The launch of the Series 2 HSV SportsCat was an endorsement of the risky decision to take the performance brand into the crowded high-end ute market.
It’s a case of giving the people what they want and other brands have done the same over recent years.
The ‘hero’ of Holden’s range of SUVs is the US-built Acadia, which starts life as a GMC. The car wears its American-ness with pride. And fair enough too – it looks great without being ostentatious.
With the ZB Commodore selling in low numbers, this could be just the car to head up the Holden range in a market that traditionally favours large, six-cylinder petrol cars.
It uses the same 3.6L V6 petrol and 9-speed automatic that you’ll find in the Commodore -- a smooth and powerful combination.
It’s big with proper seats for seven people (not just kids).
And it’s extremely quiet and comfortable.
Size, power, space and comfort – all the hallmarks of the traditional big Aussie cars we all used to aspire to.
Rural News drove the top-spec LTZ-V AWD for a week and it did the job of commuter, family wagon, load hauler and open-road tourer all with total ease.
Like similar large SUVs designed for the USA (Highlander and CX-9, for example), the Acadia is built for comfort rather than track days at Hampton Downs. However, it is nicely balanced and handles a windy road well, reverting to understeer only when you’re really pushing it.
The LTZ-V has adaptive shocks and the ride is always plush but never wobbly and unsettled. A bit of fine-tuning for Australian roads has made the Acadia perfectly set up for ours.
This range-topper is packed with features to make it more comfortable in the cabin and safer on the road.
Plenty of active safety technology like autonomous braking and lane keep assist – all clever stuff and getting less intrusive and more effective all the time.
The traffic sign recognition worked a treat, flashing the speed limit of any given stretch of road onto the dashboard. No excuses, officer.
Boat owners might like the hitch guidance feature that not only uses the rear view camera to help you line up the draw-bar but also lets you check on it while driving. With power and torque of 231kW and 367Nm it has the grunt to tow, although braked towing capacity is limited to 2000kg. If you overcompensated for something and bought a big 3-tonne boat, you’ll need a Holden Trailblazer instead.
The Acadia is a big vehicle, so less suited to city car parks perhaps, but otherwise an ideal car for Kiwi families.
It comes with a three-year/100,000km warranty and three-year free service plan.
It also comes with plenty of attitude, a rare commodity among modern family wagons.
If the LTZ-V’s $71,990 price tag is out of your reach, you can still get into a 2WD LT for $49,990.