Danielle Villeneuve

Exceptional: 2017 GMC Acadia Denali

Believe it or not, the GMC Acadia has been around for almost a decade. During this time it only received one redesign in 2013. Although it did not get much coverage from our team at the 2016 North American International Auto Show, GMC unveiled a completely reimagined Acadia last winter. It’s refreshing to see so much change. The Acadia has consistently maintained a presence on the road, but with its makeover, it’s on its way to a resurgence in popularity.

The exterior design has been refined to be more luxurious and less truck-like but still retains some of its GMC cues; the squared off and flared wheel arches and chrome-trimmed grill are design features you find across all their models. The Acadia’s grille has been redesigned and fitted with wraparound HID headlamps and C-shape rear lighting. For the Denali trim level, there’s integrated chrome side trim, chrome lower rear fascia, chrome door handles and different wheels.

Inside the new Acadia, it feels more of premium quality than luxury. It’s difficult to take the “truck” out of a truck brand. Our Denali came with upgraded wood trim and piping for the seats. The interior is simple with a straightforward infotainment system. The menus are easy to navigate with minimal clutter; it’s also equipped with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Much of the interior set up is similar to the current Sierra.

The overall ride quality of the Acadia Denali is unbelievably good, especially with its exclusive Continuously Variable Ride Control. It uses sensors to monitor and automatically change the suspension to provide a smoother and controlled ride. While behind the wheel, it feels more like a car than a SUV. Its easy to maneuver and handles well given its size and weight. Depending on trim level, the Acadia is equipped with either a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (193 hp, 188 lb-ft torque) or a 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine which produces 310 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque. Our tester was equipped with the latter. Some SUVs in this segment feel underpowered, but the Acadia’s V6 offers plenty of power and pull.

The all new Acadia has stolen the spotlight away from the typical top performers. Its 700 pound weight loss and 7.2 inch decrease in length have made the Acadia more appealing in the SUV market. It may have lost some passenger and cargo space but makes up for it with fuel economy, maneuverability and style.

-Danielle Assenheimer

2017 GMC Acadia AWD Denali
Iridium Metallic $395
Technology Package $1,395
Chassis Continuously Variable Real Time Damping $1,200
Dual SkyScape 2-panel Power Sunroof $1,400
Destination Charges $925
As Tested MSRP $52,385

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