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Holden Acadia 2020 review: LT 2WD

EXPERT RATING
8
It looks big and truck-like, but is Holden's Acadia LT at all big and truck like to live with or possibly the perfect family cruiser?

If the Acadia had an accent it would be a southern drawl because this big seven-seat SUV is built in Tennessee, USA, and wears a GMC badge when it’s at home.

In Australia of course it wears a Holden one and comes straight from the factory in right-hand drive. So how does it suit Aussie conditions? Does it even know the importance of a sausage on a piece of bread bought outside a hardware store on a Saturday?

All this and more was learnt when the entry grade LT front-wheel drive came to live with my family.

Holden Acadia 2020: LT 2WD
Safety rating
Engine Type3.6L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency8.9L/100km
Seating7 seats
Price from$43,490

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

To fully understand the look of the Acadia, take a peek at the GMC website - but make sure you shield your eyes in the same way you would during a solar eclipse, or when welding, or in an atomic blast.

You’ll understand when you get there but suffice it to say contained within the site are some pretty confronting trucks and SUVs. Once you’ve recovered, you’ll realise the Acadia is the supermodel of the GMC family.

The Acadia is one of the smallest members of the GMC family, yet its dimensions position it as a large SUV in Australia. The Acadia is one of the smallest members of the GMC family, yet its dimensions position it as a large SUV in Australia.

Yep, it has a big, blocky, truck-like look but it’s a refreshingly tough styling alternative to more elegant looking SUVs such as the Mazda CX-9.

The Acadia is also one of the smallest members of the GMC family, yet its dimensions position it as a large SUV in Australia. Even then it’s not huge compared to other large SUVs here, so you won’t have an issue piloting it in Aussie car parks or fitting into spaces.

The Acadia measures 4979mm end-to-end, 2139mm across (with the mirrors out) and 1762mm tall.

The Acadia has a big, blocky, truck-like look. The Acadia has a big, blocky, truck-like look.

Along with the Mazda CX-9 the Acadia would also consider the Kia Sorento and Nissan Pathfinder to be among its rivals.

Inside, the Acadia is a modern and stylish looking place, although it’s a bit unrefined. Still, as one YouTube commenter reminded me parents will like the wipe clean surfaces.

While the interior is modern and stylish looking, parts of it are unrefined. While the interior is modern and stylish looking, parts of it are unrefined.

Well her comment wasn’t written that politely but being a parent, I concur that the hard plastics have that advantage.

The interior is not all unrefined. The seats, even in the entry grade LT we tested, while cloth (and only available in Jet Black) are sculptured with bolsters and finished with a textured pattern that looks and feels great.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   9/10

The front-wheel drive Acadia LT lists for $43,490, which is $4500 less than the all-wheel drive version.

The standard features list includes 18-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, LED running lights, three-zone climate control, proximity key, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth connectivity, six-speaker stereo, 8.0-inch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, noise cancellation, dual chrome exhaust tips, privacy glass and cloth seats.

  • The Acadia LT scores 18-inch alloy wheels. The Acadia LT scores 18-inch alloy wheels.
  • The 8.0-inch touchscreen comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The 8.0-inch touchscreen comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The value is pretty darn good here and you’re not missing out on much by not stepping up to the $10K more LTZ grade, apart from wireless charging, and power and heated leather front seats.

The Acadia costs about the same as the Pathfinder ST but is better value; about $500 more than the entry grade Kia Sorento Si; but undercuts Mazda’s CX-9 Sport by about $3K.

How practical is the space inside?   9/10

The Acadia’s practicality game is strong. It boasts seven seats with third row positions actually able to fit adults, five USB ports sprinkled through the cabin, and a cargo capacity of 1042 litres with the third-row seats folded flat and 292 litres with them in place. If you have three kids, even teenagers, the Acadia could be the perfect family personnel carrier for you.

With the third row in place, boot space is rated at 292 litres. With the third row in place, boot space is rated at 292 litres.

All three rows are spacious and even at 191cm tall I had good shoulder and elbow room up front, and in the second and third rows I had enough legroom to sit in each seat behind my seating position without feeling cramped.

Feeling a bit down because you might not be able to stretch the budget to get the LTZ-V? Well, cheer up – the LT has more headroom and that’s because it doesn’t get the sunroof which eats into the ceiling height.

  • The Acadia could be the perfect family personnel carrier. The Acadia could be the perfect family personnel carrier.
  • Even at 191cm in the second row I had enough legroom to sit behind my seating position without feeling cramped. Even at 191cm in the second row I had enough legroom to sit behind my seating position without feeling cramped.
  • The third row od seats are actually able to fit adults. The third row od seats are actually able to fit adults.

Cabin storage is excellent. There’s a wide and deep centre console bin, a hidey hole in front of the shifter, a tray for second row passengers, six cup holders (two in each row) and decent-sized door pockets.

