2012 Acadia New Car Test Drive
The 2011 GMC Acadia lineup has been expanded to include a new Denali model. The Acadia Denali features a more luxurious interior and signature Denali design cues. The 2011 Acadia Denali uses the same 3.6-liter V6 as the other models and is available with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
The GMC Acadia can seat seven or eight and haul a mountain of cargo. Inside and out, the Acadia is similar in size to the GMC Yukon and Chevy Tahoe. It's more refined, offers sharper handling, and gets better fuel mileage than a full-size SUV, however. A crossover, it's constructed more like a car than a truck, so it's lighter and has a more rigid chassis than a truck does.
Acadia delivers what most people want from a full-size SUV. The driver sits high off the ground and has a commanding view of the road. The Acadia can carry a lot of cargo. We found it seats six adults comfortably. Rear-seat DVD entertainment is available.
The only places where the Acadia falls short of truck-based SUVs are in heavy-duty towing or slogging through muck or over rugged terrain. Properly equipped, the GMC Acadia can tow 5,200 pounds, while a Yukon is rated to pull 7,500 pounds or more. The Yukon is based on the Sierra full-size pickup, so it can regularly handle terrain unsuitable for the Acadia. But you may not need that capability. The Acadia offers all-wheel drive for stormy or snowy weather, and it's fine for unpaved roads. That's plenty for most people.
On the road, the Acadia handles better and is smoother than a Yukon and other truck-based SUVs. It offers excellent driving manners, whether on country roads, rough city streets or pock-marked freeways. It smoothes bumpy pavement and takes corners in a reassuring manner for a large vehicle.
The 288-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 is responsive and efficient and supplies good acceleration. Its 6-speed automatic transmission is smooth and efficient, further aiding fuel economy.
Acadia comes loaded with safety equipment, including side-curtain airbags that provide head protection, side-impact airbags for torso protection and StabiliTrak electronic stability control and other active safety features that help the driver avoid accidents.
The GMC Acadia shares platforms with the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse. It was launched as a 2007 model; the 3.6-liter V6 was revised for 2009. For 2011, the biggest change is the addition of a Denali luxury model. All 2011 Acadia models get the latest version of OnStar, and offer Bluetooth, heated cloth seats, and power lumbar adjustment.
The 2010 GMC Acadia comes in SL, SLE, SLT, and Denali trim levels, all with the 3.6-liter V6 and front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
Acadia SL ($31,840) and SL AWD ($33,840) come with upgraded cloth upholstery, air conditioning with rear controls, cruise control, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, power outside mirrors, power windows, 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 and P255/65R18 tires on painted aluminum wheels.
Acadia SLE ($34,465) and SLE AWD ($36,465) add Bluetooth hands-free cellphone communications, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, remote start, eight-way power driver seat, two-way power front passenger seat, power liftgate, fog lights, rear park assist, rearview camera, body-colored side molding, second-row captain's chairs. Heated cloth seats are available.
Acadia SLT ($38,185) and SLT AWD ($40,185) upgrade to leather upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate control with rear controls, heated front seats, 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, turn signals integrated into the outside mirrors and P265/60HR19 tires on machined alloy wheels. There's an SLT-2 level with more equipment. The SLT Preferred Package ($1,350) upgrades with eight-way power driver's and four-way power front passenger's seats, express power front windows, heated outside mirrors, trailering equipment, heavy-duty cooling, and P255/55HR20 tires on chrome-clad alloy wheels.
Options for Acadia include a navigation system ($1,890); DVD rear-seat entertainment system ($2,305); trailering package ($525); sunroof ($1,400); second-row console ($300); leather and climate-controlled second and third rows ($650). The Technology Package ($1,000) includes head-up display, cargo-area audio system and HID projector low-beam headlamps.
Acadia Denali ($43,220) features special trim, with a monochromatic exterior, unique front and rear fascias, chrome honeycomb grille, HID headlamps, and 20-inch black-and-chrome wheels. The cabin has woodgrain interior, perforated leather seats that are cooled as well as heated, premium acoustics, dual sunroof, head-up display, DVD rear entertainment system, and Bose 10-speaker sound system, among other things.
Safety features on all Acadia models include dual frontal airbags, side-curtain 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. Optional all-wheel drive enhances safety on slippery surfaces.
2011 Acadia models come with OnStar 9.0, which uses a global positioning system and an extra-powerful cellular telephone to put the driver in touch with the OnStar center, which can tell where the vehicle is located and send help or provide other assistance. Should the airbags deploy, the system will 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.