I'm not a fan of giant SUVs in the city.
I'm not comfortable driving them and I get irrationally angry about anyone with massive cars who don't take them off road, camping or at least 20km beyond the outskirts of Sydney's inner west.
So I was a somewhat apprehensive about taking on the 2019 Holden Acadia LTZ-V 2WD. At over 2000kg it is a hefty lad and takes up its fair share of room on the road.
Imagine my surprise when I was reluctant to hand it back at the end of my loan period. Between the incredibly comprehensive tech package, relative nimbleness and a boot capable of housing many cases of wine, I found myself a bit smitten.
What Is It?
The Holden Acadia is a seven-seater SUV that is unapologetic for its mammoth size.
In addition to being the physical manifestation of the term "absolute unit", it is also injected with an impressive amount of tech, thus rendering it handsome enough to tempt me.
Under the hood you'll find a 3.6 litre V6 petrol engine, 231kW/367Nm with direct fuel injection and a nine-speed automatic transmission with 2WD and AWD options. If you don't know or care what any of that means, no hate. You're in a safe space and I bid you to skip to the next section.
Here's the pricing across the 2019 range:
- LT 2WD: $42,990
- LT AWD: $46,990
- LTZ 2WD: $53,990
- LTZ AWD: $57,990
- LTZ-V 2WD: $63,990
- LTZ-V AWD: $67,990
The particular vehicle reviewed was the LTZ-V 2WD.
Slick screen situation
The LTZ-V comes with an 8-inch infotainment system that supports both Android Auto and Apple Car Play. It also includes:
- 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat
- 8-way power adjustable front passenger seat
- 10-way power adjustable front passenger seat
- Heated front seats
- Rain sensing wipers
- Hands-free power tailgate
- Memory driver’s seat
- Ventilated front seats
- 8 Speaker Bose Premium Audio with amplifier and subwoofer
- USB-A fast charging ports
- Wireless charging pad
- Voice recognition
The tech inclusions for the Acadia are practical and thoughtful. It knows that its users will be spending a lot of time in its encapsulated, metal embrace; whether it be on the way to work or road tripping on weekends.
It's been built for those who reside in it to get the most out of their experience.
Both the front and back cabins contain USB-A ports so the driver and passengers alike can keep their devices juiced up. They have enough power to juice up tablets too, so you can absolutely satiate your little monsters with as much screen time as necessary to keep you sane.
It also includes one of the best trends that I've noticed creeping into new vehicles over the past year - a wireless charging pad.
Sure, wireless charging is slower, but when I was driving two hours to hit the trail or to stock up on vino in the Hunter Valley it got my phone to full charge without a problem.
The only thing that caused some grief was the volume controls. If you think they'd be on the front of the steering wheel or underneath the infotainment screen, you'd be wrong.
It took me longer than I care to admit to find them on the underside of the steering wheel, because that's where the paddle shifters usually live. Anyway it's fine and I'm definitely not still questioning my own intelligence.
Existential crisis aside, as a whole the Acadia's tech package was sleek and sexy. Everything from voice recognition to bluetooth pairing work seamlessly, and it looked good while doing it.
It's a modern tech package for a modern driver and it took the experience to the next level.
The tech doesn't stop at the fun stuff when it comes to the Acadia. One of the most impressive aspects of the LTZ-V was the slew of tech-based safety features.
As someone who loves staying alive on the road, I'm a fan.
Coming as standard across the LT range include:
- Traffic Sign Recognition with Intelligent Speed Assist
- Hitch View System
- LED Daytime Running Lamps
- Side Blind Zone Alert
- Lateral Impact Avoidance
- Rear Cross Traffic Alert
- Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist
- Autonomous Emergency Braking
- Driver Mode Control
- Forward Collision Alert with Head-Up Warning
- Following Distance Indicator
- Rear Park Assist
- Rear View Camera
- Auto high beam
Additionally, the LTZ-V included a 360 degree camera, adaptive cruise control with stop & Go and all-speed autonomous emergency braking.
While the entire safety package as a whole was incredible, there are specifics worth calling out.
The auto high beam was great, proving itself useful on highways, back streets and country roads alike. It takes some of the pressure off night driving, which I was grateful after long drives home from the mountains a wine country.
I was also impressed by how balanced the warning system was. One of my vehicle-based pet hates are loud warning beeps. If loud and shocking enough, I find them to be potentially dangerous.
