Weidel on Wheels: GM scores with GMC's Acadia

Full-size crossover seats eight and offers good performance
By: Jeffrey Weidel
-A +A
As someone who understands that the United States auto industry still has plenty of ground to make up before it can go head-to-head with foreign competitors, it’s always pleasing to see an American-made vehicle that meets, or exceeds expectations. GMC has indeed accomplished that with its first sport utility vehicle crossover — the Acadia. The 2011 version receives high marks not only here, but also by most industry observers who have test driven this family-friendly model. The folks at General Motors have a winning combination with the Acadia, a full-size crossover that features three rows of seats and holds eight passengers. With the drop in popularity of minivans, the Acadia is a suitable option if you’re a person who happens to frequently drive in people-transportation mode. The Acadia delivers in a number of ways. It not only provides for a high volume of passengers, it offers tremendous cargo space as well. Also part of the package with this SUV is it handles well, has a smooth and quiet ride around town, has a towing capacity of 5,200 pounds and is pretty efficient on gas (16 to 23 miles per gallon). One more reason to like the Acadia — it ranks extremely high in all safety categories. And that’s reassuring to know for a vehicle that will frequently be transporting plenty of kids. GM has the all-wheel drive Acadia sharing the same platform as the Buick Enclave and Chevy Traverse. The Acadia is lighter than many truck-based SUVs because of its unibody architecture. Available in five trims, the new Acadia Denali was test driven here for a week. The Denali is the premium addition to the Acadia lineup and goes for a premium price as well. Equipped with lots of upgrades, the Denali costs $45,220, which is much higher than the Acadia base model that has a $31,850 starting price tag. The Acadia, which weighs nearly 5,000 pounds, features an engine to match its bulk. It has a 3.6-liter, V-6 that is equipped with 281 horsepower — the Denali has 288 horsepower. The roomy cabin is applauded for its layout and also for its attractive two-tone color, which is even classier in the Denali because it features wood grain accents. The instrument panel is not only accessible, but also easy to master. The Acadia interior does include some low-grade plastic, but overall is very pleasing for the driver and its passengers. __________ 2011 GMC Acadia AWD Denali Price: $45,220 Power: 3.6-liter, V-6 engine with 288 horsepower Mileage estimate:16 mpg city; 23 mpg highway Standard features include:Front and rear air-conditioning; six-speaker CD/MP3 stereo system with satellite radio, Bluetooth; OnStar system; power liftgate; remote engine start; leather-wrapped steering wheel; eight-way driver/two-way passenger seating; rear parking sensors and back-up camera; 20-inch chrome wheels; xenon headlights; front, rear dual sunroofs; heated/ventilated front seats; leather/wood steering wheel; traction and stability control.