Performance » 7
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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
Better than expected acceleration
Doesn't fall anywhere near the fun-to-drive camp
More than enough for the type of driving you'll do 99 percent of the time
The Auto Channel
The 2008 GMC Acadia is no performance wonder, but the majority of reviews read by TheCarConnection.com indicate the 3.6-liter, 275-hp V-6 appears to be up to most transportation jobs.
ConsumerGuide and the New York Times both comment that in the Acadia, GMC’s engine provides 251 pound-feet of torque, and with its six-speed automatic transmission, it can tow up to 4,500 pounds when "properly equipped." The New York Times acknowledges that this is "a bit slower than some competitors," but also reports reasonably high mileage figures for this GMC; 2008’s Acadia gets 18 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive, or 17/24 mpg with all-wheel drive. The New York Times says this is equal to or better than smaller competitors like the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander.
Despite some complaints about the less-than-sporty performance, The Auto Channel says that in the Acadia, GMC’s power output is "more than enough for the type of driving you'll do 99 percent of the time." ConsumerGuide tells us that "all models offer better than expected acceleration both around town and on the highway, but front-drive Acadias are slightly quicker from a stop." The six-speed automatic transmission "shifts smoothly but is often caught in too high a gear" and suggests a "prod of the throttle" to facilitate downshifts--though it notes those downshift are sometimes slow to occur.
While praising the 2008 GMC Acadia's "smooth ride" and "above-average tow capacity," Edmunds also mentions that the "transmission can be slow to downshift" and suggests that it "is geared more for foul-weather driving than boulder-bashing." Edmunds says that "downshifts can be a bit lethargic unless prodded by a sharp throttle boot."
The Orlando Sentinel likes the feel of this GMC; 2008’s Acadia "rides very nicely even on rough pavement. Handling is on par with other vehicles on the same shopping list." Edmunds says, "it's easy and pleasant to drive, especially considering the vehicle's size and 4,700-pound curb weight." The Auto Channel says, "For a company whose reputation is in trucks, the Acadia's ride was surprisingly car-like and smooth." USAToday reports, “In addition to the taut suspension—too stiff, some might say—the extraordinarily well-balanced steering gets much of the credit.”
Edmunds recommends against the optional 19-inch wheels on the Acadia; GMC offers them, but they may "compromise the Acadia's otherwise comfortable ride quality, turning it into a somewhat jarring experience that many target buyers won't enjoy." However, Kelley Blue Book suggests that the "19-inch wheel and tire package...sharpens handling without sacrificing a comfortable ride."
TheCarConnection.com adds that the GMC 2008 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.
The 2008 GMC Acadia has adequate acceleration along with a pleasant ride and handling combination.