Holden’s new hero – big, bold and smart

The family-sized wagon Acadia has to both attract customers and fly the flag for a new generation of Holden-badged machines. And this one, by and large, has the goods to be a Holden hero.

This is a handsome SUV in the modern American style. It is bulky, yes, but looks good from all angles, particularly in serious dark colours. It looks like it’s about to disgorge a band of Homeland Security big-wigs.

That size – almost 5m long by 2m wide – offers excellent cabin space, right through to the third row of seats. This is a comfortable, spacious interior and, if you move through to the top-spec LTZ-V, wants for little in the way of comfort and safety do-dads.

As with a few SUVs these days, the big Holden has a swag of buttons and switches and ancillary controls to discover. Most are self-explanatory, but some will need a read of the handbook. 

To be lauded is the American-built Acadia’s water and oil temperature gauges, old-fashioned perhaps yet more reassuring than simple warning lights.

Yet some of the wagon’s nanny safety gear is a bit much for older blokes. There are lights and seat vibrations if the Holden gets too close to other machines. There are lights and action if it crosses the line or gets too close to the edge of a road. There are warning lights if over a speed limit that the car’s camera has spotted. There’s auto stop-start (and it doesn’t look like you can turn it off) when stopped at the lights.

Now with a lusty 3.6 litre V6 – 231kW and 367Nm of torque supplied through a nine-speed auto – some judicious care is needed when moving off from the lights unless maybe you’re in an all-wheel drive version of the Acadia.

The front tyres will scrabble and squeal if rushed from a standstill.

The Holden’s drive and ride has been Australianised and certainly the LTZ-V model offers a comfortable ride and competent dynamics even if the steering feels a tad over-assisted.

In keeping with its SUV status there’s also a drive mode controller to switch between general road use, snow, sport or towing chores with engine, transmission and traction controls adapting to suit the job. 

I’m not sure that too many owners will be switching to sport. As well-behaved as the Acadia may be, this is a big and heavy bus to be throwing around. And that would hurt fuel economy.

Holden reckons the petrol-engined Acadia will average out at about 9 litres per 100km but that may not be the case in the suburbs.

There’s a range of six Holden Acadia models with three trim levels and either front or all-wheel drive (which carries a $4000 premium). Prices start at $43,490 and run through to $67,490.

That sounds a lot but these are competitive prices in a competitive market. And while not all Australians need a large, seven-seat SUV, for those who do this Acadia should be on the shopping list, particularly if looking at long-distance tours down the track.