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SAFETY | 9 out of 10
'Good,' all categories
Five stars, overall; four stars, rollover resistance
compromised outward visibility
Acadia's high belt line in back makes backing up tricky.
The GMC Acadia is one of the safest family vehicles you can buy, and as a Denali, it gets even more active safety technology than it had just last year.
The Acadia has performed extremely well in both the federal and insurance-industry safety tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives it an overall rating of five stars, with five stars for frontal impact and five stars for side impact. It's very nearly perfect in our estimation, with only a four-star rating for rollover resistance keeping it from a perfect score.
It's been given "good" scores in all tests performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), with top ratings in all categories, including the roof strength test. However, since there's been no small-overlap test--a crash that simulates running into a telephone pole or similarly sized offset--the Acadia isn't eligible for the IIHS' Top Safety Pick awards.
The Acadia's robust list of standard features such as anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control; front-seat side airbags, and curtain bags that reach to the third-row seat. OnStar, GM's telematics system, is included with six months of Directions and Connections service.
A rearview camera system is standard, too, and it's useful. Shorter drivers will come to rely on its output, since the tall Acadia can be a challenge to park and back up.
Last year, GMC fitted a new front-center airbag in the Acadia; it deploys forward from the right side of the driver's seat, helping to prevent injuries in side-impact crashes--especially when multiple occupants are in the vehicle. Blind-spot monitors with cross-traffic alerts were also added. This year, the Acadia Denali gets forward-collision alert and lane-departure warning systems as standard equipment; they're an option on SLT-1 and SLT-2 Acadias.
With a front-center airbag and excellent crash-test scores, the GMC Acadia is one of the safest vehicles you can buy.