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2013 GMC Acadia Performance

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Unlike GMC's traditional trucks and SUVs, the 2013 GMC Acadia doesn't leave a lot of room for powertrain choice. With a standard 288-horsepower V-6 and either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, the Acadia is strong enough for most family duty--with a smoother ride and better handling than those true trucks--but its heft is an ever-present part of the driving experience. 

The direct-injection V-6 is teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission, and altogether it accelerates strongly for passing and merging, although standing-start acceleration feels a little sluggish as it first must overcome its portly 5,000-pound curb weight. Factor in somewhat sluggish transmission behavior (even though it's smooth) and you won't be quickly squirting into traffic gaps.

The Acadia accelerates quickly enough, and it handles better than GMC's larger trucks, but it feels (and is) very heavy.

The Acadia's all-wheel drive system can send up to 65 percent of its power to the rear wheels. That can be useful in uphill takeoffs, when a bit of torque steer comes into play. It's also a good all-weather companion, and a good idea when towing anything near the The AWD system's also a good idea when towing anything near the Acadia's 5200-pound tow rating.

Provided quick takeoffs or bursts of power aren't needed, the Acadia does manage to feel a little smaller than it is--as well as surprisingly responsive and confident. That's mostly due to its four-wheel independent suspension layout and light, well-weighted power steering. Ride quality is well balanced, too, with new dual-flow damper shocks for 2013 further helping the ride-versus-handling tradeoff.

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