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Future models - Holden - Acadia

Holden locks in Acadia SUV

American dream: The front-end design of the Holden Acadia will be different from the GMC version Holden showed journalists this week.

Seven-seat GMC Acadia SUV confirmed as part of Holden’s SUV model rollout

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Holden logo1 Sep 2016

By TIM NICHOLSON

GM HOLDEN has announced that it will import the seven-seat United States-built GMC Acadia from 2018 as part of its new-model strategy involving four new SUVs in two years.

The car-maker also used the announcement at its GM Australia Design Studios in Port Melbourne to confirm timing for a number of new or refreshed models as part of its promise to launch 24 new models by the end of 2020.

Following the Colorado-based Trailblazer seven-seat SUV that is pitched to the media later this month before an on-sale date of October, Holden will launch the European-sourced Astra five-door hatch in November.

Also arriving in November will be the mid-life update for the Barina light hatch and sedan that was revealed at the New York motor show, while the facelifted Trax crossover that made its debut at this year’s Chicago motor show in Chevrolet guise will arrive in January 2017.

GM Australia design director Richard Ferlazzo told journalists at the event that the Barina facelift was designed by the team in Port Melbourne.

It is the second time Australians have had a hand in the Barina design, as the sixth-generation Barina launched in late 2011 was penned in Korea by an Australian designer.

Holden says pricing and specifications will be revealed closer to launch.

While Holden had previously confirmed the Astra, Barina, Trax and Trailblazer, the Acadia announcement is a surprise, given many pundits had assumed that the seven-seat SUV promised by the car-maker would be a German-built wagon to be built alongside the next-gen Insignia and therefore, possibly, the next Commodore.

GM CEO Mary Barra announced in late 2014 that an all-new flagship SUV model would be built at Opel’s Russelsheim plant in Germany for launch by the end of the decade that would be based on the same E2XX platform as the forthcoming second-gen Insignia.

When GMC unveiled the second-generation Acadia at the Detroit motor show in January this year, GoAuto reported that the three-row high-rider could end up in Holden’s future line-up.

The Acadia is built on the GM C1XX platform that is the crossover variant of the E2XX, meaning it is related to the as-yet unseen Opel SUV model and the Insignia/Commodore.

The Australian-spec Acadia is likely to be built at GM’s Spring Hill, Tennessee, plant and while Holden is yet to announce powertrains, the US version is powered by a 230kW 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine or a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol unit, with no diesel in sight.

In Australia’s competitive large-SUV segment, the Acadia will go up against other seven-seaters such as the Toyota Kluger, Mazda CX-9 and Nissan Pathfinder, none of which are offered with a diesel engine, as well as the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento.

Its 4925mm overall length and 2857mm wheelbase are not far off the soon to be replaced Colorado 7 four-wheel drive, that measures 4878mm and 2845mm respectively, but given it is a monocoque rather than ladder-frame chassis, it is likely to be pitched more as a soft-roader than a go-anywhere off-roader like the Trailblazer.

In the United States, the GMC brand is positioned above Chevrolet, meaning the Acadia is likely to have a more high-end feel than its US-market Chevrolet equivalent.

Mr Ferlazzo explained that the model that was on display at the design studio was not representative of the final look of the Australian-spec car Acadia and that it would carry a slightly different front end that would be more in keeping with other models in the Holden line-up.

In the US the Acadia is offered in two distinct trims – standard Acadia and flagship Denali and they feature dramatically different grilles and unique styling flourishes.

It is unclear if Holden will use one of the US market grilles or design a completely new one, but GoAuto understands that it will have a design motif running through the grille that points towards the badge in the middle of the grille.

The Acadia is already on sale in the US but the 2018 launch timing for Australia centres on right-hand drive production commencement.

Holden’s SUV rollout includes the Trailblazer, facelifted Trax, Acadia in 2018 and an as-yet unconfirmed mid-size SUV to replace the ageing Captiva that will be based on the D2XX platform that underpins the Astra and new-gen Cruze but will also form the basis of the Buick Envision, Opel Antara Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain SUVs.

GoAuto understands that an announcement on the model that replaces the Captiva is imminent and could be made before the Paris motor show.

The announcement of Holden’s SUV strategy follows Ford’s confirmation last month that it would import the Canadian-built Edge in 2018 to fill the gap left by the Territory. However, the Edge is a five-seat only proposition at this stage.

Holden also detailed its new marketing plan as it tries to re-position itself in the lead-up to the closure of Australian manufacturing in late 2017.

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