Entry Price: $29,070
Price as Tested: $52,185
It’s the all-new 2017 GMC Acadia we’re driving this week, arriving in Denali dress with AWD underpinnings. Following 9 years of successful first generation sales, GMC designers came up with this new mid-size design that is way different from the previous and larger GMC Acadia.
Specifically, 2017 GMC Acadia is shorter in wheelbase, smaller in height and a bit narrower when compared to full size 2016. Although there are some sacrifices made mostly in cargo room, the new Acadia delivers better fuel mileage, still roomy first and second row surroundings and a more car-like ride. Acadia’s third row seating best accommodates children and pets, similar to most every mid-size SUVs on the market today.
And speaking of children, GMC has a unique “check rear seat” chime indicator that reminds the driver to make sure the rear seat doesn’t include a sleeping child. It also alerts when the second row doors are open before the vehicle is started. (Well done GMC).
Acadia for 2017 is 700 pounds lighter than last year, accomplished mostly by a reduction in wheelbase from 2016’s 118.9-inches to 2017’s 112.5-inches. This wheelbase number is exactly the same as smaller brother GMC Terrain, although both are built at different locations (Terrain is built in Canada, Acadia in Tennessee) allowing both a notable touch of GMC autonomy.
Although some may feel the new “smaller Acadia” is a move backward, readers are assured that other than wheelbase and some driveline similarities, the Acadia is larger in length than Terrain and does retain an “Acadia specific” motif that is most pleasing to the eye. Matter of fact, when it comes to sharing platform time, it’s the new Cadillac XT5 SUV that shares Acadia platform time and some mechanicals, not five-passenger GMC Terrain.
And how strong is the consumer demand for the these new mid-size GM SUVs? Come January 2017, GM is adding a third shift at the Spring Hill, Tennessee, plant to boost both Cadillac and GMC production. This move will add 650 jobs to the manufacturing facility.
New for the 2017 Acadia are connectivity touches for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, more built-in safety features, and exclusive continuous variable ride control. Throw in both four cylinder and V6 power choices, and this new Acadia is ready for any road you point it at, including limited off-road fun. The enhanced GMC driver safety network comes thanks to cameras, radar and ultrasonic sensors that make driving these modern GMCs so much safer than decades ago.
All of the AWD Acadia models come standard with a 310-horsepower 3.6-liter V6, which delivers great go-power and now, thanks to the lighter weight, improved EPA ratings of 18 city and 25 highway in AWD dress. (Two better in each category compared to last year). Combined with a trailer tow package that is a Denali standard feature, the V6 Acadia allows for a 4,000-pound tow capacity, some 2,000 pounds more than the four-cylinder Acadia.
The entry Acadia LS model’s four-cylinder Ecotec produces 194-horses from a 2.5-liter design, pushing the expected EPA fuel mileage upwards to 21 city and 26 highway in front drive form. Notable, too, is that all Acadia models rely on a proven six-speed automatic transmission. (If you don’t need 310 horses and the added towing capacity of the V6, test drive the four cylinder Acadia first).
To activate AWD, GMC Acadia still relies on a now outdated selectable knob called Traction Select for 2WD, Snow, off-road and 4WD footing. Therefore, when it snows heavy, make sure you select 4WD before you start driving away.
Exterior features include nicely designed front and rear fascias, chrome accents, Denali’s noted dimensional front grille with the distinctive GMC red badge, wraparound HID headlamps, 20-inch tires on aluminum six spoke polished wheels, lots of luxury amenities and much more.
Inside, Acadia Denali’s cabin features leather heated and ventilated seats, Bose Premium eight-speaker stereo, 8-inch display with navigation, 4G Wi-Fi, automatic climate control, power lift gate, Sirius/XM, USB, Bluetooth, and much more. A recommended $1,345 Technology package adds adaptive cruise with full speed front automatic braking, collision preparation, and a surround vision camera system. Finishing off the options were a $1,400 Dual Skyscape Sunroof and a $1,200 Continuously Variable Chassis with real time damping.
Since our Acadia Denali came with just about every option available, it pushed the final price to $52,185 with $925 delivery included. However, there’s always a lesser priced Acadia to test drive as the entry level front drive four-cylinder Acadia SL starts at just $29,070 well-equipped. (No AWD four cylinders are available).
GMC Acadia pricing allows most all potential consumers a wide range to work with. The entry AWD model is the SLE-1, which starts at $34,450 while the Denali AWD starts at $$46,920 and is the top model available.
Safety features include four-wheel ABS disc brakes, hill start assist, stability/traction controls and much more. Our Denali also includes extra safety driver alert features including forward collision alert, side blind alert, lane keep assist, rear cross traffic, advanced air bag system and rear safety camera.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 112.5 inches, 3,956-pound curb weight, 22-gallon fuel tank, 38.7 foot turn radius, 7.2-inch ground clearance, and from 12.8 to 79 cubic feet of cargo space.
There’s much to like about the new mid-size Acadia. If you still desire larger quarters, then you can move up to GMC Yukon or Yukon XL, both large examples of GMC technology in motion.
Likes: New design, V6 power, nice interior, GMC build quality.
Dislikes: Higher end models expensive, third row access cumbersome.
— Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and other Gatehouse Media publications. He welcomes reader input at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, Pa. 18840 or email at email@example.com.
Test Drive: 2017 GMC Acadia AWD
Entry Price: $29,070