After a decade on-stage, GMC’s Acadia three-row crossover set sales records in 2015. Accomplishing that as so many younger hotties rolled in and out of its neighborhood is astonishing. So, one might think GMC wouldn’t be interested in messing much with that show when redesigning the Acadia for 2017. Au, contraire. Welcome to a new ball!
Let’s get to the obvious: Acadia has been put on a diet. She weighs about 700 lbs. less for better fuel efficiency. To achieve that, the vehicle is shorter, narrower, and rides on a trimmer wheelbase. It looks smaller on the outside and feels more mid-size than full-size inside. This puts Acadia closer in girth to key competitors, but may deter those who chose it for its large personality. Still, the Acadia is no petite people mover.
As before, luxury buyers can choose the Acadia Denali with chrome billet grille and steamroller tires, but there’s now a more outdoorsy “All Terrain” edition that sports a body color grille surround, black chrome trim, and 20” wheels with gray spokes. I wouldn’t go shimmying up the Rubicon Trail, but it can clear deep snow and an occasional trail to a favorite picnic spot (or just speed bumps at your local galleria).
Whichever trim you choose, the Acadia is a handsome and sophisticated crossover. In fact, only if you glanced twice would you notice the trimmer physique and more streamlined forms. That’s perfectly fine because the last-generation Acadia’s swept-back windshield, Coke bottle fenders, and wrap-around rear window cut a swath.
If you really need a three-row crossover, the All Terrain is not your frame. It trades Acadia’s available third-row seat for more storage space with a cargo management system and covered cubbies to keep all of your gear firmly planted. Heated saddle-colored leather seats, perfectly-sized leather-wrapped steering wheel, and metali-wood accents on the console, dash, and doors add class.
Getting inside, more comforts emerge. Keyless opening/starting make going easier while tri-zone automatic climate control, dual skyscape sunroof, and Bose premium audio make going more comfortable. Navigation plots a course. Access infotainment through 4G Wi-Fi, USBs, Bluetooth, voice, and an 8” touchscreen. Rear passengers get their own USBs and a household power outlet. Proper knobs for radio tuning and volume make me smile. Safety is enhanced by rear park assist, rear cross traffic alert, and lane change alert with side blind zone alert.
A turbocharged four-cylinder engine is available in Acadia for the first time, but All Terrain retains a 3.6-liter V6 that delivers 310 horsepower. All of that power routes to the all-wheel-drive system through a 6-speed automatic transmission. Lighter weight helps achieve 18/25-MPG city/hwy while retaining the ability to tow 4,000 lbs.
To get the most out of the enhanced powertrain off-road, All Terrain comes with an advanced AWD system featuring GM’s Active Twin-Clutch that seamlessly optimizes traction. Twist the knob in the center console to conditions and let the system work its magic. But, even with hill descent control that maintains a safe speed down hills, the Acadia All Terrain is no Jeep Wrangler. Off-road ventures are limited to grassy fields and well-trod paths. On-road, the Acadia has a firm ride, especially over rough pavement, but the four-wheel-independent suspension and precise steering allow drivers to dial it like never before.
My only reservation about the new Acadia is its size. Many buyers over the past decade chose the Acadia because it offered full-size space and a supple ride. It’s now closer in size to the Dodge Durango, Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, and Hyundai Santa Fe, but I’m not sure that’s what brought Acadia to the ball and GMC better hope it’s a bigger celeb attending the new ball.
We’ll have to see if they appreciate this more urban-friendly package or yearn for Acadias past. Of course, if you need something bigger, there’s always the Yukon and Yukon XL. The decision will be helped by a base price of $29,995, or $47,465 as-tested.
2017 GMC Acadia All Terrain
Five-passenger, AWD Crossover
Powertrain: 310hp 3.6-liter V6, 6-spd auto trans
Suspension f/r: Ind/Ind
Wheels f/r: 20”/20” alloy
Brakes f/r: disc/disc
Must-have features: Style, Comfort
Fuel economy: 18/25 mpg city/hwy
Assembly: Spring Hill, TN
Base/as-tested price: $29,995/47,465