Refreshed, Not Refreshing I'm probably ill-suited to accurately and fairly take the full measure of a vehicle like the 2013 GMC Acadia Denali. This is a machine conjured around the express notion of corralling and then herding a brood of rafter-swinging hatchlings to and fro in relative comfort, and with no such passel of wee Bowmans to call my own, it's difficult to give this rig a fair shake. While I can certainly weigh cargo capacity, legroom and fuel economy stats with the best of them, I'd be lying to your face if I said the word "crossover" didn't urge some uncontrollable Pavlovian recoil from the murky recesses of my frame. To put it simply, I just can't stand the damn things. As a rule, the segment is built on a bed of compromise. Manufacturers love nothing more than to spin up a tired yarn about the virtues of this particular neck of the market. We're told the crossbreeds deliver all the ride quality, driving dynamics and fuel economy of a car married with the seating position, capability and interior volume of the SUV set. That all sounds as swell as a sunset, but as the 2013 Acadia Denali so artfully illustrates, the advertising on the box is rarely congruous with the prize inside. Even with an imaginary squad of younglings at my heels, the refreshed luxury crossover doesn't quite manage to scratch the promised itches. A more upright nose helps give the Acadia a masculine appearance for the first time. GMC gave the 2013 Acadia Denali a full refresh for 2013, and while the rear three-fourths of the vehicle may look awfully familiar to Saturn Outlook owners, the front fascia delivers a substantial improvement over the outgoing plastics. A more upright nose helps give the Acadia a masculine appearance for the first time, and the change is more than welcome. We doubt most buyers will be able to draw parallels between this new Acadia and the long-dead Saturn unless the two are situated door-to-door in a parking lot, and the squared off fender arches, blacked-out D-pillars and forward-leaning C-pillars look right at home on the luxury GMC. While we'd normally consider giving General Motors grief for recycling old stampings, the maneuver is plenty smart. The Denali trim earned this tester a set of 20-inch aluminum wheels and a chrome roof rack, but designers have done a fairly smart job of keeping the shiny in check. The old model's over-the-top grille and lower valance treatments have been swapped with hardware that actually manages to show some restraint, and the result is a much more attractive vehicle outside. There's still plenty of hard plastic to be found inside the cabin, complete with bad graining and sharp casting lines. But, like the big crossover's Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse siblings, the Acadia has always fallen short of the mark indoors. GMC hobbled the previous generation Acadia with cheap-feeling materials, and we're sad to say the new model isn't out to change that …
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|MPG||17 City / 24 Hwy|
|Transmission||6-spd auto w/OD|
|Power||288 @ 6300 rpm|
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