2019 Acadia New Car Test Drive
Redesigned as a 2017 model, the GMC Acadia is a midsize crossover SUV available in five-, six-, or seven-passenger configurations. Front-wheel drive is standard, all-wheel drive is optional.
This second-generation Acadia replaced a much larger crossover with the same name. The current model is roughly six inches shorter and three inches narrower than the 2007-2016 Acadia. The current Acadia is 700 pounds lighter than the first-generation model and it gets much better fuel economy. It also costs less.
Only minor changes have been made for 2018: Seating configurations have been expanded for the All Terrain package. The top Denali edition gains a heated steering wheel. An audible tire fill alert is standard on 2018 Acadia models.
GMC offers seven trim levels: SL, SLE, SLT, and top-end Denali. SLE and SLT versions are split into two versions each: -1 and -2, with different content and pricing. An All Terrain package is available for SLE and SLT models. Denali is distinguished by its flashy grille and other trim.
The standard engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 193 horsepower and 188 pound-feet of torque. Available on all but the base SL and step-up SLE is a 3.6-liter V6 that develops 310 horsepower and 271 pound-feet.
Both engines mate with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive optional on all except SL trim.
The four-cylinder engine feels strained with a full load of passengers and gear, but the V6 is strong and quiet.
All-wheel drive aims more at snow-covered roads than off-pavement four-wheeling, even when using the off-road mode that's part of the All-Terrain option.
Eight airbags and a rearview camera are standard. Advanced safety technology is available, if costly, but only for upper models. Such features as automatic emergency braking and active lane control are standard only on SLT-2 and Denali editions. Lane-change alert, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert are available for SLE-2 and standard on SLT-1 models.
A standard rear-seat detection system alerts you, before driving off, if you've opened the rear door. It's meant to remind drivers that a child or pet might be in the back seat.
Acadia scored well in crash-testing. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2018 Acadia five stars overall, and for frontal and side impacts. Only for rollover protection did Acadia get a four-star rating, which is typical of taller vehicles. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the 2017 Acadia Good in each category tested, other than headlights, which were declared Poor. Only the Denali's high-intensity-discharge headers were deemed Marginal. With an appropriate option group, the Acadia ranked Superior for frontal crash prevention.
Acadia SL ($29,000) has the four-cylinder engine with front-wheel drive. Standard equipment includes seven-passenger seating, 17-inch alloy wheels, three-zone automatic climate control, six-speaker audio, a rearview camera. The 7.0-inch infotainment system works with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. (Prices are MSRP and do not include $995 destination charge.)
Acadia SLE-1 ($32,560) is available with all-wheel drive ($34,560) and adds satellite radio, LED daytime running lights, carpeted floor mats, and a compact spare tire. SLE-2 ($35,180) adds an eight-way power driver's seat, heated front seats, programmable power liftgate, 18-inch wheels, foglamps, and six-passenger seating. The All Terrain package combines appearance upgrades, including a body-color grille surround, with an off-road mode for the all-wheel-drive system. The All Terrain deletes the third row of seats.
Acadia SLT-1 ($38,460) upgrades to perforated leather upholstery, power front seats, Bose audio, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.
Acadia SLT-2 ($41,860) comes with the V6 and is available with all-wheel drive ($43,860) and includes heated rear seats, front/rear parking sensors, and 20-inch wheels. A safety group combines low-speed automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, automatic headlights, lane-keep assist, and lane-change alert. Warnings are both audible and felt through the driver's seat.
Acadia Denali V6 ($45,020), available with all-wheel drive ($47,020) has unique appearance details, a hands-free power liftgate, bright roof rails, 8-inch information screen with navigation, and 20-inch wheels.