GMC’s Acadia has been freshened with a refined interior and a bold, new nose that gives it a buffed-up, big-truck face highlighted by LED lights.
By TOM STRONGMAN
The Acadia shares its platform with the Chevy Traverse and Buick Enclave. Each has a distinctive exterior and individual interior, but they are mechanically similar underneath. The Acadia’s wide track and big wheels give it a secure, solid stance that is muscular without being overstated.
The Acadia is available in front-wheel or all-wheel drive. The unibody platform differs from its truck-based Yukon sibling in that it is about 800 pounds lighter and a couple of inches shorter, yet it has more interior room. Fuel economy is rated at 17 miles per gallon in the city and 24 on the highway for front-wheel drive, where the Yukon is rated at 15 in the city and 21 on the highway.
Prices begin at $34,050 and top out at $47,945 for an all-wheel-drive Denali, the most luxurious version. The test vehicle was a front-wheel-drive SLT-1 from GM’s press fleet, and it had a sticker price of $45,165.
The upright driving position is more comfortable than that of many sedans. Despite the vehicle’s SUV height, step-in height is moderate for the front and rear seats.
The refined cabin feels more luxurious than the previous version. The new instrument panel has tight-fitting seams, a nice variety of textures and bright, red-trimmed gauges. French stitching on the instrument panel and seats adds what GMC calls a “tailored look.” Brushed aluminum trim around the touch screen on the center stack has a softer, more elegant look than before. The revised climate control layout is easier to use.
The direct-injection, 3.6-liter V-6 has dual overhead cams and variable valve timing. It delivers 288 horsepower with good low-speed throttle response and drivability. The transmission is a six-speed automatic. Maximum towing is 5,200 pounds.
The optional all-wheel-drive system engages the rear wheels for traction when conditions require. Those of us who live in the northern part of the country will find all-wheel drive more appealing than front-wheel drive.
The Acadia is bigger inside than it looks, due in part to its 118.9-inch wheelbase that is almost as long as that of a minivan. The tilt and telescoping steering wheel makes it easy for a driver of any size to get comfortable, and the fingertip controls allow the driver to operate many functions without removing hands from the wheel. The center console has a power outlet and a removable tray so both large and small items will fit inside.
The Acadia has three rows of seats that can hold seven or eight people, depending on whether the second-row seats are captain’s chairs or a bench. It’s important for a seven-passenger utility vehicle to have plenty of third-row legroom, and it is imperative that access into the third seat is easy. The Acadia makes that simple with second-row captain’s chairs that fold and slide forward. Being stuck in the third row is no penalty, even for adults. The downside to the sliding second seat is that it requires tracks in the floor where passengers put their feet.
The third row of seats folds into the floor, and the second row folds forward. With all seats folded, the Acadia has 117 cubic feet of cargo space, and that’s more than a Yukon.
Standard safety features include anti-lock brakes, vehicle stability control and front, side and side-curtain airbags.
The base price of the front-wheel-drive test vehicle was $39,780. Options included touch-screen navigation with backup camera, rear-seat entertainment system, dual sunroofs, tow package and metallic paint. The sticker price was $45,165.
Three years or 36,000 miles and five years, 100,000 miles for the powertrain.
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