The Kluger remains a solid proposition but in connectivity and convenience terms, it’s showing its age. If you want the feeling of luxury and the most plush car to drive, the CX-9 is for you. If you want the biggest, most powerful and most practical box on wheels, get the Acadia. two adults with the second row moved forward a notch. However, the Acadia is primarily designed for left-hand drive, so the seat behind the driver flips over easier and with a larger gap to clamber into the rear — on the safer, footpath side you need to shift the heavier and larger two-thirds of the second row.
At least there’ll be no arguments when charging devices: the front seats have two USB ports and one 12V socket, the middle row has two USB ports, and the third row has one USB and one 12V. There’s also a large drawer under the centre console to stash oddments.
There is a sunroof each for the front and middle rows and leather for all seats, with heating, cooling and power adjustment for the front pair.
All three vehicles have a sensor key with push-button start but the Acadia can be unlocked by pulling on any of the four doors, not just the front two.
There’s a large digital speed display in the instrument cluster and the high resolution touchscreen is home to Apple CarPlay/ Android Auto, digital radio, built-in navigation and the sharpest 360-degree camera view among the trio.
All Acadias come with a towbar and a sevenpin plug — just add the neck and ball. However, as with the others, it can haul only 2000kg.
The space-saver spare may enable more cargo space but it’s a chore to get to it and, being a low-profile type, it’s more precarious to drive on than other temporary tyres.
The nine-speed auto is intuitive and the V6 is gutsy, if a little noisy.
The steering is lighter than the others and, though requiring more turns lock to lock, it turns with impressive accuracy.
There’s plenty of tyre grip but the suspension feels taut rather than plush. The brakes are the smallest of this trio and have the longest pedal travel. PRICE $68,990 drive-away
3 years/100,000km, $1080 over 3 years
ENGINE 3.5-litre V6, 218kW/350Nm
SAFETY 7 airbags, AEB, radar cruise control, 360-degree camera, rear cross traffic alert, blind zone warning, lane keeping assistance
BOOT 269L-1872L PRICE $68,190 drive-away
5 years/100,000km, $1596 over 3 years
ENGINE 2.5-litre 4-cyl turbo, 170kW/420Nm
SAFETY 6 airbags, AEB front and rear, radar cruise control, 360-degree camera, rear crosstraffic alert, blind zone warning, lane keeping assistance, speed sign recognition