The GMC Acadia Denali is a full-size luxury crossover that can seat up to eight passengers. Identical under the skin to the regular Acadia, the Acadia Denali rides on the same Lambda platform as the Chevrolet Traverse and the Buick Enclave. It stretches 200.8 inches long, 78.9 inches wide and 70.4 inches tall.
The Acadia Denali stands out from regular Acadia models thanks to high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps, model-specific trim and badging, chromed exhaust tips, 20-inch machined aluminum wheels and a bespoke two-slat grille with honeycomb inserts. Chromed door handles, a wide tinted rear window that wraps around the D-pillar and a discreet trunk-mounted spoiler help give it a more dynamic look than its Chevrolet- and Buick-badged siblings.
A well-trained eye can make the connection between the Acadia Denali and the aforementioned Traverse by merely glancing at the dashboard but perforated leather seats that are both heated and cooled, a leather-upholstered steering wheel with mahogany inserts, aluminum trim and red ambient light work together to create an upmarket feel in the cabin. Road noise is reduced thanks to an exclusive acoustic package.
Clearly designed with families in mind, the Acadia Denali boasts two USB ports in the center console that lets second-row passengers charge electronic devices on the go. Access to the third row of seats is facilitated by GM's Smart Slide system which slides the second row forward and out of the way with the simple pull of a handle. Smart Slide can also be used to move the second-row seats forward or backwards in order to increase legroom or cargo capacity.
With the third row removed and the second row stowed away cleanly, the Acadia Denali can swallow 48-inch wide pieces of drywall or plywood.
The crossover comes standard with a dash-mounted 6.5-inch touch screen that runs GMC's Color Touch entertainment system. Paired with the voice-controlled Intellilink software, Color Touch integrates the car's connectivity, entertainment and navigation functions into a single bundle. Passengers can download apps such as Pandora and Stitcher SmartRadio, check the weather or make hands-free calls.
Under the hood
The Acadia Denali is exclusively offered with an all-aluminum 3.6-liter V6 that boasts variable valve timing and direct injection. Rated at 288 horsepower and 270 lb-ft. of torque, the mill sends power to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission while enabling the crossover to tow up to 5,200 pounds. Fuel economy is rated at 24 mpg on the highway and 17 mpg in the city.
The optional all-wheel drive system increases fuel consumption to 23 mpg on the highway and 16 mpg on the highway.
Standard and optional equipment
Better-equipped than even the range-topping Acadia SLT-2, the Denali comes standard with a power liftgate, OnStar 4G with LTE and a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, heated power-adjustable mirrors with integrated turn signals, a tri-zone automatic climate control system, a heated steering wheel upholstered in leather, a heads-up display, a remote start function, eight-way power adjustable front passenger seat and a SkyScape two-panel sunroof.
The list of options is relatively short and includes a rear-seat entertainment system with a DVD player, a remote control an overhead display and a surround sound system.
In addition to front, side and curtain airbags, the Acadia Denali come with the industry's first center airbag. It is mounted on the right side of the driver's seat back and it deploys in between the two front seats in order to keeps passengers from hitting each other in the event of a crash.
A tire pressure monitoring system, Stabilitrak electronic stability control, Forward Collision Alert, Side Blind Zone Alert, Cross Traffic Alert and a Lane Departure Warning System come standard.
In addition to the Buick Enclave, the Acadia's main rivals include fully-loaded variants of the Dodge Durango, the Honda Pilot and the Hyundai Santa Fe. Buyers can also look at the less truck-like Ford Flex.