Exclusive: First drive of Holden Acadia seven-seat SUV in NZ
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Howdy Kiwis, it’s time for y’all to prepare for an American to mix things up on our roads later this year with the arrival of the mid-size Acadia SUV.
Built at the General Motor Company’s Spring Hill, Tennessee plant, the Acadia is joining Holden NZ’s lineup as it introduces more American products.
The Acadia will not only become Holden NZ’s largest SUV, but is set to become the flagship vehicle for the brand.
It will join the Trax, Equinox, Trailblazer and run-out Captiva in Holden’s SUV portfolio.
Holden NZ’s product marketing manager Ina Economopoulos told Driven that the Acadia would launch locally in November.
“We’re incredibly excited to welcome the all-new Holden Acadia to our product range … it will make a fantastic addition to the Holden SUV line up,” she said.
“The Acadia is an executive-styled, specification-rich SUV with dynamic performance and will be perfect for families, as it offers full-size seven seats – it is a great looking family vehicle with massive load-carrying ability.”
The Acadia had a “bold, fresh look with a commanding road presence, yet is well planted and surefooted and has easy-to-drive characteristics and car-like manners when it comes to getting from A to B”.
Economopoulos said it was too early to talk sales volume but after its New Zealand debut at Fieldays it received “overwhelmingly positive feedback. We’re sure it will establish itself as a key competitor in a growing segment”.
“We’re confident it will become Holden’s flagship model, thanks to its aesthetic appeal, all-round functionality, performance attributes as well as the fact it’s a true family orientated vehicle.”
Price will be announced closer to launch date.
The second-generation Acadia debuted at the North American International Auto Show in January, 2016. The Acadia we’ll get is smaller than the first model, at 4917mm long, 1915mm wide and 1745mm high, with a weight of 1879kg and towing capacity of 1800kg.
The seven-seater Acadia comes with a 3.6-litre, V6 petrol engine producing 231Kw of power at 6600rpm and 271Nm of torque at 5000rpm. It’s paired with a new advanced twin-clutch AWD system and a nine-speed automatic transmission.
That engine and AWD system is also found in the all-new Holden Commodore RS-V and VXR.
I was the first motoring writer in Australasia to drive the pre-production Acadia. Australia and New Zealand will be the only markets in the world where a right-hand drive version of the Acadia will be sold.
What first struck me — and the staff at the Holden service department at Schofields Auckland dealership who were guarding the SUV — was the American look of the Acadia.
And that’s a compliment. A big compliment.
In stands out from the competition — the likes of the Mazda CX-9, Toyota’s Highlander, and the Hyundai Santa Fe — thanks to its long rear panels and narrow windows. Then there’s the front bumper that protrudes from beneath the large grille, giving it an exaggerated look.
Inside, the Acadia has a premium look and also gains storage under the boot cover over the first generation model.
New slide seats that make access to the third row easy but those two rear seats are more suited to children than adults due to limited legroom, though the dual sunroofs will keep passengers happy.
I had a combination of drive routes during my five-day test period, including city, motorway and country, and a trip to Matakana farmers’ market.
On the motorway, I was impressed with the V6 engine’s performance and overtaking ability, while once on the open road it had plenty of torque for the overtaking lanes winding up a hill.
For a large vehicle it had composed handling and confident cornering. In city driving, the engine was smooth with plenty of low end power available.
My fuel economy at the end of the test period was 13l/100km for 230km of driving.
I can’t comment on driving assistance features or infotainment systems as the Acadia was a pre-production model with a software issues to be finalised.
But I predict it will be a big seller here for Americana fans or buyers who want a vehicle that is unabashedly a SUV.