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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
A new 3.6-liter V6 with direct injection that makes 288 hp and 270 pound-feet of torque
Better than expected acceleration
More than enough for the type of driving you'll do 99 percent of the time
The Auto Channel
GMC has introduced a new engine for 2009 that bumps up the power output with only a minor hit to fuel economy. Other than the new powerplant, the 2009 GMC Acadia is still the same pleasant and capable crossover, at least performance-wise, found on dealer lots last year.
The new powerplant on the 2009 GMC Acadia, which Edmunds says is a "3.6-liter V6 with direct injection that makes 288 hp and 270 pound-feet of torque, spread over a broad rpm range," is a welcome addition to the GMC Acadia. Consumer Guide is impressed by the engine's power, noting that "the Acadia offers better than expected acceleration both around town and on the highway." MyRide.com testers also love the V-6 under the GMC Acadia's hood, finding that it "is certainly willing, with smooth power delivery and even a good growl as the revs rise," and reporting that they "couldn't be happier" that this is GM's "new corporate V-6." This power also provides for a towing capacity that, "at 4,500 pounds when properly equipped, should be enough for most folks," according to reviewers at Edmunds.
The GMC Acadia's transmission rates fairly well, though reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show that it's not quite as stellar. Edmunds says that the GMC Acadia "can be had with either front-wheel drive or AWD" that is "matched to a six-speed automatic transmission." MyRide.com reports that the "transmission is mostly a willing partner," and "its six speeds usually swap quickly, although we did notice some upshift jerkiness at full throttle and the occasional downshift hesitation." ConsumerGuide reviewers add that "the transmission shifts smoothly but is often caught in too high a gear" and "a prod of the throttle sometimes results in slow downshifts for passing power."
The large, heavy GMC Acadia isn't as thrifty as you might hope for a crossover, but it won't shock the environmentally conscious either. According to the official EPA estimates, the 2009 GMC Acadia should return 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway in all-wheel-drive versions, while the front-wheel-drive models get 1 mpg better in each.
The 2009 GMC Acadia does well with reviewers in other areas like handling and braking. Consumer Guide says that the vehicle is also "impressively stable and agile" but "difficult to maneuver in tight spaces due to its long, wide body." Edmunds mentions that the GMC Acadia is "easy and pleasant to drive, especially considering the vehicle's size and 4,700-pound curb weight," and USA Today credits the "extraordinarily well-balanced steering." In terms of stopping characteristics, MyRide.com comments that there is "minimal dive...under braking."
It's no enthusiast vehicle, but the 2009 GMC Acadia is punchy enough to keep you from falling asleep.