2009 Acadia New Car Test Drive
The GMC Acadia offers the utility of a big SUV with the refinement and fuel-efficiency of a car. The Acadia is a crossover SUV, meaning it looks like a truck but it has unibody construction like a car.
Crossovers have been gaining in popularity because they make so much sense for so many families, but what sets the Acadia apart is its size: It's big, similar in size to the GMC Yukon and Chevy Tahoe, inside and out.
Acadia can seat eight. And it can carry a lot of cargo. Yet it offers a fuel economy advantage of three-to-five miles per gallon over a Yukon, benefits of its lighter weight and more efficient engine.
We've found the Acadia delivers what most people like about full-size SUVs. For starters, it's big and roomy. The driver sits high off the ground and benefits from that commanding view down the road that many like. Features like rear-seat DVD entertainment make it a good choice for families.
The only places where the Acadia falls short of truck-based SUVs is in heavy-duty towing or for slogging through military-grade muck. Properly equipped, the GMC Acadia can tow 5,200 pound, while a Yukon is rated to pull 7,500 pounds or more. Based on the Silverado pickup, the Yukon can handle rugged terrain. The Acadia offers all-wheel drive for capability in stormy or snowy weather and it's fine for unpaved roads. That's plenty of capability for most people.
The Acadia offers superb road manners, whether on country roads, rough city streets or pock-marked freeways. It absorbs rough pavement in a soothing manner and takes corners reassuringly for such a large vehicle. It handles better and is smoother than a Yukon and other truck-based SUVs. GMC's 288-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 is smooth and sophisticated and supplies good acceleration performance. Its six-speed automatic transmission is responsive, smooth and efficient, further aiding fuel economy.
Three rows of seats provide room for seven or eight, though it's more comfortable with six. Two adults and two or three children plus their belongings can be carried with ease. Acadia comes loaded with safety equipment, including curtain air bags that provide head protection and side-impact airbags that provide torso protection; electronic stability control and other active safety features can help the driver avoid accidents.
The 2009 Acadia gets a more powerful engine and some new equipment. The 3.6-liter V6 engine adds direct-injection, upping horsepower from 275 to 288 and torque from 251 to 270 pound-feet. New features include a standard Bluetooth wireless cell phone link, real-time traffic information for the available navigation system, available heated and cooled front seats, and a 115-volt power outlet that comes with the rear DVD entertainment system. A rear-view camera that projects its image on the rearview mirror is also new. Finally, towing capacity is upped from 4500 to 5200 pounds.
The 2009 GMC Acadia comes in basic SLE and up-level SLT trim. Each is available with front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD).
Acadia SLE FWD ($31,890) and AWD ($33,890) come with cloth upholstery, air conditioning with rear controls, cruise control, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, power heated outside mirrors, power windows and programmable door locks with remote keyless entry, four-way manually adjustable driver's seat with lumbar adjustment, three-passenger 60/40 split second-row bench seat, three-passenger 60/40 split third-row bench seat, AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio with XM Satellite Radio, automatic headlamps, daytime running lights, rear spoiler, roof rails, fog lights, and P255/65R18 tires painted aluminum wheels.
Options for SLE include a Preferred package ($640) with a six-way power driver's seat, a two-way power passenger seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, a Bluetooth wireless cell phone link, and bodyside moldings. A Visibility package ($695) adds rear park assist, a rearview camera, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Other options consist of remote engine starting ($260), a trailering package ($495), a cargo cover and net ($130), second-row captain's chairs ($495), and other equipment from the higher-line model. Also available is a package ($2,055) combining tri-zone climate control, a Bose stereo, and a rear-seat DVD system. A dual-screen rear DVD entertainment system costs $2,010.
Acadia SLT FWD ($36,250) and AWD ($38,250) add leather upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate control with rear controls, six-way power adjustable driver's seat, two-way power adjustable passenger seat, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, second-row captain's chairs, a more sophisticated Bose stereo with rear radio controls, driver information center, outside temperature display, compass, a Bluetooth wireless cell phone link, universal garage door opener, and turn signals integrated into the outside mirrors.
Options for SLT start with the SLT2 package ($2,240) that includes rear park assist, an eight-way power driver's seat, a four-way power passenger seat, memory for the driver's seat and mirrors, a rearview camera, auto-dimming rearview and driver's side mirrors, remote engine starting, power-folding exterior mirrors, a 115-volt power outlet, an automatic up/down driver's power window, heated washer nozzles, a power liftgate, and a cargo cover and net. A Visibility and Directions package ($2985) includes rear park assist, a navigation system with voice recognition and real-time traffic information provided by XM, a rearview camera, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a power liftgate. Other options consist of a Technology package ($500) with a head-up display and cargo-area audio controls; a second-row center console ($300); a Dual Skyscape two-panel glass sunroof ($1,400); heated and cooled front seats ($650); the navigation system ($1,890); HID headlights ($500); and 19-inch bright aluminum wheels on P255/55R19 tires ($1,295). Eight-passenger seating is available for a credit (-$495). DVD entertainment is offered as a stand-alone option ($1,295).
Safety features include dual frontal airbags, curtain side airbags, seat-mounted side-impact airbags for the driver and front-seat passenger, OnStar, anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist, traction control, and StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover mitigation.
OnStar uses a global positioning system and an extra powerful cellular telephone to put the driver in touch with the OnStar center which is manned 24/7. The center can tell where the vehicle is located and send help or provide other assistance. Should the airbags deploy the system can automatically notify the OnStar center that an accident has occurred and where the vehicle is located so it can then send help. OnStar service is free for the first year but after that requires a subscription fee.