Directional air vents for everybody on board, three-zone climate control, two 12-volt power outlets, privacy glass and proximity unlocking complete a great practicality package.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   7/10

All Acadias come with a 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine which makes big dollops of power and torque or 231kW (at 6600rpm) and 367Nm (at 5000rpm).

A nine-speed automatic swaps gears, and in the case of our two-wheel drive LT test car the drive went to the front wheels only.

The 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine makes 231kW/367Nm. The 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine makes 231kW/367Nm.

The V6 gets the thumbs up for its stop-start fuel saving system and cylinder deactivation, plus good acceleration and the smooth power delivery you’d associate with a naturally aspirated engine, but a thumbs down for needing to rev hard to make that mumbo.

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

We were surprised by the Acadia’s fuel efficiency. After filling up the tank I drove for 136.9km on a combination of hilly country roads and peak hour evening city traffic and then filled up again – only 13.98 litres were used. That’s a mileage of 10.2L/100km. The official combined consumption figure is 8.9L/100km.

So, while the engine is big and not particularly new (it’s an evolution of the V6 built by Holden in Australia for the Commodore) it does have fuel-saving tech like cylinder deactivation and a stop-start system – which you can’t switch off.

Still, not the most fuel-efficient seven-seater – those with turbos and smaller capacity engines such as Mazda CX-9 are truly amazing in the way they can deliver grunt without getting thirsty.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   8/10

The Acadia was given a maximum five-star ANCAP rating when it was tested in 2018 and even the entry-level LT we tested is equipped with an outstanding amount of advanced safety equipment.

Standard on the LT is AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane keeping assistance with lane departure warning, lateral impact avoidance, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, rear seat passenger reminder and airbags which extend all the way to cover the third row.

Now, you should know the driver’s seat vibrates if your parking sensors detect you coming close to an object. Yup, it’s weird. If that’s not your thing you can go into the screen’s menu and change that to an audible ‘beep’. I’m more a ‘beep’ kind of driver.

A space-saver spare wheel is under the boot floor and I’d advise you to familiarise yourself with how to access it (it’s a bit tricky) in daylight before (or if ever) you’ll need to use it for real.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

5 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   9/10

The Acadia is covered by Holden’s five year/unlimited kilometre warranty.

Servicing is recommended every 12 months or 12,000km. Expect to pay $259 for the first service, $299 for the second, $259 for the third, $359 for the fourth and $359 again for the fifth.

What's it like to drive?   7/10

I drove the Holden Acadia back-to-back with the Nissan Pathfinder – you can watch the model comparison in the video above, but the upshot of that experience was important.

See, while I wasn’t a major fan of the Acadia driving experience when I first met the SUV at its Australian launch in 2018, when I drove it straight after the Pathfinder the difference was like night and day.

The Acadia isn't the most dynamic SUV and there was a bit of tyre chirp in the corners when pushed. The Acadia isn't the most dynamic SUV and there was a bit of tyre chirp in the corners when pushed.

The Acadia is comfortable, from the big seats to the smooth ride. If you’re covering a stack of territory the Acadia makes a great highways cruiser and will chomp up big distances  effortlessly.

That V6 does need to rev hard, but it’s powerful and acceleration is swift, while the nine-speed automatic shifts pretty seamlessly. Noise cancelling tech keeps the cabin fairly serene, too.

I drove the Acadia straight after the Pathfinder the difference was like night and day. I drove the Acadia straight after the Pathfinder the difference was like night and day.

Look, it’s not the most dynamic of SUVs and there was a bit of tyre chirp in the corners when pushed, but this isn’t a performance car and nor is it trying to be.

Small windows mean a cooler, tough look, but the downside is a dark cabin and occasionally visibility is limited by the A-pillars or out the rear windows.

The Acadia is comfortable, from the big seats to the smooth ride. The Acadia is comfortable, from the big seats to the smooth ride.

A 2000kg braked towing capacity will rule the Acadia out for many thinking of pulling a large caravan or big boat. The Pathfinder’s 2700kg braked towing capacity is a strength of that SUV.

Do you need all-wheel drive? Nope, but it’s handy for dirt and gravel roads. Still the 198mm ground clearance with only front-wheel drive should see you get down bumpy roads that regular sedans couldn’t handle.

Verdict

The Holden Acadia is a proper seven-seater SUV in that it will fit adults in the third row without turning your friends into enemies. It’s also practical and well fitted out with storage places and utilities such as USB ports.

I was particularly impressed with the advanced safety equipment on-board even at this entry LT level. Yes, it’s a V6 petrol and it’s not the most fuel-efficient SUV, but our time with it showed that with cylinder deactivation and the stop-start system it might not be as thirsty as you’d think.

EXPERT RATING
8
Design8
Price and features9
Practicality9
Engine & trans7
Fuel consumption7
Safety8
Ownership9
Driving7
Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

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