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Holden Acadia LTZ 2019 review

EXPERT RATING
7.5
Here it is, everything you wanted to know about the Holden Acadia LTZ but were (or weren't) afraid to ask.

Just sitting there in the Holden Acadia LTZ minding my own business and she comes out of her house and starts pointing her finger at me. Hang on, maybe I'm parked across her driveway? I put the window down. 

“What’s it like?” she asks, pointing at the Acadia.

“Big. People get out of your way,” I respond.

“I’m currently driving that,” she says, grinning and pointing at the Holden Captiva across the road.

She peers through the window and comments on how nice the seats look. I can tell she wants a tour, but my three-year old in the back is on the verge of a breakdown.

So, this review is for you pointy lady that I couldn’t help more at the time, and for the staring men who walked past and were afraid to ask what the Acadia LTZ was like. 

Actually, it’s for everybody who’s thinking about a seven-seater SUV, because if you’re looking for this type of SUV not including the Acadia on your list could be a huge mistake. 

Holden ACADIA 2019: LTZ-V (AWD)
Safety rating
Engine Type3.6L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency9.3L/100km
Seating7 seats
Price from$67,490

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   8/10

The LTZ sits in the middle of the Acadia range (between the entry level LT and the top-spec LTZ-V) and the front-wheel drive (FWD) version lists for $53,490. Coming standard is an 8.0-inch touchscreen with sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a reversing camera, three-zone climate control, leather upholstery, power adjustable and heated front seats, wireless phone charging, a power tailgate, front and rear parking sensors, auto-parking, a proximity key and rear privacy glass.

The value is excellent and the LTZ is the sweet spot in the range where the grade brings an impressive amount of equipment for only about $10K more than the entry-spec car. Choosing FWD saves you four grand as well over the all-wheel drive (AWD).

How practical is the space inside?   9/10

The answer is super practical – more so than most SUVs.

First, it's spacious enough for me (at 191cm tall) to sit in the second row, behind my driving position, without my knees hitting the seat back, and then behind that in the third row.

Headroom is excellent even in those back seats, although if you option a sunroof it will bring the ceiling height down slightly, so sit back there before you buy it.

  • Headroom is excellent in all rows. Headroom is excellent in all rows.
  • At 191cm even I could fit in the third row. At 191cm even I could fit in the third row.
  • If you option a sunroof it will bring the ceiling height down slightly. If you option a sunroof it will bring the ceiling height down slightly.

Cabin storage is outstanding with a wide and deep centre console storage bin up front along with two cupholders and a hidey hole housing the wireless charging pad. Second-row folks have a large storage tray and two cupholders and those in the third row have two cupholders and a container for loose items.

I can’t name many other SUVs with a USB port in the third row – the Acadia has one and there are another two USB ports in the second, plus another two up front. There are two 12-volt outlets – one in the front and one in the cargo area.

With all seven seats in place the Acadia has a cargo capacity of 292 litres, but fold that rear row down and the boot space is 1042 litres. Mazda’s CX-9 has a cargo capacity of 529 litres in five-seat mode, but while this seems like less keep in mind that Holden has measured the Acadia’s boot capacity to the roof, while Mazda only works it out to the top of the back seat.

  • With all seven seats in place the Acadia has a cargo capacity of 292 litres. With all seven seats in place the Acadia has a cargo capacity of 292 litres.
  • With the rear row down and the boot space grows to 1042 litres. With the rear row down and the boot space grows to 1042 litres.

Is there anything interesting about its design?   7/10

The Acadia is made in the US of A by General Motors’ GMC brand in right-hand drive and sold in Australia.

Replacing the GMC badge with a Holden roundel and giving it a new grille doesn’t do much to disguise its origins - the Acadia looks like a big American, truck-like SUV. That’s appealing to plenty of people, including myself. 

Yup, if the Mazda CX-9 looks like an elegant swan with its sleek beak and streamlined profile, the Acadia is more moose-like with a blocky shape and muscular stance.

The Acadia’s dimensions reveal that this SUV isn’t as giant as it might look and at just under 5.0m end-to-end it’s shorter than a CX-9. The Acadia isn’t overly tall at 1.8m (so you’ll fit in underground car parks) but it is wide at 2.1m across (including the mirrors).

The Acadia looks like a big American, truck-like SUV. The Acadia looks like a big American, truck-like SUV.

The colour choices are limited to darker hues such as 'Mineral Black', 'Blue Steel' (yes, I know), 'Scorpion' (which is brown) and 'Glory Red'.

You can tell an LTZ from the outside by its silver roof rails – that’s really the LTZ’s only distinguishing feature from the rest. Like the LTZ-V above it, the LTZ has body-coloured door handles with chrome strips and fog lights.

Inside, the LTZ (like the LT) comes with black leather upholstery. You’re not missing much by not stepping up to the LTZ-V from a cabin perspective – they’re almost identical.

It’s a modern cabin, but like the exterior it's also a bit truck-like and unrefined. Being a parent I know this can have its advantages, too, in that the surfaces are wipe-clean and knobs and buttons appear sturdy enough to withstand incredibly strong, tiny, pokey fingers.

The LTZ's cabin is modern, but also a bit truck-like. The LTZ's cabin is modern, but also a bit truck-like.

