Holden Acadia New Zealand – First drive review
Let’s face it, when it comes to large and luxurious Trucks, RV’s and SUV’s the United States of America really does fly the flag. It’s an automotive nation full of freeways and roadside diners, pink slips and road trips. I personally view the country itself as one big drive through and almost just as often one giant car park. Therefore it’s safe to assume that with so many Americans arguably spending more time in their vehicles than their home, I guess it makes sense for them to be filled to the brim with creature comforts and drivers aids. Well now, thanks to Holden, we’re about to take a big bite of that Americana, introducing the all-new Acadia.
Fresh off the boat from Spring Hill Tenessee (then refined by Holden locally), the Acadia is as American as apple pie and seemingly just as tasty. This large seven-seater SUV joins Holden as their ‘next generation large family car’ and into a segment that continues to grow in significant numbers.
The Acadia comes in 3 models, LT, LTZ and LTZ-V and FWD or AWD. It has a big, bold face complete with plenty of bling, tinted windows, large feet and plenty of kerb appeal. Depending on your model option, the Acadia offers HiD headlights, leather interior, heated and ventilated 10-way adjustable seats, 17 camera views, 5 USB ports (some with 2.1amp charging) premium sounds, User profile ‘next generation’ infotainment, wireless phone charging, AEB with pedestrian and cyclist avoidance, Road edge detection, lateral impact avoidance – in fact, the list is as big as the Acadia itself and comes ‘American’ approved.
Under the bonnet is a 3.6L V6 petrol engine that although produces output numbers of 231kW and 367Nm also (thanks to active fuel and cylinder management) claims to have a fuel efficiency of around 9L/100km. I have to admit, we covered a large amount of Kiwi tarmac over a several hour period and the fuel needle took its sweet time to move south. Which brings us nicely into the drive program itself.
We headed north from Albany (Auckland rather than New York State) on SH1 and took the offramp towards Kaukapakpa with our first model option being the LTZ-V. This is the all singing, all dancing top of the line model and it really showed – 20-inch alloy wheels, Dual panel sunroof, Flexride suspension, Bose stereo…I think you get the point.
Although the Acadia is a large vehicle (around 5mx2mx1.8m) the seating position inside feels quite normal, you don’t get the sensation of lording over other motorists or sitting on top of the SUV. However, don’t think that this limits visibility either, much to the contrary, all four corners feel well within reach.
The straight roads turned twisty yet the speed and Acadia remained pretty stoic. The Flexride (electronic adaptive) suspension and summer tyre combination really surprised me, the big SUV showed little chassis movement and cornered with an unstereotypically American aptitude, it felt confident and in control. The dampers have evidently received a lot of local attention but the 9-speed autobox also played a big part in allowing us to drive around the bends (rather than it driving us so to speak). The V6 is unsurprisingly powerful, great for hillclimbing and the acceleration didn’t go wanting when required for overtaking moves.
There are a variety of driving modes on offer (from FWD only to Sport) and all engaged by the turn of a dial on the centre console. I personally found this switch to be too near the stowage box for my liking or maybe I was sitting too close to the wheel. Anyway, Sport was our goto mode for most of the drive – funny that.
Following a tight (often one vehicle wide) stretch of gravel, we arrived at our lunch destination, Kourawhero Estate, a hidden gem of a retreat set in 100 acres of grounds that overlooks the Matakana coastline. We were treated to a luncheon spread that ranged from oysters and raw fish to medium rare beef and lamp. This should have by rights been followed by an afternoon snooze, however, more driving was on the menu. We changed to the LT ‘base’ model and headed East towards Omaha.
I’m sure you’ll agree when you look up what comes ‘standard’ on the LT, it seems odd to call it a base model. Sure there’s a little less shiny stuff and cloth makes an appearance, but you still get that expansive 7-seat luxury, remote engine start, traffic sign recognition, Sat Nav, Tri-Zone Climate, AEB, blind zone alert.
Once free of the gravel, we reverse drove part of the route we’d arrived on, a good chance to compare models. In short, there was a lot of feedback from the all-weather tyres around the corners (when pushed) but the Acadia still felt like a confident drive, still impressive. The final leg had us taking the country road South and back to the Ramada in Albany.
The all-new Acadia will sit at the top of the Holden tree, it’s a self-proclaimed flagship passenger vehicle that offers American SUV luxury underpinned by Holden driveability. I’m looking forward to running it up the family approval flagpole and seeing how they salute.
Thanks for the Pics BWMedia.