We’ve (okay, I’ve) been a bit slack with updates for our long-term 2019 Holden Acadia. The headlong rush to the end of year and then the break over Christmas conspired against us, like it does for most people. Here we are, though, at the start of a new year, and it’s time to take a look at the interior packaging of Holden’s flagship.
There’s no mistaking the Acadia’s exterior dimensions, boxy and proudly American. Of course, that shouldn’t surprise anyone, the Acadia starting its life as a GMC-badged Acadia in the land of the free.
Those dimensions, thankfully, translate to the inside, where the Acadia offers a generous amount of space for all seven occupants. It’s a trend we’ve seen proliferating in recent years – the demand for seven seats – even if, as is often the case, seats six and seven are reserved for occasional use.
To cash in on this trend, many manufacturers have squeezed a third row of seating into otherwise generous five-seaters, and not always with great results. No such qualms here, though, the Acadia a genuine seven-seater, with the third row more than comfortable for most adults.
It all starts at the front, where the Acadia’s US underpinnings come to the fore. There’s no subtlety to the interior design – its big, loud and brash exterior mirrored on the inside, where chunky details abound. Big knobs, covered in rubber, control HVAC and volume functions, and feel every bit as solid as they look.
Swathes of brushed-aluminium-looking accents, in tandem with fake wood inlays, are none too subtle. 'Less is more' is not the ethos at play in Spring Hill, Tennessee. It’s unashamedly proud and loud.
The front pews, covered in a hardy-looking cloth trim (this is the base model, remember), are supportive and comfortable with decent bolstering, although electric adjustability is reserved for higher Acadia grades. There’s plenty of scope for (manual) adjustment, though.
The steering wheel and gear lever do receive the leather treatment to add a touch of ambience to an otherwise utilitarian cabin, anchored by the large (and very intuitive… More on infotainment in a coming instalment) touchscreen running the latest GM software dubbed 'myHolden Connect' in Australia.
Storage options are plentiful, with a reasonably sized cubby ahead of the gear shifter, a deep centre console with a softly padded lid, a pair of standard-sized cupholders (the Acadia eschewing the American predilection for enormous cupholders and their enormous-sized drinks), while the narrow door pockets are good for standard 600ml bottles.
The second row continues to underline the Acadia’s size, with plentiful room for three across thanks to the absence of a transmission tunnel. There’s leg and head room to burn, and the seats slide fore and after to either provide even more space for second-row occupants or free up space for those consigned to the third row.
There are air vents and separate climate controls in the second row, too, a couple of USB points, a flip-down centre armrest with cupholders, and a handy storage drawer tucked away neatly under the centre console.
Three top-tether points and a pair of ISOFIX anchor points on the outboard seats ensure the little ones are snug in their baby seats.
The second-row seats fold in a 60:40 fashion, while levers on top of the seatbacks slide the base and tilt the seatbacks forward for easier ingress into the third row. It’s a shame, then, that the larger of those openings is on the roadside, not kerbside, highlighting its American origins. That said, access to the third row via the kerbside is still adequate.
Once ensconced in that final row of seating, there’s a decent amount of room for two – certainly kids and average-sized adults. Sure, six-footers and above will struggle to get comfortable, but the Acadia does impress with its usable space back there.
So, too, the amenities, the third row scoring a single USB charging point as well as air vents – features all too often left out of some other family haulers. Kudos. Visibility from back there is excellent, too, thanks to the big Holden’s generous glasshouse.
Two more top-tether points in the third row mean that if you’re unlucky enough to have five kids needing baby seats, you’re well catered for.
Of course, using the third row compromises luggage capacity, yet the Acadia still manages to offer a decent 292L with seats six and seven occupied by people. For context only, that’s more than can be found in a Toyota Corolla hatch (217L).
Fold the third row flat, and a generous world of 1042L opens up, while stowing the second row (although not completely flat) liberates a total of 2012L of storage capacity. A space-saver spare lurks under the floor.
The overall impression inside the Acadia is of a well appointed, large and comfortable space. Sure, there are shortcomings when you dig a little below the surface. The quality of some materials (hard plastics) and their fitment in some places (loose, rattly, gaps) is a letdown.
But, they are isolated and not indicative of the overall ambience in the cabin, which presents as a solid, usable interior. Is it premium? No, but it's crammed with features and remains honest and workmanlike.