2013 Acadia New Car Test Drive
The GMC Acadia can seat seven or eight and haul a big pile of cargo. Acadia has been updated for the 2013 model year.
For 2013, the front and rear styling has been refreshed, the entertainment systems update and fitted with color touch-screens, mechanicals retuned for smoother operation, an airbag between the front seats added to all but base models, rear park assist and camera are now standard, and a blind-spot warning system appears on top-line versions.
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 slightly better fuel mileage than a full-size SUV, however. A crossover, it's constructed more like a car than a truck, so it's a little lighter and has a more rigid body than a truck does.
Every Acadia comes with a modern 3.6-liter V6 engine of 288 horsepower, 6-speed automatic transmission, and front- or all-wheel drive.
The 2013 Acadia ranges from the rental-grade SLE1 to the luxurious Denali. The entry SL trim has been dropped. The GMC Acadia shares its basic structure with the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave. Acadia shoppers on tight budget should look to the Chevrolet Traverse. And if a Denali isn't fancy enough or you prefer even quieter and softer, check out the Buick Enclave.
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 3,000 pounds more. The Yukon is derived from the Sierra full-size pickup, so it has ground clearance, low-range 4WD and the chassis to regularly handle terrain unsuitable for the Acadia. But you may not need that capability. 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 with required 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 Denali luxury model was added.
The 2013 GMC Acadia comes in SLE, SLT, and Denali trim levels, all with the 3.6-liter V6. Front-wheel drive is standard, all-wheel drive optional ($2,000).
Acadia SLE1 ($34,050) come with cloth upholstery, air conditioning with rear controls, rear park assist, rearview camera, 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/USB audio with XM Satellite Radio (3 month trial), Bluetooth, OnStar Directions & Connections (6 months), automatic headlamps, daytime running lights, rear spoiler, roof rails and P255/65R18 tires on aluminum wheels. Acadia SLE2 ($37,940) adds a power liftgate, power front seats, front center airbag, IntelliLink infotainment, auto-dimming inside mirror, remote start and more option availability.
Acadia SLT1 ($39,780) upgrades to leather upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate control with rear controls, aluminum cabin trim, fog lights, heated front seats, heated power mirrors, Bose 10-speaker sound system, universal garage-door opener, variable effort power steering, P265/60HR19 tires on alloy wheels and more options, including navigation. Acadia SLT2 ($41,200) further adds driver memory system, blind spot warning, and more passenger seat adjustments. It also offers options exclusive in the sub-Denali line including heated/cooled front seats and a Technology package (head-up display, HID headlamps and cargo area audio controls).
Acadia Denali ($45,945) 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 mahogany interior trim, perforated heated/cooled leather seats, power tilt/telescoping column, dual sunroof, head-up display, illuminated sill plates, and Bose 10-speaker sound system, among other things. Options include a DVD rear entertainment system, chrome-clad alloy wheels, roof rack cross bars, Bose surround sound system, navigation, Cocoa Dune leather and some miscellany like all-weather floor mats.
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. A front center airbag between the front seats is standard on all but SLE1. 2013 Acadia models come with OnStar, which uses a global positioning system and a powerful cellular signal 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.