Pressing play on the Holden Acadia

The Holden Acadia is the newest SUV in the Holden line-up and if you are thinking that it looks a bit American you would be right. The Acadia is built at the Spring Hill manufacturing facility in Tennessee and like most things that come out of the USA it is big!

Big yes, but also quite luxurious with decent build quality – two things that are not always associated with American-made cars. The three Acadia models all come with a 3.6L V6 direct injection petrol engine that produces 231kW @ 6,600rpm and 367Nm @ 5,000rpm connected to either a 2WD or AWD drivetrain through a 9-Speed automatic transmission.

I spent a week with the top of the line LTZ-V AWD, which is the heaviest of the Acadia’s weighing in at 2,032kg. The V6 engine copes OK with this bulk, but the acceleration of the LTZ-V isn’t going to light up your world.  To help improve fuel economy the Acadia is fitted with auto/start stop and this function cannot be disabled.  The official combined fuel consumption is 9.3l/100km and I achieved 12.1/100km, which is similar to my fuel use in the 2-litre petrol engine Range Rover Velar.

The Holden Acadia LTZ-V AWD has five drive modes to select from: 2WD, 4WD, Sport, Off-road and towing (the Acadia has a 2,000kg towing capacity) as well as a low range gear. Annoyingly though the Acadia defaults to 2WD when you start the SUV and the traction is not good off the line even in the dry and I found myself chirping the tyres when I had to set off quickly. In Sport mode, which uses 4WD, the traction was not great either in the dry and even worse in the wet.

The Acadia is quite high off the ground and the ride comfort from the MacPherson strut front suspension and independent 5 link rear suspension is compliant and not adjustable. My daughter complained that the Acadia was hard for her to get in and there was no step on the running board for her to use.

On the inside there are plenty of luxury inclusions like the 10-way electric leather-appointed front seats with two memory settings for the driver (no seat memory for the passenger). Both front seats are heated and cooled and they are comfortable, but do not offer any side support.

A mum’s life can be hectic and stressful at times and the front seat of the Holden Acadia is a great place to take some timeout when you have a few moments to spare, like when you are waiting for your children at school pick up. This time could be spent doing a quick mediation session to help increase your awareness and sharpening mental clarity and focus. Here are a few tips for meditating in the car :

  • It’s important to ensure you are parked in a safe place where you can rest and relax in your car.
  • To meditate – look around and take in your surroundings. Take notice of your surroundings – the colours, the movements taking place around you. Allow your surroundings to calm and relax you.
  • Once you have taken in your surroundings, take a deep breath and close your eyes.
  • Become aware of the physical sensations of the car and your body – the feel of the steering wheel, the feel of the seat against your back, where you arms are sitting. How does your head feel sitting on your neck? Are your legs relaxed? How does your body feel as you take deep breaths? Take stock of how your body feels not only in the car but as an element of your physical health.
  • Next, focus on what you smell? Are your windows open and you smell the fresh air? Perhaps it’s a new car smell or the smell of leather? Or do you smell your perfume? Does the smell evoke any memories?
  • Now focus on sound. Are your windows down? Do you hear the wind or noise from where you are parked? How does the sound make you feel?
  • Throughout your meditation, take deep, cleansing breaths.

There is a pleasant use of materials in the cabin and the dash design is nice. However I didn’t like the shiny part around the park brake because it reflected the sun into my eyes. The Acadia I drove had 5,000km on the odometer and so far it was not suffering from scratches on the plastic surfaces.

The 8″ infotainment touch-screen has smartphone app integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, hands-free calling with voice control that works well, Bluetooth connectivity and music streaming, full iPod integration, AUX and USB input for compatible devices,  AM/FM radio and DAB. My music pumped through the excellent Bose 8-speaker audio system and I enjoyed the quality of the output. I often use music to help me relax in the car.

The satellite navigation system can be configured to tell you things like when you are entering a school zone or even a new suburb or a blackspot on the road. The blackspot info seemed to be linked to the Federal Government’s Blackspot funding program and I found that newer blackspot areas were not in the system.

One thing I didn’t like about the sat nav system was the avatar used to indicate your position on the map. In most cars the avatar is an arrow, but in the Acadia unless you have a destination programmed into the sat nav it was a man’s head and this could not be changed as far as I could work out.  I tried to create a new user profile, which links to your key so that when you get in the Acadia it automatically selects your driver preferences, but the avatar was still a man’s head.

