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Saturday 3 December 2016
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Test Drive: 2017 GMC Acadia Denali Review

Test Drive: 2017 GMC Acadia Denali Review

This week I am reviewing the all-new 2017 GMC Acadia. 

For a lot of years, Acadia was one of three GM sister SUVs, starting with the Chevy Traverse, then you went to the Acadia, and if you wanted the luxury version, it was the Buick Enclave.  Now for 2017, the GMC Acadia breaks away from the pack.

 

The major change for 2017 is the Acadia got downsized.  It is a full 7-inches shorter, it got narrower, shorter in height, and it shed 700 pounds.  Of course, all that was to make it more fuel-efficient, and more nimble.  The old Acadia was quite large and the 2017 is more in line with the size of Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, and Honda Pilot.

Under the hood is the tried and true 3.6-liter V6 putting out 310-horses.  You can also get a 2.5-liter 4 cylinder, but truthfully, the combined fuel economy mileage is not that much better.  With both engines, you get a 6-speed automatic.

You can see from the exterior that although smaller, Acadia still has that GMC Professional Grade look.  It has the distinctive GMC grill, wraparound headlights, and this one has the 20” alloy wheels.

My test vehicle is the top-of-the-line Denali version, and it has all-wheel drive.

Moving inside the Acadia, you see a very nice interior with soft materials all around and a lot of stitching, which GM does a great job on.  The gauges are well laid out. There is a driver information center in the middle, which gives you all sorts of information.  It operates from the steering wheel controls.

In the center of the dash is an 8-inch color touchscreen that houses all the apps, operates the sound system, navigation system, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android operating system, and you can activate the 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.

Below the touchscreen are the air conditioning controls that GMC made really simple to operate, which I love, by the way.  Below the gear shifter in the center console is the mode select knob for the all-wheel drive system, and it has settings for different drive surfaces.

This Acadia Denali has the second-row captain chairs and a very roomy second row seat.  In the downsizing of 2017, the 3rd row seat room is reduced to pretty much just for kids, and it lost a good amount of room behind the 3rd row seat.  Putting the 2nd row seat down is simple, just by pulling a lever on the left side.  All seats fold flat for cargo area, and with 2nd and 3rd row seats down, you get 79-cubic feet of cargo room.

This version comes very nicely equipped with standard features such as pushbutton and remote start, front and rear parking assist, driver alert package that vibrates the seat if you stray out of your lane, or if the Acadia senses a frontal collision.  It also comes with low-speed automatic braking, blind spot monitoring, rearview camera, power lift gate, heated and cooled seats, power tilt and heated steering wheel, and a Bose stereo system.

I want to point out one standard feature that sets this SUV apart from any I have ever driven, and it is called a rear seat reminder.  If you open either of the back passenger doors, the next time you turn the vehicle off, a chime sounds and a warning flashes on the dash to check the back seat.  This of course is primarily to keep people from leaving a child in the back seat by accident, which happens way too much in America.  This is a great first step to eliminate this problem and I expect other automakers to offer something similar soon.

Options on this SUV total $4400. For that amount, you get a dual sunroof, the technology package which includes adaptive cruise control and full-speed automatic braking.  It also has continuously variable damping which reads the road and adjusts the chassis every two milliseconds to maintain an optimal balance of ride and handling.

One noticeable improvement for me in this new model is the greatly improved interior quality and quietness.

I’ve always liked the Acadia, and I like the downsizing they did with the 2017.  Besides good EPA ratings of 18-city and 25-highway, it is easier to drive, park, and make a U-turn in.  Acadia utilizes cylinder deactivation to cut it down to 4-cylinders when at highway speeds.  It offers 4000 pounds of towing with the 6-cylinder, about 1000 pounds less than most midsize SUVs, but still adequate for the majority of people.  

MSRP is just over $52,200, which is on the high side of most midsize SUVs, but odds are good that once all the 2016s are gone, there will be aggressive factory incentives.

  • What I liked most:  The new size, most of all the back seat reminder system.
  • What I would change:  Would like to see more towing capacity.
  • MSRP:  Base price $47,845. As equipped $52,285.
  • Fuel Economy:  Rated at 18 City/25 highway/20 combined.
  • Odometer reading when tested: 355 miles.
  • Weight: 3956 Pounds.
  • Length-Width-Height:  193.6” long/75.4” wide/68.7” High.
  • Fuel Tank Capacity:  22 gallons with the filler on the driver’s side.
  • Towing Capacity:  4000 Pounds.
  • 2017 Acadia in a few words:  Great updates to an already terrific SUV.
  • Warranty:  3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain coverage with roadside assistance and two maintenance visits.
  • Final Assembly Location: Spring Hill, Tennessee.
  • Manufacturers website: GMC
Photo Credit: GMC