New & Used GMC Acadia: In Depth
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The GMC Acadia is the truck brand's minivan substitute. It's a member of a family of vehicles that includes the Buick Enclave and Chevy Traverse--and has included the Saturn Outlook in the past.The Acadia can seat up to eight passengers, but it's more accurately described as a crossover vehicle, since it offers all-wheel-drive as an option, and doesn't have sliding side doors. As such, it's a rival for vehicles that also come this close to being minivans--vehicles like the Ford Flex, Nissan Pathfinder, and Toyota Highlander.
MORE: Read our full review of the 2015 GMC Acadia
The Acadia has been on the market since the 2007 model year. The big Acadia replaced three vehicles sold by both the GMC and Pontiac brands: the GMC Envoy, the Envoy XL and the Pontiac Montana SV6 minivan. It was the first unibody vehicle from GMC, as well as its first front-wheel-drive model.
As it did at launch, the big GMC crossover still gets power from a 288-horsepower, direct-injected 3.6-liter V-6 and a six-speed automatic transmission. Most of its rivals, such as the Mazda CX-9, Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander, start several thousand dollars below this price point, but are less powerful and can't match the Acadia's 5,200-pound towing capacity. The EPA rates the most efficient model, the front-wheel-drive Acadia, at 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.
The Acadia can be ordered with all-wheel drive, but since there’s no two-speed transfer case or four-wheel-drive low range, there really isn't much off-road capability.
The Acadia has a practical layout that sits somewhere between a minivan and a GMC Yukon. It can fit either seven or eight passengers in three rows of seats, depending on whether a bench or a pair of captain's chairs are selected for the second row. The third row is actually useful, and even when it's being used the Acadia offers 20 cubic feet of storage space behind. With all of the seats folded, the space expands to 115 cubic feet.
The Acadia comes in four trim levels: SL, SLE, SLT and Denali. Standard features for all models include cruise control, full power accessories, front and rear air conditioning, and a full array of airbags. Options include 20-inch chrome wheels, unique roof racks and an iPod/USB port located in the bin atop the center air vents. The Denali doesn't get a distinct drivetrain, but it does receive new grille and bumpers, HID headlamps, 20-inch wheels, tri-zone climate control, DVD navigation with real-time traffic, Bluetooth connectivity, leather trim and heated and ventilated front seats.
The 2012 Acadia got two new colors and an accessory power outlet on the console plus new blind-spot mirrors. The Denali version also added hill-hold technology and brake override of the accelerator pedal.
For the 2013 model year, the Acadia at last got a more extensive refresh, including a completely new three-slot grille and front-end design, new LED running lamps, new taillamps, and a new rear spoiler, plus an upgraded interior with more soft-touch surfaces plus French stitching and ambient lighting. Denali models became even more luxurious, with a new power steering-column adjustment and power front passenger seat. Powertrains carried over, although GM did retune the transmission controls for smoothness.
Also in the same year, infotainment offerings were refreshed to include Color Touch Radio systems with HD Radio, satellite radio, and touchscreens. GMC also fitted a new suite of active-safety options plus a standard front-center airbag system.
The Acadia has been carried over through the 2015 model year only lightly updated; a new model is expected for the 2016 model year.