Having waited a long time to get my hands on the new Holden Acadia seven-seat SUV, I was super excited to give it a good drive and put it through all our BabyDrive testing, so let's see how it went…
Well, the Acadia is a car with a lot of great family-friendly features, and then a couple of real negatives that were disappointing for me. If I start with my negatives and then we can enjoy all the positives to follow! Firstly I found the front seating position incredibly uncomfortable. It is as if the pedals are too high so you have to press them from above so I found my right leg ached. Secondly, I found the door mirrors caused real blind spots making it hard to see when turning at junctions and roundabouts. It's not bad going to have only two real negatives on the new Holden Acadia, but I did get really annoyed by them every time I drove the car.
Now, let's move on to the positives and as seven-seaters go, it has a lot! Let's start with the five top tethers!! WOOO HOOO!!! I could fit five big child seats in the back of the Acadia. Three big forward-facing child seats fit across the second row and a combination of forward and rear-facing also fitted.
And I could fit two big ones in the third-row seats too.
Legroom was good, I could fit a 182cm passenger in the front passenger seat with a rear-facing capsule in the second-row and a 180cm passenger in the third-row seat behind it. There is a consideration with this though, when said passenger has climbed into the third-row seats the second-row seat has to slide all the way back into its furthest position before you can move it forward again so they have enough legroom, and our 180cm passenger found their legs were crushed and didn't have the room to let the seat slide all the way backwards. I am 162cm and I found there was enough room in the third-row seats with the second-row seats in their furthest back position.
Storage is excellent throughout the Acadia, especially in the second row, where there is a large drawer in the back of the central console box and the doors are full of storage wells and cup holders too. There are also USB ports in all three rows which is great for enabling passengers in all rows to charge their gadgets.
When using five seats, boot space is great, with some useful underfloor storage and plastic side wells that were perfect for big sun cream tubs on beach days! It's worth noting the Acadia doesn't come with a roller blind; you have to pay $250 extra for that which is a bit cheeky I think! 😉
From empty it would hold eighteen shopping bags, which is the same as the Mazda CX-9 and the Nissan Pathfinder and one more than the Mazda CX-8. All styles of stroller I tested fitted and even the biggest, the Mountain Buggy Duet twin stroller, had room for four bags beside it when using five seats. Or you could fit a large dog instead.
When using all seven seats, the boot space is much smaller and would only fit five shopping bags, which. is one less than the Mazda CX-8, two less than the Mazda CX-9 and three less than the Nissan Pathfinder. I could fit the Mountain Buggy Duet twin stroller in the boot without any shopping with one of the wheels removed.
The media system is touch screen and easy to navigate and has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which is great!
The reversing camera is AMAZING and has really clear images. It has many different camera views and I learnt which were the most useful when parking and maneuvering because visibility is a bit limited in this big car once five child seats are installed.
Also from the media screen, you can control the climate throughout the car and even set and lock the rear aircon so little passengers can't fiddle with it or fight over it!!
There Acadia key fob has a button that if you press for long enough turns the car on and starts cooling or heating the interior, I LOVED this function as I tested this during a hot week!! To get into a cool car with cooled seats going was fantastic!! I did find it sporadic as to when it would work and when it wouldn't. You have to hold the button down for 5 seconds, which I'm pretty sure I did (if not longer) and my husband had the same issue 😉
The Acadia was super smooth and quiet to drive which is always surprising in big seven-seater SUVs. The driver's seat in the Acadia vibrates on the relevant side to alert the driver to a hazard when reversing, which I found great because it is silent and got my attention without disturbing any sleeping passengers or adding to or fighting with the cacophony already going on with the car's occupants! There were still quite a few beeps and warning bells for rear passenger alert, which beeps every time you come to a stop and open your door… I know it's a safety feature but it is baby waking and annoying!!
The Holden Acadia was given a five-star ANCAP safety rating in 2018 and has seven airbags as standard that extend to the third row.