New seven-seat SUV due on sale in the fourth quarter of 2018

Holden has commenced local real-world testing of the upcoming Acadia SUV, ahead of its launch in the fourth quarter of this year.

A fleet of 16 Acadias has been deployed on Aussie roads, with a further 14 doing errands in the USA for the six-month testing regime. The company says it expects the development vehicles to accumulate "almost 1.5 million kilometres" during this time.

Holden's real-world testing program involves vehicles being driven every day by a "wide range" of employees and their families. Testers are required to report any issues that may come up during day-to-day use, from driving over tram tracks to how well the interior trims put up with abuse from children and their mess.

"The real-world test program we’re running on Acadia ensures it not only drives well on Australian roads, it also fine tunes technology features such as Traffic Sign Recognition, Auto Emergency Braking and Lane Departure Warning to work with our unique road markings and signs," said Peter Keley, director of sales at Holden.

"SUVs are becoming more and more popular and, where once upon a time most of Holden’s sales would have been passenger cars, we now expect SUVs to take over with Equinox and Acadia leading the way."

Meanwhile, Holden's regional quality manager, Steve Corcoran added: "The aim of the program is to find real-world problems before our customers do so that they and their families have absolute peace of mind that their Acadia is built and tuned to perform in every way".

Final pricing and specifications for the Acadia range are still to be confirmed, though we know so far the new SUV will feature a 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine with stop/start technology, front- and all-wheel drive options, available 360-degree camera system, wireless smartphone charging, power tailgate, along with heated and ventilated seats.

Holden is far from alone in testing imported vehicles on local roads and tuning them for our conditions. Kia and Hyundai have made plenty of noise about their local suspension tuning efforts, while the Australian Automotive Research Centre in Anglesea hosts countless camouflaged prototypes undergoing local testing.

Stay tuned for all the latest Acadia updates in the coming months.