2019 Holden Acadia LTZ-V Road Test, Review
Holden sales stand at 5.2%, down from 7.2% this time last year. Sales of Commodore and Equinox have not met expectation. Although still in the top ten it’s been a sad slow slide for GM’s Australian subsidiary.
The Australian market is down 7.4% over all, but Toyota still leads the way with 19.5%
All Australian automotive manufacturing ceased in late 2017. That means all car companies in Australia are importers and/or retailers. That doesn’t mean there is no design and engineering in this country.
Holden maintains a team in Port Melbourne who have input into the cars sold here. Some of that input starts from concept.
Holden remains undeterred, and in its latest effort to turn those sales figures around, we have this. Holden’s first GMC car, Acadia.
There are 3 grades: LT, LTZ, and LTZ-V. This is the top model, the LTZ-V.
This is the top model and retails for $67,990 drive away. Holden has opted for drive away pricing on all Acadias.
I like the American-ness of the look. It is a big car and comes in 8 colours.
Remember, Acadia comes straight from the GMC factory in Tennessee, the land of bourbon. I can imagine myself arriving in style at a cellar door, with a bunch of friends in tow.
The exterior design is more of a success than the smaller Equinox, particularly around the back from the rear doors onward.
it is pure America on the outside. The chrome grille is masculine and bold, but could be bolder. HID headlights replete with LED running lights flank the grille and fold around and long the front guard.
The lower bumper outlined with more chrome sits above the lower intake, which is underlined in yet more chrome. I can’t get enough bling, so bring it on.
A careful eye will note cameras high on the windscreen, under the side rear view mirrors, and rear tail gate. They form a 360° view picture on the driver instruments.
What you can’t see are radars secreted about the bodywork. More about the cameras and radar later.
In side profile, Acadia looks even better.
20” wheels look ginormous but manage to look small on such a large car.
The effect of the impressive exterior is enhanced by more chrome 2/5ths 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.
It took me a while to figure out what I didn’t like, and it is the back window behind the rear doors. It has no chrome. I’m utterly appalled. It looks like the General ran out of the shiny stuff and said, “oh bugger it, no one will notice.” Well we did and it looks daft.
They’ve done this, one suspects, so they can wrap the glass around the on to the tailgate. The tailgate is a success with, you guessed it, more chrome. The rubber button to unlock the doors is under the unbuilt handle on the lower edge of the door surface.
Tail lights wrap across the door after lighting the corners. There is some complex surfacing going on here and there, and some lower matte chrome garnish around the chrome exhaust tips.
There is a luggage rack, and a neat overhang at the top of the hatch, pretending to be some kind of spoiler. Just in front of the spoiler is a roof mounted radio aerial which will bang against many a carpark height limit bar.
The cabin is accessed by smart entry/start. The key stays in your pocket at all times.
This is where things went a little bit wrong for me.
The interior design, while generally good, had a few let-downs here and there. Our LTZ-V came with all the goodies, so seating was decent leather. There is good support, for a SUV. You have heating and cooling to choose from, and a couple of memories to store your personal settings.
Face level vents have limited adjustment. You can’t point air upwards, so if you don’t want it directly on you, you have to direct the centre vents towards each other or turn them right off. A faux pas like that is incredibly annoying after 140-odd years of making cars. You won’t notice it until it is late at night and your knuckles have frozen.
Controls are well laid out. The rear tailgate has an adjustment knob the size of Tasmania on the lower driver’s door. Most brands allow you to limit opening height from the rear of the car, but not Holden.
High-wear parts of the interior are harder plastic. I don’t like it, but understand why it must be so.
The rest of the plastic feels soft. The only other thing of mention is the nasty matte-plastic-chrome effect around the infotainment screen and on the steering wheel. I like the shape, but loathe the cheap effect. What’s more, it will scratch and look tacky. There is nothing worse than tacky plakky. Speaking of tacky plakky, there is stripped wood-look on the door, dash, and centre console.
The rest is good mainly good news. Buttons for the gadgets are easily accessible, except for the one to turn off the stop/start. There isn’t one. Actually, you can’t turn off the stop start, but you can fool it in to not working. More on that later.
The door has the usual window and lockout buttons as well as the mirror buttons. The steering wheel has most of the auxiliary controls on the front, but GM snuck a few around the back, Chrysler-style, for volume and track select.
The centre stack is self-explanatory with infotainment controls, tri-zone climate controls, and seat heating and cooling. A large bin for bits and bobs, as well as the QI charging pad for wireless phones. The USB and 12volt power are there too, but are fiddly to get at. All USB sockets are 2.1amp “fast chargers”.
