Reviewed for you: Holden Acadia

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14 Aug 2019 by smartleasing

The car market is head over heels in love with SUVs, and Holden is hoping its recent import, the seven-seat Acadia, can take a slice of the action. So how does it stack up in the competitive space?

What’s the price and what do you get?

There are three variants in the range – LT, LTZ and LTZ-V – and each one can be had as either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. Our test car is the top-spec LTZ-V with all-wheel drive which lists from $67,990; the 2WD version is priced from $63,990.

There’s not a lot missing from the Acadia LTZ-V AWD which offers adaptive suspension and 20-inch alloys; dual-pane sunroof, 360-degree camera with reversing camera, partial digital instrument cluster, Bose sound system, heated and ventilated front seats, leather interior, powered tailgate, wireless phone charging, advanced park assist, autonomous emergency braking, active cruise control and more.

Even with all that gear, the LTZ-V AWD manages to undercut its key competitors, like the Mazda CX-9 Azami LE priced from $66,490+ORCs. However, the Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander (admittedly a diesel) is cheaper at $60,500+ORC as is the Kia Sorento AWD at $58,990+ORCs for the GT-Line, although the Holden is better priced than the top-spec Nissan Pathfinder Ti AWD ($66,190+ORCs) and the Toyota Kluger Grande at $69,246+ORCs.

What’s the interior like?

The interior is a mash-up of soft-touch plastics, leather, faux wood panelling and contrasting brushed alloy trims. The layout isn’t as sophisticated looking as some competitors, but the dashboard layout is easy to read, and all the switch gear falls easily to hand. Indeed, the buttons and switches are zoned, meaning once you’ve worked out what’s where it’s easy to go straight to seat heating or active safety. The infotainment system offers Apple and Android connectivity as well as native sat-nav, the screen is nice and crisp, and the reversing camera is high-res so it looks good even in low-light, not something you can say about many of this car’s competitors.

What’s the passenger space like?

Overall, the seats are comfortable with decent support through the sides and the base. Indeed, for those with longer legs, longer drives won’t have you fidgeting in the seat with restless legs.

If room is what you want, the second-row of the Acadia will suit you down to the ground. There’s so much space in the back that you’ll easily fit three adults across the back. There’s plenty of foot and legroom, and even with the dual-pane sunroofs fitted to our LTZ-V, headroom is excellent. The backseat slides forwards and backwards, and the seat back can also be reclined. There are air vents mounted in the roof and fan controls on the back of the centre console. There are also charging outlets too.

To get into the third-row, you simply grab the lever on the seat shoulder and the backrest will tilt and the seat slides forward. Once in the back, there’s not a whole lot of room for a six-footer like me and, although the seats are comfortable, head and foot room is limited. There are top-tether anchors too ensuring the third-row seats can be used to hold a child seat. The rear-most windows are well-positioned to ensure those travelling in the third-row won’t feel closed in.

What about the boot?

The tail-gate on our LTZ-V is powered, and when you’re using all three rows, the space measures 292 litres, growing to a massive 1042 litres with the third-row seats folded flat. Drop the third- and second-row seats and you’ve got 2102 litres of room to play with.

The load lip is low so loading and unloading are easy, while the powered tail-gate is quick to open and close.

What’s under the bonnet?

Under the bonnet is the same (roughly speaking, anyway) 3.6-litre V6 that features in the Commodore but the Acadia gets a different exhaust and intake set-up. Peak power is 231kW at 6600rpm and 367Nm of torque at 5000rpm which doesn’t necessarily sound like a whole lot of oomph given the size of the vehicle, but this thing feels lusty when it’s up and running. The engine is paired with a nine-speed automatic which, as is usually the way with these sorts of things, can be a little clumsy at below, say, 30km per hour but is as smooth as silk beyond that.

What’s it like on the road?

This is where you need to stay with us. See, while the Acadia has an AWD (all-wheel drive) badge on its rump, it isn’t an all-wheel drive. Well, it is, but it isn’t. Unless you manually select all-wheel drive via the circular drive selector, the Acadia LTZ-V will run around as a front-wheel drive and this can see the front wheels become overwhelmed by the engine and spin. Turn the dial and select all-wheel drive, though, and the vehicle transforms. In AWD, it’s sure-footed and confidence-inspiring. The LTZ-V has adaptive dampers, which means the thing can be harder or softer depending on the conditions and the way you’re driving it. It feels a touch too firm at low speeds, but once you’re travelling at more than 30km per hour, it becomes nice and comfortable.

The Acadia LTZ-V offers an Off-Road mode but don’t expect to take the thing down anything too gnarly. Turn the drive selector dial to Off-Road to tweak the traction control and allow a touch more wheel spin, dulling the throttle response to ensure your foot doesn’t jerk on the throttle when bumping about on a rough road.

What safety features does it get?

The Acadia offers an impressive standard safety suite with airbags, including curtains that reach back into the third-row, reversing camera with dynamic guide lines parking sensors and, on the LTZ-V, a 360-degree camera and front parking sensors. Then there’s the usual traction and stability controls, as well as lane-keeping assist which is one of the better systems on the market in that it’s not overly intrusive. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are standard, as is autonomous emergency braking. In our tester, there’s also active cruise control which doubles the AEB’s range to 160km per hour. There are also seatbelt reminders for all seven seats and a reminder to check the back seat when the system detects a rear seatbelt has been used to make sure that no-one is left behind.

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