Expanding The Brand Beyond Trucks and SUVs 2011 GMC Acadia Denali - Click above for high-res image gallery The Denali brand began as a luxury trim package for the 1998 GMC Yukon, whereupon it quickly became apparent that affluent buyers would pony up for big wheels and large quantities of chrome. In fact, the Denali was so successful that GM designers penned a new, bolder front end, rearranged some body panels and the more expensive Cadillac Escalade was born. Over the years, the Denali brand also migrated to the Sierra pickup, yet despite the brand's popularity, the growth inexplicably stopped there. That's changed for 2011, as GMC has breathed new life into its Denali franchise with a high-rent Acadia. Does the long-successful brand have the staying power to move away from boxy SUVs and trucks in favor of a kinder, gentler crossover? Continue reading Review: 2011 GMC Acadia Denali... %Gallery-119008% Photos copyright ©2011 Zach Bowman / AOL With 68,295 U.S. sales in 2010, the Acadia was the second best-selling GMC-branded vehicle behind only the Sierra pickup. Data from AutoPacific shows that the median price for this "Professional Grade" CUV was a substantial $40,000, which suggests this family wagon is a cash cow for General Motors. There was a time when a $40,000 price tag would elicit gasps from car buyers and the media alike, but nowadays, many non-luxury crossovers can crest that mark. The Acadia Denali is obviously no different, as standard features like a head-up display, 20-inch wheels, bi-xenon headlamps, moonroof and a leather steering wheel with wood accents can cost a pretty penny. Our all-wheel-drive tester came in at $50,125 after options including touchscreen navigation ($1,890) and rear seat entertainment ($1,445) were added to the $45,220 base price. Still experiencing sticker shock? Bear in mind that a similarly equipped Acadia SLT2 with optional 20-inch wheels will set you back $2,000 more than the Denali. And you don't get the Buick Enclave-inspired sound deadening package and all that attention-seeking chrome. Many can no doubt live without the shiny stuff, but there are still many American car buyers who continue to place a premium on bling. And the Acadia Denali has plenty of it, with the lion's share affixed to the trademark honeycomb grille. The Adacia Denali actually has two portions of honeycomb, as the chrome lower fascia is separated by a front bumper that also features a strip of the shiny stuff, just like the Yukon and Sierra Denali models. In all, GMC's design staff has done an admirable job of differentiating the front end of the Denali from the run-of-the-mill Acadia, with body-color moldings, a new hood with a convex scoop and a rounded gap above the bumper. The rest of the Acadia Denali is mostly carryover, with few changes besides the moldings and a pair of Denali badges at the base of each front door. It's certainly not a style that's for everyone, but it does clearly stand apart as the best Acadia money can buy. Check …
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|MPG||17 City / 24 Hwy|
|Transmission||6-spd auto w/OD|
|Power||288 @ 6300 rpm|
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