HOW’S THE RIDE
The Acadia Denali I tested featured a 3.6-liter, V6 engine and a 6-speed automatic transmission. Numbers were 310 horsepower and 271 lb.-ft. of torque.
Another option on lower trim levels is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine offering 193 horsepower and 188 lb.-ft. of torque.
All-wheel drive is offered, but front-wheel drive is standard. An optional trailer package allows you to pull up to 4000 pounds.
In my time with the Acadia, I found the drive to be comfortable and responsive, with limited road noise. It’s not the fastest in class from a stop, but has impressive power once you are moving. I can also say that you don’t feel like you are driving a large vehicle, with an almost car-like drive feel at times due to a lower weight total than many of its competitors. It’s more maneuverable than others in the class.
One are where the GMC Acadia shines, to no one’s surprise, is the technology and safety department.
First, let’s start front and center -- with its impressive and easy to use GMC infotainment system. Navigation worked well, and voice commands were responsive for music, phone navigation and POIs. Buttons and dials throughout the vehicle are well-placed so anyone can figure the controls very quickly.
Other features include: Heated steering wheel, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility for phone mirroring on the 8-inch center touchscreen; Bose Premium 8-speaker audio system; 3 months of satellite radio; OnStar services and a 4G wireless hotspot offered.
Lots of safety and tech features are offered, another key with a family vehicle like this.
You get a full array of air bags; Anti-lock 4 wheel disc brakes; Keyless entry and start and remote start, and near-perfect government safety ratings. The very helpful Teen Driver feature lets you monitor your kids and how they are driving.
Safety features offered include: Front and rear parking assist; Following distance indicator; Rear cross traffic alert; Lane keep assist with lane departure warning; Low speed forward auto braking; Lane change alert with side blind zone alert; Front pedestrian braking.
Official numbers on fuel mileage in the AWD version of the Acadia are 17 city/25 highway/20 combined; I averaged 20.5 mpg during my time in the vehicle, so the numbers seem to check out.
But how is it compared to other three-row SUVs in the segment? Mostly this is a good area for the Acadia. It performs better than the VW Atlas and Ford Explorer; is on the same level as fellow GM vehicle Chevy Traverse; but is slightly behind Pilot and Highlander in final mpg numbers, though not by much.
My top level Denali test vehicle came in just over $50,000. This is a bit high in my view, even with the Denali setup. Base price starts just under $33K, but offers the more basic engine. You do get a five-year, 60K powertrain warranty on all new GMC Acadia vehicles.
If you want a high-end midsize SUV without going full luxury, the Acadia Denali delivers. If you don't needs the fancy looks and features, the more basic versions of the Acadia are better options. Whichever version you like, the Acadia competes well in the category.
Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.