Holden will use its employees - and their families - to fine-tune its important next arrival, the American-built Acadia seven-seat SUV, ahead of its official showroom arrival later this year.
The Aussie brand has begun real-world testing for the Acadia in Melbourne and the US, with 30 pre-production models set to accumulate more than 1.5million kilometres of everyday data, including how resilient its seats are to kids spilling drinks on them.
The Captured Test Fleet, as it is known internally within Holden, will see a wide range of Holden's staff use the vehicles as they would normally, and report any issues that can be rectified before it officially goes on sale.
"The CTF program includes people from various backgrounds with various car usage characteristics, all working together to make sure Acadia performs to the highest standards on the road and in broader quality areas,” said Holden's Regional Quality Manager, Steve Corcoran.
“Speaking from personal experience, my kids took it upon themselves to test out how easy it was to clean the interior after dropping ice cream on it – a situation we go through regularly in summer.
“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.”
While Holden has yet to reveal final specifications for the Acadia, which will serve as its alternative to the likes of the Mazda CX-9, Toyota Kluger, Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento, it has confirmed the seven-seat SUV will be available with both front- and all-wheel drive configurations and powered by a 3.6-litre V6 featuring stop/start fuel-saving technology.
It will also come equipped with automated emergency braking, lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition, as well as wireless phone charging and a 360-degree camera.
“With Acadia undergoing more local testing and its launch on the horizon, Holden is better equipped than ever to satisfy Australia’s demand for SUVs with our range of high-tech, world-class products,” said Holden’s Director of Sales, Peter Keley.
“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.
“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.”