|SL||2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas||6-Speed Automatic||Front Wheel Drive||$28,855||$29,000|
|SLE-1||2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas||6-Speed Automatic||Front Wheel Drive, All Wheel Drive||$30,970||$32,600|
|SLE-2||2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas||6-Speed Automatic||Front Wheel Drive, All Wheel Drive||$33,440||$35,200|
|SLT-1||2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas, 3.6-liter V6 Gas||6-Speed Automatic||Front Wheel Drive, All Wheel Drive||$36,575||$38,500|
|SLT-2||3.6-liter V6 Gas||6-Speed Automatic||Front Wheel Drive, All Wheel Drive||$39,805||$41,900|
by Chris Wall
GMC has plenty models on the market, and in the SUV segment the offerings are pretty good. The Acadia alone comes in three models with seven trims available, and each one of those have options available too making for a wide range of choice if you have the budget handy. For those wanting a little more exclusivity and refinement, a Denali version is available from the brand’s high-end finishing department. Denali options will set you back a fair bit though. Tech and spec on the Acadia is good, enough to stick with rival offerings.
While the Denali finishings are upmarket, not everyone will spend that kind of money on a car. The lower models like the SLE and SLT are more likely to be on people’s shopping lists, but that doesn’t mean these models don’t have everything you need.
Seating is for seven with a few material options for finishings, and trims look and feel good, hard plastics with an ill-fit can be found when you look lower in the model range. It’s a nice place to be when travelling. All round space is good, but with smaller dimensions than previous models it is a little tighter. If you need to travel and take a heavy load along or fetch an IKEA order, cargo space can be expanded to a sizable 79 cubic feet.
The lowest spec GMC Acadia has a front-wheel drive setup with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, which has to be said, isn’t optimal for an SUV of this size, you can imagine the struggle it goes through to get things going at a decent speed. The drive with the 3.6-liter V6 is much better and works great with either drive-train option. The suspension is almost a little too stiff, but it needs to be to eliminate body roll of the large SUV. It’s not uncomfortable though, unless you come across road corrugations. The Denali model does give the best price, but for that kind of money it should.
The optional all-wheel drive system will sap a little performance, but not too much to annoy you. The SLT in front-wheel guise performs well, but the best is the Denali model, as you’d expect at the large price tag. All engines are compatible with E10 fuel.
It’s almost a sin to talk about performance in the same breath as the 2.5-liter, poor thing. The 3.6-liter V6 has 310 hp and is available from the SLE-2 model as an option and is standard on the higher up models. Combined with an automatic transmission with six forward gears, the V6 is strong and delivers the power in a nice and linear fashion through the front-wheel drive transmission.
All GMC Acadia models have an array of airbags, including for your knees and an inboard seat-mounted airbag in the front and center for safety in more severe collisions. Optional systems include things like Side Blind Zone Alert with Lane Change Alert, low speed front automatic braking for when you don’t pay attention in traffic, pedestrian detection, a following distance indicator and a forward collision alert system. The Acadia has a great crash rating for those who want actual proof, it as a 2017 top safety pick badge. On the equipment side the features are what you’d expect, there’s nothing standing out above what you’ll find in rival offerings.
The GMC Acadia is a big car with some pretty good styling. The Denali, when loaded with options, becomes very pricey with a tag higher than some premium imports. The 4-cylinder model isn’t great, but if you have to have an Acadia on a tight budget then it will have to do. For all round value, the front-wheel drive V6 should work just fine at around $39,000, option dependent.