2019 Holden Acadia road test

The replacement for the long running Holden Captiva has arrived from the United States of America, marking it the first time a US designed and built SUV has been available in New Zealand. And in a surprise twist it turns out to be a quality laden cruiser.

I took an NZ$71,990 Acadia LTZ-V on a rare family week long holiday to Tauranga, 200km away, as I knew from the launch drive that this vehicle is a very capable long distance cruiser for a family. Almost everything in the Acadia is suited for cruising, thanks to the comfortable supportive seats, softish suspension tune, heated and cooled front seats and a number of other things. The fan cooled front seats were particularly useful in a week that set several records for high weather temperature.

The three zone climate control also came in handy, as the kids in the back were able to select a temperature of around absolute zero while the adults up the front could have things a touch warmer.

The 3.6-litre 231kW engine has enough muscle to hustle the Acadia along at decent speeds and sounds pretty grunty while doing it. The nine-speed gearbox is likewise capable and slips between gears quickly and pretty smoothly.

From a New Zealand perspective you would expect that the interior of the US designed and built Acadia would have crappy plastics and build quality akin to that of a $2 watch brought on Ebay, but everything looks high quality and it’s certainly solid.

But as always there’s no such thing as a perfect car. One particular thing that aggravated me was the flashing speed limit sign on the instrument panel. Every time you exceeded the speed limit by five kilometres per hour it would flash and since everyone tends to drive 10km/h over the speed limit it very quickly pissed me off. I worked through the settings in the infotainment system to see if could be disabled and even (and motoring writers very rarely do this) read the owners manual. It seems that this feature just cannot be turned off.

A small Postit note stuck to the screen soon solved the issue.

The rear hatch is power operated but it is slow to open and close, to the point where you lose patience and duck under it to start loading gear into the boot as soon as there is enough room under the hatch.

I also had more than a few problems with the infotainment system including not connecting to my phone on startup, starting Android auto on startup when it wasn’t set up, and at one stage the bluetooth stopped operating altogether between Tauranga and Matamata until I stopped and reset the engine.

So in the end the Acadia is a mixed package, mostly in the electronics and electrics, but the one thing it does really well is be a great family car for a pretty good price.

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