GMC has updated its Acadia crossover, the brand's first, for the latest model year. The exterior gets new accents, including a bolder grille that's the quickest way to distinguish the new car from older ones. Otherwise making the vehicle more visible are LED running lamps and projector headlights, especially at night. Otherwise, there are chromed doorhandles, rear glass that now wraps around the D-pillar, and a new rear spoiler.
The 18- and 19-inch wheels have also been redesigned to match the freshened up exterior. The Acadia is one of the few vehicles out there that has larger rear rotors, at 13 inchers, than the fronts (12.8 inches).
The sole engine option is a 3.6-liter all-aluminum V6 with variable valve timing and direct injection. It's good for 288 horsepower at 6,300RPM along with 270lb-ft at 3,400RPM on regular gas. It's paired only with a six-speed automatic, with front-wheel drive models getting 24MPG on the highway and 17MPG in the city from EPA estimates. All-wheel drive is available, though preliminary EPA numbers fall to 23 and 16, respectively. Not surprising, and maybe even downright impressive, considering the vehicle's 4,656lbs curb weight (or 4,850lbs for the AWD model). GMC says it reprogrammed the transmission for quicker and more consistent shift action to improve feel. Maximum towing capability sits at 5,200lbs for all models.
The crossover can seat seven or eight depending on the seating configuration buyers select.
The Acadia can be had in four trims, with SLE1, SLE2, SLT1, and SLT2 designations available. All have GM's SmartSlide seating system that allows quick and easy access to the third row of seats. Second- and third-row seats fold flat for better cargo space. Once folded, the crossover can carry 48-inch wide sheets of plywood or drywall. SLE2 and SLT trims get a powered liftgate. SLT2 variants sport body-color outside mirrors with integrated turn signal indicators, while all are heated, power-adjustable, power-folding mirrors with driver-side auto-dimming.
The Acadia sports the industry's first center airbag that keeps passengers from hitting one another during a crash. It is optional, and is mounted in the right side of the driver's seatback.
All Acadias get a hill-hold feature that will apply the brakes for 1.5 seconds after the driver takes his foot off the brake when the vehicle is stopped on inclines of 5 percent or greater. An electronic pedal override reduces engine power when the systems detect both accelerator and brake pedals are applied.
A rearview camera, tire pressure monitoring system, StabiliTrak dynamic stability control system, and ABS brakes are standard fare on the crossover.
The interior has been upgraded with soft-touch materials with French stitching and a red ambient light across the dashboard. GMC's Color Touch Radio with touch-screen control is standard in the Acadia, with the IntelliLink wireless device system optional.
A tri-zone automatic climate control system is standard in SLT trims. For kids, a rear-seat entertainment system is offered on SLT and SLE2 models. It has a USB port and DVD player with 10 speakers, two sets of wireless headphones, and Bose 5.1 surround sound.
New interior color combinations include Cashmere, Cocoa Dune and Light Titanium.
GM's own Traverse and Enclave that are the Acadia's mechanical twins will do battle in the showrooms with this crossover. Ford's Explorer will also enter buyer's minds, while Hyundai's upcoming three-row Santa Fe and will also lure them. Toyota's Venza may also be considered.
Four trim levels exist, and all are powered by a 3.6-liter V6 with Variable Valve Timing (VVT)that makes 288 horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 270 lb-ft at 3,200 rpm and shifts through a six-speed automatic transmission. Front wheel-drive is standard, while all-wheel-drive is optional for those seeking extra foul-weather traction. With the former, the EPA estimates the Acadia will return 17 miles to the gallon in the city, while 24 miles will be covered for every gallon of gasoline burned on the highway. The all-wheel-drive models return 16 / 22 mpg respective numbers.
The base trim level is known as the SL, and features XM Radio with 3-month trial, AM/FM stereo with MP3-compatible CD player, frontal and side-impact air bags for driver and front passenger, head curtain side-impact air bags for all rows in outboard seating positions, 8-passenger seating with 60/40 split folding second-row, OnStar with six months of the Directions and Connections Plan, StabiliTrak with traction control, Remote Keyless Entry, Power windows with driver Express-down, double-dual exhaust with chrome tips, theft-deterrent system with PASS-Key, tire Pressure Monitoring System and 18-inch painted aluminum wheels.
The SLE trim has all the standard features of the SL, with the addition of Bluetooth for Phone, Remote vehicle start, Power rear liftgate, Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, halogen fog lamps, rearview auto-dimming mirror, available audio system with rear seat DVD entertainment, Body color bodyside molding, Rearview camera, 8-way driver power seat and a 2-way front passenger power seat.
The next trim up the ladder, the SLT1, adds to or replaces the SLE's features with 7-passenger seating thanks to bucket seats in the second row, body-color, foldaway, power adjustable, heated outside rearview mirrors with integrated turn signals, bright belt-line molding, AM/FM stereo with MP3-compatible in-dash six-disc CD player and Bose premium 10-speaker system with subwoofer, driver information center, heated and power adjustable front seats, tri-zone automatic climate control and a universal home remote, as the major standard features.
The range-topping SLT2 trim throws in a cargo package (cargo shade and cargo net), a convenience package (remote start and Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist), which are both options on the lesser two trims, driver and passenger express up and down power windows, 3-prong household- style, 115-volt power outlet, power rear liftgate, washer nozzles and heated windshield, as well as power adjustable and folding, heated outside rearview mirrors with integrated mirrors with driver's side auto-dimming and memory.
The Acadia offers various options and packages, such as a rear-seat entertainment system, 19-inch ultrabright aluminum wheels, heads-up display, the aforementioned Convenience package, touchscreen navigation radio and power liftgate, among less substantial ones. Heck, even heated windshield washer fluid can be requested.
The Acadia's main rivals include the Dodge Durango, Honda Pilot and Hyundai Veracruz, while similarly commodious yet less truck-like models like the Ford Flex and Toyota Venza also merit consideration.