holden - Holden Acadia front - Holden Acadia: about as average as it gets

What is it?

It’s a vehicle in a timeline that Holden believes is its future, a future dominated by SUVs and 4WD style utes.

The Acadia LTZ-V is a big, seven seater that shares the holding yard with the Trailblazer, Colorado ute, and mid-sized Equinox SUV — not to mention Commodore wagon, or Tourer as it’s known.

Engine and transmission wise it’s a package very much like the terribly underrated front and all-wheel drive Commodore, with a 231kW/367Nm V6 that is paired with an awesome 9-speed auto.

But being a far heavier vehicle, economy isn’t quite as good — with our test vehicle averaging 11.2L/100km.

holden - Holden Acadia rear - Holden Acadia: about as average as it gets

What’s it cost?

The top rung Acadia is $67,990 driveaway right now.

That’s a hefty amount of money to ask for what is about as average a vehicle as you can buy. Average in that there’s not a lot wrong, nor a lot right it — it really is Goldilock’s porridge.

There is the mandated safety package, with autonomous emergency braking, all round cameras, blind spot alert and so on. That’s fine, but cars cheaper than this get the same or close to it.

It’s the little things that hold back the Acadia LTZ-V as an aspirational car.

Plastics inside are meh. They don’t stand out nor do they repel.

Take the centre console for example. There’s faux wood trim and that’s a contrast, not a complement, to the otherwise average looking plastic that sweeps up to meet the touchscreen.

They’re just simply . . . meh.

Only the driver gets a one-touch window switch. Entry level cars from other companies get one-touch switches all around.

The radio has AM, FM, and DAB. The tuner quality is fine, but the screen itself alternated between showing stored stations, to what looked like scanning for stations and locking out the presets.

There is a smart phone charge pad ahead of the gear selector which has an utterly pointless rocker switch for manual gear selection. The pad is mostly accessible and sits between tabs for heating and venting of the front seats.

Build quality was largely okay but the console near the driver’s knee squeaked and the petrol cap did not seal properly at the top edge of the metal and plastic.

All seats were black, leather-look material with contrasting white stitching. Fine, yet conservative.

What’s wrong with red, or blue or a complementary dark grey or vibrant shade of something else?

The actual seats are supportive but without a sense of wraparound. The centre row has an unusual one lever method of to move it forward, and fold at the same time. It takes a bit of practice but eventually becomes intuitive.

GM goes for a pair of sunroofs to add some sense of luxury, but a roof-mounted video screen or a pair of screens fitted to the front headrests would paint it further as a top range vehicle. Remember. It’s $68K driveaway — but so far hasn’t really stamped itself as such.

The dash is a mix of LCD screen with a pair of analogue dials partially overlaid. It’s not a bad look and is easy to read. It’s viewed through a tiller that has heating, a proper Aussie spec pairing of right hand indicator and left hand wiper — and fits nicely overall.

Outback is a separate aircon control panel for the centre and rear seats, plus a pair of USB ports.

There is also a pair of bottle/cup holders in the centre console, bottle holders in all doors, and a solid fold-out centre section for cups in the centre row.

Outside it’s more of the same. Holden removes GMC’s garish grille and replaces it with a black painted item with Holden’s wing and badge.

The front itself is painfully American, with a chin that Superman would be proud of. It’s a squared off, boxy look that echos a half dozen other American trucks, and an A pillar so thick it should be classified as a AA pillar.

The centre section is standard SUV before finishing with a hip line that frightens Kardashians, with a super thick C pillar.

The tail gate is powered and can be set at different heights, and is bracketed by a slim line tail light cluster.

Rear cargo room is quite good and the third row seats feature a super easy to use pull strap to raise them. All over legroom is okay but front shoulder, centre shoulder, and rear shoulder room — isn’t fabulous.

There are eight colours to choose from with the review car finished in Dark Shadow, a shade of blue that effectively dulled any remaining visual appeal.

Mineral Black, Nitrate Silver or Glory Red would look far more striking and would suit the 235/55/20 rubber from Continental and six spoke alloys far better.

holden - Holden Acadia dash - Holden Acadia: about as average as it gets

What’s it go like?

Like everything else it goes okay. The real standout is the auto and it’s a genuine delight. Silky and smoother than a properly shaved poodle, it’s simply beautiful. Did I mention it’s smooth?

The engine has a refined note throughout the rev range and pulls well enough when underway. It’s the off the line performance that hobbles the Acadia unless you tromp the pedal — and that’s where the economy figure starts to go south.

Ride quality has been described as “limousine-like”. That’s a lovely way of saying a wet sponge is harder, tauter. It’s unbelievably soft and wallowy, and flattens bedamned shopping centre speed humps flatter than pancakes.

Steering is distant, with a sense of turning, knowing the front driven wheels have also turned, but not entirely sure by how much.

And there’s an oddity to the Acadia in that gentle acceleration will see the front tyres chirp, but a heftier push will have them grip.

The rear feels reasonably well tied down though, and the overall presentation ride wise is that. Although soft, all four corners never lose grip.

Punt the Acadia into sweepers and the body roll begins before slowing, keeping the high rider reasonably level.

There is a drive mode dial in the centre console but that’s for Sport, Snow, and using a trailer.

Towing, by the way, is up to 2000kg braked.

holden - Holden Arcadia touchscreen - Holden Acadia: about as average as it gets

What we like?

  • There is, at least, a great auto
  • Simple pull straps for the rear seats

holden - Holden Acadia rear seats - Holden Acadia: about as average as it gets

What we don’t like?

  • Doesn’t look like anything else in the Holden range
  • Asking $68K for a car that is so incredibly average

holden - Holden Acadia boot - Holden Acadia: about as average as it gets

The bottom line?

Holden touts the Acadia as its “great white hope”. It has a helluva way to go, with a seven seater already in the family in the form of Trailblazer — a car that looks like others in the Holden range, a diesel engine that pulls a load, and seems slightly better packaged inside.

Acadia is well up against it.

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Holden Acadia LTZ-V, priced from $67,990 driveaway
  • 5/10
    Looks - 5/10
  • 5/10
    Performance - 5/10
  • 7.5/10
    Safety - 7.5/10
  • 6.5/10
    Thirst - 6.5/10
  • 7/10
    Practicality - 7/10
  • 7/10
    Comfort - 7/10
  • 6/10
    Tech - 6/10
  • 5/10
    Value - 5/10
6.1/10

Conole

Dave Conole hails from Perth where he co-hosted a car show on one of the city's major community radio stations. Although he's had formal training in stage, TV, and film, it's his face for radio that gave him his start in the automotive field, both reviewing and motorsport commentary. After moving to Sydney in 2004, Dave has worked for some of Australia's biggest media groups and is the anchor commentator at Sydney Motorsport Park. This has lead to anchoring major events such as the Top Gear Festival (and, no, he didn't get punched by Jeremy).