Holden Acadia: all stars ‘n’ stripes

Riley Riley


What is it?

Acadia is Holden premium SUV offering and replacement for Captiva, with seven seats, plenty of technology and price to match.

But at $70K by the time you put it on the road, there’s no shortage of competitors to choose from,  and that’s where buyers will start to become distracted.

Ironically, Acadia would probably be a more attractive proposition with a GMC or Chevrolet badge on the front, instead of masquerading as homegrown product — Aussies aren’t stupid.


What’s it cost?

Prices start at $43,490 for the two-wheel drive LT with an auto.

The same model with all-wheel drive is $47,490.

Mid-grade LTZ starts from $53,490 while the top of the line LTZ-V AWD is $67,490.

Acadia comes with a 3.6-litre petrol V6 (essentially the same V6 as Commodore), with a 9-speed auto, different drive modes and a thumb-operated switch for changing gears manually — but no change paddles as such.

Standard features include cloth trim, tri-zone climate air conditioning, 18 inch alloys, passive entry and push-button start, daytime LED lights, satellite navigation, traffic sign recognition with intelligent speed assist, 8.0-inch touchscreen, digital radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus hitch view, trailer sway control and a built-in towbar — but you still need to buy tongue and ball to go with it.

A full suite of active safety features include rear view camera, 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 and Rear Parking Assist.

Moving up through the ranks adds, leather, heat and power adjustment for the front seats, wireless phone charging, power tailgate and auto parking.

Top of the range LTZ-V (our test vehicle) adds 20 inch wheels, ventilated front seats, dual-panel sunroof, adaptive suspension, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, 360-degree camera and 8-speaker Bose audio.


What’s it go like?

The 3.6-litre V6 is the same capacity and is closely related to the V6 in Commodore.

With 231kW of power and 367Nm of torque, performance is lively and accompanied by a gratuitous growl under hard acceleration.

But there’s the fuel consumption to think about.

Rated at 9.3L/100km, we were getting 10.2 after just over 700km. This figure is likely to vary a great deal depending on circumstances and how you drive.

The V6 is hooked up to a super smooth, 9-speed auto, with a silly thumb switch to change gears manually, after you put the transmission in L that is — L for what you might ask?

We had a bit of a play with the system and promptly forgot it. You will too — besides the transmission does just fine without it.

Weighing in at 2032kg, the wagon feels big and heavy, and a bit soft and bouncy in standard drive mode, with steering that is a touch light —  but returns a characteristic Holden “thump” when it encounters a pothole.

It’s actually a confident and quite comfortable car to drive and feels right at home on country roads thanks to local tuning and special fit Continental rubber.

Put it in sport mode and things tighten up, with firmer ride control, but that also means engaging all-wheel drive and you need to keep selecting this option at each restart.

The brakes feel strong and responsive, with active cruise fitted that brings auto emergency braking with it.

This is turning out to be the next big thing in terms of convenience. After experiencing a car with active cruise, you won’t want to give up this feature.

It’s a boon in heavy traffic and on the motorways — although other drivers are liable to cut in no matter how short you set the gap to the vehicle in front.

The dash blends analogue and digital displays, and can be configured in one of two ways — Sport or Touring. The latter delivers a large, easy to read digital speedo and that is where we left it for that reason.

A camera also keeps an eye on the speed limit and lets you know in the display.

Let’s not forget the rumble seat either, or Safety Seat Alert in Holden speak. The driver’s seat vibrates to warn of an impending collision — it’s a terrific idea, but the wife didn’t like it.

With no shortage of gadgets, including USB ports for all rows, we’re not sure why this one misses out on head-up display?


What we like?

  • Big and bold
  • Strong performance
  • Well equipped
  • Tri-zone air
  • Strong brakes


What we don’t like?

  • Thirsty
  • Silly manual change
  • Expensive for what it is
  • No head-up display
  • Only rated to tow 2000kg


The bottom line?

Acadia is so very American. That’s not a criticism, just an observation. It’s big, bold and brassy, with comfy seats and a big, thirsty V6 under the bonnet. If none of that scares you, it might be your next car?


CHECKOUT: Holden Acadia: about as average as it gets

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Holden Acadia LTZ-V AWD, priced from $67,490
  • Looks - 7.5/10
  • Performance - 7.5/10
  • Safety - 8/10
  • Thirst - 7/10
  • Practicality - 7/10
  • Comfort - 8/10
  • Tech - 7.5/10
  • Value - 7.5/10

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