The 2016 GMC Acadia comes in one flavor, with a solid combination of a big V-6, an automatic transmission, and front- or all-wheel drive.
With a smooth ride and controlled handling, the Acadia manages 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 dual-flow damper shocks that provide a good balance of ride and handling.
The standard 3.6-liter V-6 is strong enough for its displacement, at 288 horsepower, but it's up against a substantial curb weight even before you add all-wheel drive to the mix. Those 5,000 pounds are an ever-present part of the driving experience, making passing response less than ideal, and causing the Acadia to struggle to get up to speed with a full load of people and cargo.
GM's 6-speed automatic does a good job of coping. It shifts smoothly, but can occasionally dither when selecting gears. You won't be squirting between tractor-trailers, but the Acadia accelerates strongly with a light load.
If you need it, 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 Acadia's 5,200-pound tow rating.