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Hamilton
Tuesday - 1 December 2020

Oh say, can you see… A Holden Acadia story of Independence.

To recognise the fact that the ‘presidential’ Holden Acadia has gained more traction in the busy NZ SUV market and to help celebrate our (the Commonwealth) independence from the USA (or is that the other way around), Holden organised a 4th of July Road Trip like no other. Here is my account of the celebration, including all 45 Presidents for good measure.

With the rain Washing(ton) down and A dam(s) starting to form on the roads, we all met up at Holden HQ in Auckland. The two-day event was to include a raft of Americanisms, fast food and of course, the Holden Acadia. First up, some Krispy Kreme donuts and coffee.

Holden Acadia New Zealand

Following a brief update from Holden NZ’s MD Marc Ebolo about how the “Acadia has made a real impact since launch and is differentiating itself from competitors thanks to its bold styling, all-round performance, creature-comforts as well as a competitive price proposition.” We headed out to meet our chariots and begin the drive event itself.

The Acadia LTZ-V is as advertised very well equipped and as big as a Jefferson Starship. It’s a seven-seat SUV that look’s as good in a 5-star hotel as it does on a driveway in a swanky suburb. The 3.6L V6 engine offers up 367Nm and 231kW which has a big enough punch to knock out anyone in Madison square gardens. The interior is loaded with leather and refinement, great for us common folk but would be sure to impress stars such as Monroe.

Holden Acadia New Zealand

Our first stop was Sal’s pizza for some good ol’ New York pie, but not before passing through A dam(s) load of puddles. Hot wings and slices were quickly downed, was it good, all I have to say is ‘fuhgeddaboudit’

Time to hit the road. Heated seat on, we headed south on SH1, listening to ‘Jackson’ tunes on the Acadia’s powerful stereo. Thanks to the weather, traffic was bad, plenty of cars, trucks and a Van (Buren) or two. But clear of the Auckland region, we settled in for the ride, after all we weren’t in a Harri(son).

Our hosts Holden had Ty(ler)lessly though of everything and even packed us a goodie bag for the ride, sweet and savoury treats is all manner of colours and designs, even Polk-adot. Snacks ‘Taylor’ made to keep us thinking American all the way. To be honest, after the Pizza it was hard to Fillmore into our belly’s but I did Pierce the packet of a ‘twinkie’ – rude not to. 

Holden Acadia New Zealand

With the wind behind us we (Bu)chanan’ed along the road in relative convoy. The four Acadia’s looking more like a state visit, Linc(oln)ing up nose to tail. It (An)drew (Johnson) a lot of attention. ‘Grant’ed visibility along the way was often ‘Hayes’y but the sure-footed 4WD SUV kept us on the road and out of any (Gar)fields.
Ar(thur) procession continued on towards Whangamata and our lofty SUV dring position gave us a good view of the forestry (Cleve)land that covered the lower part of the Coromandel. Still not in a Harri(son), it was good to explore that part of New Zea(Cleve)land and I’m sure I Will(iam McKinley) head this way again soon.

We stopped at the Whangamata Surf club to stretch our legs and smell the Roose(velt)s 

The Seven-seater Acadia may be large but it’s also easy to manage, plus it’s inside where you really notice and appreciate the space. From the front to the (T)aft, you are cocooned in modern luxury. I Wil(son) point out that the ride is soo smooth, effortless, and in many ways Hard(ing) to beat. And four Acadia’s in a row looked Cool(idge). 

With time ticking on and the rain still coming down, we didn’t Ho(o)ver around too much, just one more smell of the Roose(velt)s and then we headed off towards Tauranga. I swear what I’m telling you is Tru-man. 

Accommodation for the night was to be at the Harbour City Motel. We were going to arrive late afternoon, there’d be time enough for an Eisen(s)hower to freshen up before heading out for dinner. 

Holden Acadia New Zealand

On a clear day, the drive from Whangamata to Tauranga is picturesque and often stunning. Commencing with beachside views that remind me of JF Kennedy Park in Auckland and include winding curves and long overtaking straights but with the cold long-John(son) wearing winter near full-bore, the dark cloud cover overhead and the Acadia’s rain-sensing wipers on full, we basically saw Nix(on).  However, I did see that we overtook some Ford’s and I even spotted an old ‘Sweeney’ style Classic Jaguar Carter and Reagan would be proud.

Holden Acadia New Zealand

Unfortunately, our booking at MorePork American BBQ for ribs and other American delights got a little mixed up and we had to move the party around the Bush to the Rye Bourbon bar – where we were going to end up anyway. The food was great but I’m glad I wasn’t the one picking up the Bill (Clinton). Finally getting back to the motel, bedtime, just as well, we were totally Bush’ed. 

Holden Acadia New Zealand

Next morning, up for breakfast at the local cafe (pancakes naturally) we began the long drive back towards Holden HQ, stopping for lunch at the Bald Eagle Diner in Mission Bay for burgers and fries first though.

Holden Acadia New Zealand

Ba(ra)ck (Obama) at Holden, it was time to thank our incredibly hospitable hosts. All in all the road trip was a great event. We certainly got to know more about the Holden Acadia’s capabilities, we’d loaded up fine American food and navigated some of NZ’s best-looking roads. For a 4th of July celebration, it would be hard to Trump.

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