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'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.