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Holden Acadia loads up

Acadia large SUV to get most tech of any Holden across the range

29 Aug 2018

HOLDEN will pile on the safety and convenience features in its new Acadia SUV in an effort to woo family vehicle buyers when the all-new seven-seat large SUV lands in showrooms in about October.
Benchmarked against the Toyota Kluger and Mazda CX-9 in local engineering and marketing testing, the Acadia will get an autonomous emergency braking system that can detect pedestrians and cyclists as well as vehicles, lane keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, rear-parking assist, automatic high beam headlights and traffic sign recognition, among other things.
It will also get keyless access and push-button start, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, sat-nav, three-zone climate control, USB ports in all three rows and a rear-vision camera.
The company is mindful that it needs the Acadia to breeze through the recently stiffened Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) tests to earn a maximum five-star rating if it is to get off on the right footing against well-credentialed, well-established rivals.
The Acadia will become the fourth SUV in the Holden line-up, joining the baby Trax, medium-sized Equinox and Colorado-based Trailblazer in its new-look high-riding wagon SUV range.
Unlike the other SUVs in the Holden line-up that are drawn from the Chevrolet bin, the Acadia is a rebadged GMC model made in Tennessee alongside related GM vehicles such as the Cadillac XT5 and Chevrolet Blazer. All sit on GM’s monocoque C1XX crossover platform.
Holden SUV marketing general manager Mathew Rattray-Wood said the level of technology on the Acadia was compelling.
“Whether we are talking safety, convenience or infotainment, Acadia has the most complete technology package Holden has ever offered,” he said. 
Holden needs the Acadia to work its magic the showroom, partly because it has to reverse a serious 25 per cent sales slump in the past year, but also because Australia and New Zealand are the only right-hand-drive markets for the big wagon, thus requiring significant sales return to justify the engineering expense.
At 4917mm long and 1915mm wide, the Acadia is slightly longer and slightly narrower than the Kluger (4864/1925mm) but shorter and narrower than the CX-9 (5075/1969mm).
Like these rivals, the petrol-only Acadia will come in two-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive configurations. In Acadia’s case, Holden has skipped the 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine available in North America and gone straight for GM’s familiar 3.6-litre V6 hooked up to a nine-speed automatic transmission.
We will have to wait for another instalment of the Acadia information trickle to confirm the engine’s power and torque, but as we have previously reported, the GMC version sticks out a healthy 231kW and 367Nm, shading Toyota’s 218kW/350Nm 3.5-litre V6.
The Acadia also has more power that the Mazda CX-9’s smaller 2.5-litre turbo four cylinder (170Nm) but not as much torque as the Japanese vehicle (420Nm).
So far, Holden has kept pricing, model line-up details, performance and fuel-economy figures to itself, but as part of the trickle feed of information to try to build brand awareness for the new vehicle, the company invited motoring journalists to sample the Acadia in a teaser drive program at the Lang Lang proving ground in Victoria.
Our drive was hardly comprehensive – a couple of laps behind the wheel on a handling track that was damp from passing showers – but we learned a few things: the big family bus is well-equipped – at least in the high-end LTZ-V guise that we drove – quiet, willing and not particularly sporty in the handling department, despite the best efforts of Holden chassis engineers to tame American excesses.
At least twice we felt the ESC kick in on not-particularly-demanding corners as the big 20-inch wheels grappled to stay in contact with the tarmac that was, to be fair, quite slick on this wet and wintry day. 
The smaller, lighter and more nimble Equinox that we drove back-to-back with the Acadia on the same circuit had no such problems.
However, we will need a much more extensive drive of Acadia in its final production guise to pass judgement on the chassis which combines Macpherson struts up front, five-link independent suspension at the rear and electric-assisted power steering.
The folding third-row seat is wide enough for two adults, but requires the split middle row seat to be slid forward to provide adequate knee-room, even for small adults. 
We took up residence in that back seat for the 1.5-hour ride back to Melbourne, and because we are of the smaller variety of human adult, we had no complaints.
Impressively, we could even talk to the driver three rows away without shouting excessively, such is the noise suppression.
Side steps would have made entrance and exit into the back slot easier, but at least the middle-row seats fold forward with relative ease.
The leather-swathed front seats in the LTZ-V are comfortable in the typical Holden way, with plenty of adjustment. 
Holden customers will have no trouble adjusting to the instruments which include an easy-to-navigate infotainment system sensibly stacked separately from the climate controls on the console.
Twin sunroofs – one over the front seats and the second over the middle row – have manually sliding shades.
A big fat central armrest hides a large cubby – one of several to make sure occupants in the first two rows at least have places for their gadgets. Ten cupholders accompany all seating positions.
The Acadia gets a number of driving modes, with the two-wheel-drive version getting normal, snow, sport and trailer towing settings, while the all-paw variant can be flicked between 2WD (for better fuel economy) and AWD, as well as sport, off-road and trailer towing modes.
We did not get to explore all these in our little test, so they also will have to wait, along with fuel consumption and other important benchmarks.

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