On several occasions I've had an overly sensitive warning system screech at me without being clear as to why, leaving me confused and distracted.
Fortunately, the Acadia's sensitivity is far more balanced and useful.
It utilises a mix of heads-up display warnings and a butt vibration to alert the driver to potential dangers. I found it incredibly helpful and appreciated the bonus sporadic butt massage.
The 360 degree camera in action, and a crap shot of the wireless charging pad, sorry!
The blind spot alerts were similarly subtle, but noticeable enough, with a small light triggering on the side mirrors if a car was passing on either side of the car.
The 360 degree camera in the LTZ-V variant helps make the warnings incredibly accurate, and is also a massive boon when it comes to the rear park assist - which can be a necessity in such a large vehicle.
I found myself far more confident parking this big boy thanks the combination of the crystal clear camera feed, birds eye view of the cark park and 360 degree view of the surroundings.
I really couldn't fault the entire system, which worked together harmoniously in my humble opinion.
The LTZ-V can be converted into a seven seater, so when those extra seats are down you're left with a hell of a lot of boot space.
As an avid hiker, I frothed this. There is plenty of room for backpacks and kit for multiple people. So if you have outdoor hobbies or some kids, this will handle anything you can throw at it.
Alternatively, you can take it up to the Hunter with your mates and fill it with cases of wine. My serious and clinical real world testing can confirm that the dimensions are certainly there for it.
Nimble For A Chonky Boi
So it turns out that this thing can move.
I was surprised at its ability to swiftly dodge in an out of Sydney traffic during peak hour, as well as pull a tight turning circle when I had to chuck a u-turn after over shooting the turn off to a winery.
I even managed to reverse park into some less-than-spacious spots thanks to the birds eye camera.
While I still tend to prefer something a little smaller, the LTZ-V surprised me with how capable it was within the city.
Being a 6-cylinder beast the Acadia was never going to be the most fuel-efficient car on the road.
Despite this, it still did quite a good job at not slurping up the petrol in its 82-litre tank too quickly.
Holden quotes the 2WD variant of the Acadia as getting 8.9L/100km, which is just over what we got in the real world across multiple road conditions - highway, country, city and suburban.
While it will cost a bit to fill it up, at least it will last you awhile.
What's Not So Great?
The maps could be better
The LTZ-V has an in-built SatNav system, which means that it isn't always going to be as up to date an accurate as a vehicle with an e-sim and Google Maps.
This resulted in a few issues regarding road works and the like, but I've certainly experienced worse.
On the plus side, the map itself looked quite slick and was easy to follow. And the SD card is located near the front USB ports, so its easy to pop out and have updated when you take your car in for a service.
Cabin interior: heaps of room and incredibly comfortable
Being a modern SUV the dash informs you of what the current speed is, in case there aren't any signs about. I'm usually a massive fan of this feature, and the Acadia is the first Holden vehicle to has Traffic Sign Recognition to help with this.
However, it annoyingly didn't take non-school hours into account.
Seeing as I was testing this over a long weekend, it became a frequent annoyance. There were quite a few instances where the dash was reprimanding me for going above 40km/h in a school zone when it absolutely was out of hours.
Still not the best for cities
Being quite a large SUV, it still isn't my top pick for city driving.
While I have certainly felt less comfortable (AKA terrified) with other, larger SUVs on a three lane highway, I still found myself apprehensive when it came to parking in tight spots or driving in tight tunnel lanes.
Fortunately, the former issue was helped immensely by the 360 degree camera and birds eye view. It would have been far more difficult without them and resulted in me not crying through a 72-point turn in a Woolies car park.
Should You Buy It?
While the LTZ-V wasn't the perfect size SUV for my city and country life balance, I enjoyed driving it a lot more than anticipated.
While it is definitely more suited to suburban and country living, it's not so impractical that it wouldn't work in a capital city. But you'd definitely want a reason for all that extra space, whether it be family or outdoor-based interests.
I can see it working for a family or even an adventurous couple who live in city suburb feel the need to get the hell out of dodge at the weekend.
The modern inclusions combined with the sheer spaciousness made it an incredibly comfortable drive. As a tech head who loves driving long distances and rather likes an SUV for hiking and wine transportation reasons, it ticked a lot of boxes for me.
While it is still just a little too big for my situation, I know it would be perfect for someone else's.
Give me that tech package and a decent sized boot in a slightly smaller chassis and I'm sold.