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

The Acadia has a 3.6-litre, naturally aspirated V6 petrol engine and that’s becoming a bit of a rarity these days with many SUVS, even large ones, downsizing to turbo fours

The good news is the V6 makes stacks of power at 231kW and torque is healthy at 367Nm. The not-so-good news is maximum torque doesn’t come in until 5000rpm, which means you’ll really have to gun it to access that maximum pulling strength.

Unlike many other SUVs, the Acadia comes with a 3.6-litre, naturally aspirated V6 petrol engine. Unlike many other SUVs, the Acadia comes with a 3.6-litre, naturally aspirated V6 petrol engine.

Braked towing capacity is 2000kg, which isn’t enormous but the same as Ford’s Endura. If you’re after something with better towing capability we’ve done the work for you here in our top five towing SUVS story.

The Acadia has a nine-speed automatic transmission and the LTZ we tested was FWD.

What does this all mean for fuel economy? Well, let’s talk about that. 

How much fuel does it consume?   6/10

Holden says the FWD Acadia should use 8.9L/100km over a combination of urban and open roads. When I drove the Acadia at its launch (on mainly country roads) the trip computer was reporting 10.0L/100km for the FWD.

On this most recent test I kept mainly to the suburbs and inner city and after 150.7km the trip computer was telling me we were using fuel at an average rate of 18.4L/100km. 

When cruising on motorways the V6 can deactivate two-cylinders which saves fuel. But just drive it in bumper-to-bumper traffic all the time and, well, you’ll mainly use all six and your fuel usage will probably look like mine. 

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

The Acadia was awarded the maximum five-star ANCAP rating in 2018. What is hugely impressive here is that all Acadias regardless of grade come with AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-keeping assistance with lane departure warning, blind spot alert with collision avoidance, rear cross traffic alert and speed sign recognition.

Many much more expensive prestige cars don’t come with half of that advanced safety equipment and if they do you’ll often have to pay more to option it.

For child seats you’ll find top tether anchor points in every seat across the second and third rows, and two ISOFIX mounts in the second row.

If you have kids who will be travelling in the third row, you’ll also be happy to know the side curtain airbags extend to cover all rows.

A space saver spare is under the boot floor. I had a go at getting to it because there were a few critics of its accessibility. Well, I found it a bit awkward on my first attempt as you need to remove the foam storage area that sits under the carpet, and then unscrew a couple of fasteners, but it’s not hard. The most annoying part will be having to remove some of your cargo from the boot to get under the floor.

Under the boot floor you'll find a space saver spare. Under the boot floor you'll find a space saver spare.

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 and is capped at $259 for the first service and then $299 for the next, $359 for the third and $359 again for the fourth.

What's it like to drive?   6/10

The dashboard’s high. That was what I noticed straight away when I climbed into the Acadia for the first time when I drove the SUV at its launch in 2018, and the same thought ran through my head when I tested this LTZ. That, and how the bonnet stretches away out in front of you. 

So, it not only looks like a truck but feels like one to sit in. No problem, just raise the seat higher. If you’re looking for something with an assertive presence, something that makes other drivers refrain from hogging the right-hand lane, then the Acadia could be your next giant suit of armour. 

It’s comfortable to wear, too. Those front seats are big and comfy, while the cabin is quiet. The ride even at slower speeds on potholed bitumen was smooth and cushioned, although a little too bouncy sometimes.

Handling is okay, but not great – this is a big SUV that feels as though it has been set up to be comfortable, rather than super agile, which is smart given the Acadia will spend its life criss-crossing the city from suburb to suburb and not setting lap times at the track.

That said, the LTZ-V which sits above the LTZ in the Acadia range has adaptive suspension, and that provides much better ride and handling. That's why the LTZ has scored a low (ish) mark in this area.

The V6 is a brute and the power feels plentiful, with stacks of grunt for overtaking.

While the steering isn’t heavy, piloting something this big will take some getting used, too, if you haven’t steered something this size before. But if you’re upgrading from a Captiva or another large SUV you’ll adapt quickly.

Verdict

Spacious, good value, safe and comfortable. Really, is there anything else you’d need in a large SUV? Okay, it’s thirsty, it looks like a truck and it doesn’t handle like a Porsche. But, if you’re fine with that, given the other points are so good, you’re on to a winner. 

Would the Holden Acadia make your list of seven-seat SUVs to drive before you buy? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Pricing Guides

$55,490
Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)
Lowest Price
$43,490
Highest Price
$67,490

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
LT (2WD) 3.6L, ULP, 9 SP AUTO $43,490 2019 Holden Acadia 2019 LT (2WD) Pricing and Specs
LT (AWD) 3.6L, ULP, 9 SP AUTO $47,990 2019 Holden Acadia 2019 LT (AWD) Pricing and Specs
LTZ (2WD) 3.6L, ULP, 9 SP AUTO $53,490 2019 Holden Acadia 2019 LTZ (2WD) Pricing and Specs
LTZ (AWD) 3.6L, ULP, 9 SP AUTO $57,490 2019 Holden Acadia 2019 LTZ (AWD) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.5
Price and features8
Practicality9
Design7
Engine & trans7
Fuel consumption6
Safety8
Ownership9
Driving6
Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

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