Below are sensors, hazard flashers and self-parking buttons. Watching this thing park itself is a thing to behold.
Driver readouts have a combination of conventional dials and a large LCD screen. It would have been easier to make all instruments part of the LCD screen.
I’d like the digital speedo to be independent of the rest of the menu items. When You scroll through fuel usage etc, the speedo disappears. Why?
A large centre bin in the console is topped by an armrest that is the right height, unless you like to sit way up, like I do.
There is plenty of room in the first 2 rows. The 2nd row seats adjust move forward and aft to allow space in the 3rd row. As usual all 5 seats need to move forward if the 3rd row has anything other thing munchkins in them.
You’ll find rear climate controls and another USB socket. There is a further USB in the 3rd row. 3rd row access is difficult to access unless there is a simple way that isn’t first obvious.
Like almost all 7 seaters, the 3rd row is best left to lit’luns.
Other than that, the cabin is spacious and comfortable with cup holders in every row, plus bottle holders t boot.
Acadia adds features as you move up the range, and LTZ-V gets the whole kit and kaboodle. Active cruise control can be switched to normal mode. Active lane control does a decent job of centering a large vehicle between the lines.
It 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.
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.
Advanced traffic sign recognition uses the camera to scan for road signs. It then displays it in front of the driver. There is no heads-up display for anything other than some read lights for collision warning. Once displayed, you have the option for the smart cruise control to adopt that speed. We never got this to work, and there was no user guide in the car.
Here is a brief list of Featrues:
- 2000kg braked towing capacity
• Hitch View System
• Towing package (accessory ball mount & tow ball required)
• Passive Entry Push-Button Start (PEPS)
• Satellite navigation
• Tri zone climate control
- Memory driver’s seat
• Ventilated front seats
• 20″ Wheels (up from 18” on LT)
• Dual-panel sunroof
• Bi function HID headlamps
• FlexRide Adaptive Suspension
• Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go
• Autonomous Emergency Braking (all-speed)
• 360°-degree camera
• 8-inch colour driver information display
• 8 Speaker Bose Premium Audio with amplifier and subwoofer
• AWD optional
- 10-way power adjustable front passenger seat
- Walk-away locking
- Traffic Sign Recognition with Intelligent Speed Assist
Drive and Engine
There is a single engine/transmission option. It puts the power through 2 or 4 wheels.
The naturally aspirated 3.6 V6 with 231kw and 361Nm feels smooth, and has the silky GM sound Holden owners will know from previous Commodores. A car this size needs at least 1 diesel option.
Holden’s 9-speed transmission is seamless and is in the right gear most of the time. With no user guide, some of the drive was suck-it-and-see. There didn’t appear to be a manual mode even though there was a +/- button on the top of the gear lever.
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 of. 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. It is all very odd. One assumes Equinox works the same way, as it has the same gearbox.
Once on the move, the cabin is eerily quiet with that silky V6 for company. Then a corner comes.
Even in the rather optimistically named “Sport” Mode, steering is stupidly light. I’d normally think this a bad thing, but I’m gradually going with the flow. Most cars seem to have light steering now. The engine has oodles of torque from down low because with no wait for a turbo to spin up.
The transmission changes down without you noticing whenever power is needed. As a result, Acadia feels incredibly light. In fact, it feels so light, you feel like you’re in a little city-hatch.
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.
The 360°view camera comes on when obstacles are detected, and if you don’t like the view, you can switch to another.
Around town Acadia feels big in tight spots, but otherwise nimble. On the highway you feel like a king. I found the sweet spot as you hurtle down the freeway at 110kph. The steering centres you in the lane and the smart cruise keeps a socially acceptable distance from the car in front. You can choose from several distance options, of course.
After a week beetling around the shops, we headed for an afternoon “down the Nasho”, AKA “a drive through the Royal National Park”. You have to love Aussie slang, right?
At the speed limit, which is admittedly not often above 60, Acadia handled like a big American car, and I’m OK with that. If you want a sports car, buy a sports car.
To open the tailgate hands free, you wave your foot along from the back bumper to the back wheel on the passenger’s side. Don’t wear white shoes when you try it. You’ll no doubt connect with the bodywork coming away with schmutz on your plimsoll.
360°view camera with cross traffic alert
- Active steering
- Stability control
- Active cruise control
- Collision avoidance and AEB
- Plenty of interior space
- Tons of gadgets
- Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
Not So Good Bits
- Takky plakky
- 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.
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
Author: Alan Zurvas