • LTZ-V 2WD           $63,990
  • LTZ-V AWD           $67,990                                 

Verdict: If you live in the suburbs, have a boat parked out front, or a jet ski in the garage, have big-ish kids, like family driving holidays and want to travel in style and comfort, and appreciate safety features, it’d be worth taking a look at this latest offering from Holden. You’ll be impressed.