The screen also displays the excellent 360o view camera with six different camera view angles to choose from. The camera system combined with the front and rear park assist made parking this big SUV a synch. Something I’ve never experienced on any other cars is an added safety feature that uses the surround sensors not only to warn you with a sound and a directional arrow on the screen indicating approaching cars/objects but also with a vibration in the driver’s seat, this is known as haptic warning.

The centre of driver’s dash can be configured to display infotainment system data. It also displays speed signs using the recognition system and this works very well. The speed sign flashes on the dash when you are going over the speed limit and the system identifies school zones and only tells you when they are actually in operation. The Acadia LTZ-V also comes with auto wipers, auto lights and auto high beam assist.

There is a cubby at the front of the centre console that has inductive charging for compatible smart phones, two USB ports, one 12V outlet and a SD card for the sat nav. Under the arm rest is a deep storage cubby and there is another storage pocket in the driver’s door that is deep, but narrow so it is hard to get your hand in to retrieve items that are right at the back of the pocket.

This is a big SUV and the second row of seats has ample leg room for adults, rear passengers also get separate climate control functions that can be controlled from the front if needed, but the vents are in the roof only near the rear sunroof that doesn’t open. At the rear of the centre console are two USB ports and a handy pull out draw for the storage some of your children’s junk that they accumulate in the car.

The second row of seats comes with two ISOFIX/three rear tether points and the centre seat has an arm rest that can be folded down to reveal two good-sized cup holders. Or the 60:40 split seats can be folded flat when not in use.

To access the third row of seats you use the lever on the shoulder of the second row seat and there is a large plastic step for rear passengers to stand on to step into the second and third rows. With the second row of seats positioned to fit adults in there is only just enough space in the third row for me to sit back there, but my knees were touching the seats in front of me and they were slightly elevated. There is definitely not as much leg room as in the Land Rover Discovery and there is less head room as well due to the lower roof line.

The third row of seats has two rear tether child seat anchor points and passengers get roof mounted air vents, one USB port and square shaped drink holders in the rear wheel arches. The 50:50 split third row seats are raised and lowered using the strap in the back of them.

With all the seats up you can still see out of the rear view mirror, but if there was an adult in the centre of second row or a car seat here or in the third row visibility would be obstructed.

The electric boot release can be deployed to full height or only ¾ height, but you do not have the option to set an individual height for opening. With the third row of seats in place the boot depth is about 40cm and when the third row of seats is folded down the boot is very large. There is a 12V outlet in the boot and under the boot floor cover there are two small storage pockets surrounded by hard foam and these were good for putting bottles in so they didn’t fall over and under them is a space saver spare wheel.

The Acadia likes to bong at you a lot including the usual ‘door open’ or ‘seat belt not on’ warnings, but as a safety feature it also bongs to tell you to check for rear passengers when you are exiting the car. In fact the Acadia is packed with safety features including Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection and Lateral Impact Avoidance (LIA) that monitors your blind spot, so if a vehicle is in or approaching your blind spot, LIA will actively provide steering assistance to prevent you from changing lanes.

Plus there is Autonomous Emergency Braking that helps reduce the likelihood and severity of a frontal impact in certain situations. Also Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning that helps steer you back on course when you inadvertently drift out of your lane. And the list goes on with Side Blind Zone Alert, Forward Collision Alert with Head-Up Warning and the already mentioned Rear Cross Traffic Alert that intuitively scans cross traffic and warns of an approaching motor vehicle hazard.

Passive safety features include seven airbags with driver and front passenger front and side airbags, full length curtain airbags and driver’s knee airbags. All of this adds up to a 5-star ANCAP safety rating for the Holden Acadia range.

Everything tested on this large SUV comes standard and the Holden Acadia LTZ-V AWD is competitively priced at $67,990 drive away. In addition all new Holden’s now come with a 5-year/unlimited km warranty and you can enjoy peace of mind with a scheduled servicing guaranteed to be at an affordable rate. For more information about the Holden Acadia range visit your preferred Holden dealer.

Pros Cons
Long list of safety features Traction issues
Large seven-seat SUV Can’t cancel auto start/stop feature
Competitively priced Man’s head as sat nav avatar

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.