2015 Acadia New Car Test Drive
Like the related Chevrolet Traverse, the GMC Acadia can seat seven or eight, depending on configuration, and haul a big pile of cargo. Inside and out, the Acadia is similar in size to the truck-based GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Tahoe. However, it's more refined, offers sharper handling, and gets slightly better fuel mileage than a full-size SUV. Qualifying as a crossover SUV, it's constructed more like a car than a truck, so it's a little lighter and has a more rigid chassis than a truck does.
For 2014, Acadia gained Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning. Both features are standard on the Denali version and available for the SLT-1 and SLT-2. Each system alerts the driver with visual cues on the dashboard, as well as audible signals. All 2014 Acadia models add dual charge-only USB ports at the rear of the center console, for use by second-row occupants.
Every Acadia comes with a modern 3.6-liter V6 engine that develops 288 horsepower, a 6-speed automatic transmission, and either front- or all-wheel drive.
Choices for the 2014 Acadia range from the rental-grade SLE1 to the luxurious Denali. The GMC Acadia shares its basic structure with the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave. Acadia shoppers on tight budgets should look to the Chevrolet Traverse. And if a Denali isn't fancy enough, or you prefer even quieter and softer motoring, 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, to keep the youngsters occupied.
The only places where the Acadia falls short of truck-based SUVs are in heavy-duty towing and for slogging through muck or over rugged terrain. Properly equipped, the GMC Acadia can tow 5,200 pounds, while a Yukon is rated to pull more than 8,000 pounds. The Yukon is derived from the Sierra full-size pickup, so it has greater ground clearance, low-range 4WD and a chassis designed to regularly handle terrain that's unsuitable for the Acadia. But most drivers never 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, Acadia handles better and is smoother than Yukon and other truck-based SUVs. Driving manners are excellent, whether on country roads, rough city streets or pock-marked freeways. It rides smoothly over 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 2014 GMC Acadia shares its platform 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 2014 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). SLE and SLT versions are offered with a choice two equipment levels.
Acadia SLE-1 ($34,335) comes with cloth upholstery, air conditioning with rear controls, rear park assist, a rearview camera, cruise control, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, power outside mirrors, power windows, and programmable door locks with remote keyless entry. Seating consists of a four-way manually adjustable driver's seat with lumbar adjustment, three-passenger 60/40 split second-row bench seat, and three-passenger 60/40 split third-row bench seat, The standard AM/FM/CD/MP3/USB audio system includes SiriusXM Satellite Radio (3-month trial), Bluetooth, and OnStar Directions & Connections (6 months). Also standard are automatic headlamps, daytime running lights, a rear spoiler, roof rails and P255/65R18 tires on aluminum wheels. Acadia SLE2 ($36,225) adds a power liftgate, power front seats, front center airbag, IntelliLink infotainment, auto-dimming inside mirror, remote start and more option availability.
Acadia SLT1 ($40,390) 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, P265/60R19 tires on alloy wheels and more options, including navigation. Acadia SLT2 ($41,485) further adds a 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 ($46,675) features special trim, with a monochromatic exterior, unique front and rear fascias, chrome honeycomb grille, HID headlamps, and 20-inch machined aluminum wheels. The cabin contains perforated heated/cooled leather seats, a power tilt/telescoping steering column, mahogany steering-wheel inserts, dual-panel sunroof, head-up display, illuminated sill plates, and Bose 10-speaker sound system, among other features. Options include a DVD rear entertainment system, chrome-clad alloy wheels, roof rack cross bars, 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 SLE-1. 2014 GMC 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.