TheCarConnection.com’s editors read the latest reviews on the new 2008 GMC Acadia to write this comprehensive review. Experts from TheCarConnection.com also drove the GMC Acadia and have included opinions and details where they aid you in choosing the perfect new crossover vehicle.
Technically, the 2008 GMC Acadia is a crossover, meaning it's built on a passenger-car chassis (this one is front-wheel drive but also offers optional all-wheel drive). However, unlike the Ford Edge that can trace its lineage back to the Mazda6 sedan, there is no car in the General Motors family tree that shares anything significant with the Acadia, so is it really a crossover? Heck, it really doesn't matter what you call it. All that matters is how it drives and looks. First, you'll notice it rides closer to the ground than a truck-based SUV. And its interior isn't crimped up by a huge driveshaft tunnel rising up like a mountain range between the seats, eating up the available real estate. You'll also notice there's no truck-style solid rear axle, no two-speed transfer case, or four-wheel-drive Low range, and as a result, not much in the way of off-road ability. But that's OK because the Acadia's not meant to tackle rutted backwoods roads. Instead of unused off-road capability, the Acadia offers everyday drivability to buyers.
What makes the 2008 GMC Acadia particularly swell is the plus-size accommodations. It's huge inside, with a standard third row and room for seven to eight people (depending on the configuration). The third row's a real third row, too, not there only for advertising purposes. There's almost 20 cubic feet of additional storage space behind the third row, plus maximum towing capacity is 4,500 pounds.
The 2008 GMC Acadia comes with a single powertrain, a healthy 275-horsepower V-6, and standard six-speed automatic transmission. Acceleration is good, but the transmission sometimes hunts for the right gear and jostles the Acadia's occupants in the process. While EPA estimates give hope for 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway for all-wheel-drive models, based on our experience at TheCarConnection.com, those numbers are optimistic.
Ride and handling are both much improved over even GM's truck-based SUVs, the current handling champs. And the GMC Acadia's optional AWD system (which can transmit as much as 65 percent of engine power to the rear wheels as necessary) is more than sufficient for dealing with the handful of snow days most of us face each year. Base 2008 GMC Acadia models come with 18-inch rims, front and rear A/C, stability control, full-row curtain airbags, and GM's OnStar concierge system with "turn-by-turn" navigation assistance. Higher-end models offer or can be ordered with all the niceties, from a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound stereo to three-zone climate control, a power rear liftgate, a head-up display (HUD), GPS, a two-panel sunroof, and backseat DVD entertainment system. A 19-inch wheel/tire package is available and looks sharp, but be sure you test drive a model so equipped before you buy, as the ride quality suffers a bit.
- Easier to live with than full-size SUV
- Luxurious interior
- Lots of standard features
- Clever options (heated windshield washers!)
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- Transmission “hunts”
- Disappointing fuel mileage
- Weight—4,900 pounds
- 19-inch wheels