Test Drive: 2013 GMC Acadia Denali Review

Jerry Reynolds | May 30, 2013
Test Drive: 2013 GMC Acadia Denali Review

I reviewed the GMC Acadia first in 2007, then the Denali version when it debuted in 2010. Now comes the freshened 2013 GMC Acadia Denali, and I have to admit I was excited to drive it. Since the four GM sister crossovers came out in 2006 on the Lambda platform, the basic underpinnings have not changed. We lost the Saturn Outlook during the GM bankruptcy, but since their debut over 1,000,000 of these SUVs have been sold.

For 2013, the Acadia Denali sports a new and bolder front end and a much nicer interior than just a few years ago. My tester is the all-wheel drive version and still has the 288-horse 3.6-liter six cylinder, and a six-speed automatic transmission. I am getting the stated mileage without trying very hard at all.

When you see the Acadia from a distance, it is an optical illusion. The closer you get, the bigger it appears. The Acadia Denali sports 20” wheels that are really good looking, front fog lights, fender flares, and exhaust tips that flow through the rear bumper. It is a vehicle that women will love, and even the manliest of men will be proud.

Open any door and you really see how large an SUV the Acadia is. Denali comes standard with second row captain chairs and in front, four good-sized passengers will be able to stretch and be very comfortable. Even the third row occupants will have more room than you find in most SUVs in this class. My favorite part, however, is that even with the third row seat, there is a large amount of cargo area in back. If you have shopped third row SUVs smaller than a Suburban, this is rare. With all the seats folded down, you get a whopping 116.1 cubic-feet of cargo area.

I always think of Acadia as the sporty of the three remaining GM sister SUVs, but I would put the interior of the Acadia Denali up against any luxury SUV out there. The Cocoa Dune colored interior is rich looking and comfortable. The earth tone brown interior is the only color available, but I can’t imagine anyone would not love it. Stitching abounds on the seats and dash, the leather and mahogany steering wheel is terrific, and aluminum front sill plates are the cherry on top of the cake. The operation of the second row seats to allow access to the third row seat is easy to operate and it opens up a ton of room for ease of entry.

Standard notable features include power sunroof, dual power front seats that are heated and air conditioned, remote start, rearview camera, power liftgate, leather interior, Bose Premium sound system, and a heads-up display that puts information up on your windshield so you can watch the road.

My review vehicle only has two options at an extra charge; the navigation system and rear seat entertainment system come together at an excellent price of $2240, and this one has the White Diamond Tricoat paint at a charge of $995.

The center stack is useful and adds a bit of flair to the interior design. The color screen that runs everything, including the navigation system is vibrant and easy to operate.

Acadia Denali rides and handles GREAT. It is surprising actually that an SUV of this size can handle as well as it does. Steering is loose in tight spaces, but enjoyable going down the highway.

There has not been huge changes since the first Acadia I ever drove, but after driving one again, there was no reason to change much.

What I liked best: The interior, room inside, and exterior changes.

What I would change: Would like to see a little better fuel economy highway.

MSRP: $47,945 base price on the all-wheel drive, $52,075 as equipped.

Fuel Economy: 16 City/23 Highway

Warranty: 5 year/100,000 mile warranty, roadside assistance, and loaner vehicles.

2013 Acadia Denali in a few words: Great luxury SUV, a proven winner.

Tags: 2013, gmc, acadia, denali
Jerry .
Rod, I like the MKC a lot and the 2.0 has PLENTY of power, the 2.0 Ecoboost is a great engine. I like Acadia, but Terrain is more the size of the MKC.

If I have dealers in your market, they’ll take great care of you. Just look under Certified Dealers at www.carprousa.com

Thanks for listening to the show.

Jerry Reynolds, President
Car Pro Radio Network
Rod R.
Trying to decide between the Lincoln MKC or the GMC Acadia LT2.

Also, is the 2.0 ecoboost sufficient for the MKC AWD or does the vehicle really need the 2.3 ecoboost engine?

Thank you