Holden remains undeterred by a downturn in Australian sales, and in its latest effort to turn those sales figures around, we have this: their first GMC car, the Holden Acadia.
There are 3 grades: LT, LTZ, and LTZ-V. This is the top model, the LTZ-V and retails for $67,990 drive away.
Holden has opted for drive away pricing on all Acadias.
This 7-seater competes against Mazda’s CX9, and Kia’s Sorento, among others. It is usually a disappointment back in the 3rd row. To be otherwise would ruin the look of the exterior.
The chrome grille is masculine and bold. HID headlights replete with LED running lights flank the grille, and fold around and long the front guard.
A careful eye will note cameras high on the windscreen, in the grille, under the side rear view mirrors, and on the rear tail gate. They form a 360° view picture on the driver instruments.
In side profile, Acadia looks even better. 20” wheels look big, yet to look small on such a large car.
The effect of the impressive exterior is enhanced by more chrome two fifths of the way up the doors, and slims them visually. The chrome-trimmed windows have a slight coupe look thanks to the gentle kick-up the rear ¼ window.
There is no chrome on the back windows. It looks like the General ran out of the shiny stuff and said, “no one will notice.” Well we did and it looks daft. The tailgate is a success with, you guessed it, more chrome.
The interior design, while generally good, had a few let-downs. Our LTZ-V came with all the goodies, so seating was decent leather.
There is good support, heating and cooling, and a couple of memories to store your personal settings.
High-wear parts of the interior are harder plastic.
The rest of the plastic feels soft. There is some nasty matte-plastic-chrome effect around the infotainment screen and on the steering wheel. I like the shape, but it looks cheap.
There is a rather unattractive stripped wood-look on the door, dash, and centre console which we could do without.
There is plenty of room in the first 2 rows. As usual all 5 seats need to move forward if the 3rd row has anything other thing munchkins in them.
You’ll find 2nd row climate controls and another USB socket at the rear of the console. There is a further USB in the 3rd row.
Other than that, the cabin is spacious and comfortable with cup holders in every row, plus bottle holders to boot.
Buttons for the gadgets are easily accessible, except for the one to turn off the stop/start. There isn’t one.
Controls are well laid out. The rear tailgate has an oversized adjustment knob on the lower driver’s door. Most brands allow you to limit opening height from the rear of the car.
The steering wheel has most of the auxiliary controls on the front, and volume and track select on back surface.
Driver readouts are a combination of conventional dials and a large LCD screen. It would have been easier to make all instruments part of the LCD screen.
Apple CarPlay/Android Auto work reasonably well. It can be slow to respond. That’s a gripe I havewith most brands.
Bose sound from a 6-speaker system is sensational. With settings to neutral, the bass is deep, with just the right mix of mids and highs.
To open the tailgate hands free, you wave your foot along from the back bumper to the back wheel on the passenger’s side.
- 2000kg braked towing capacity
- Hitch View System
- Passive Entry Push-Button Start
- Satellite navigation
- Tri zone climate control
- Memory driver’s seat
- Ventilated front seats
- 20″ Wheels
- Dual-panel sunroof
- Bi function HID headlamps
- FlexRide Adaptive Suspension
- 8-inch colour driver information display
- 8 Speaker Bose Premium Audio with amplifier and subwoofer
- 10-way power adjustable front passenger seat
- Walk-away locking
Drive and Engine
There is a single 3.6 V6 with 231Kw/361Nm engine, 9-speed transmission option. It powers through 2 or 4 wheels. AWD is a $4,000 extra cost. A car this size needs at least one diesel option.
The transmission has no manual mode as such. Moving the selector to L allowed gears to be shifted with the button. So, why not call the “L”, “M” instead?
This is also how you fool the stop/start into turning off. Shift the lever to L, the move the + button until “9” shows in the gear indicator on the dash board. When you then move off from go, the transmission will shift back in to 1 and act normally and stop/start is deactivated.
The transmission changes down without you noticing whenever power is needed. As a result, the Holden Acadia feels incredibly light. In fact, it feels so light, you feel like you’re in a little city-hatch.
Even in the rather optimistically named “Sport” Mode, steering is very light.
Automated parking is one of the easiest to use but will rarely park where you want if more than one option is available to it.
Around town Acadia feels big in tight spots, but otherwise nimble. On the highway you feel like a king. The steering centres you in the lane and the smart cruise keeps a socially acceptable distance from the car in front.
At the speed limit, Acadia handled like a big American car. If you want a sports car, buy a sports car.
LTZ-V gets the whole kit and kaboodle including Active cruise control can be switched to normal mode. Active lane control does a decent job of centering a large vehicle between the lines.
Active steering will also work with the blind spot monitor to steer you back into the lane if another car is approaching, or there is someone in your blind spot. Radar warns of approaching vehicles, and pedestrians, as you reverse. Brakes are applied if obstacles are detected.
Advanced traffic sign recognition uses the camera to scan for road signs which are then displayed it in front of the driver. You then have the option for the smart cruise control to adopt that speed.
- 360°view camera with cross traffic alert
- Active steering
- Stability control
- Active cruise control
- Collision avoidance and AEB
- Traffic Sign Recognition with Intelligent Speed Assist
- Plenty of interior space
- Tons of gadgets
- Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
Not So Good Bits
- Tacky placky
- No diesel
- Claims of “premium” over-stated
You get a lot of car for the money.
It looks good. It doesn’t have the awkward bits of Commodore and Equinox. It is a very pleasant drive. It feels light and breezy at all speeds and is easy to park.
For most of us, 7 seats are wasted. The space could be better used by having a spare tyre.
The Holden Acadia looks good in a car park too.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Holden Acadia
- Engine: 3.6L V6 petrol producing 231kW/361Nm
- Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
- Warranty: 5 years/ unlimited km
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: USA
- Price: from $67,990