GMC Acadia

Big family car bazaar

"GMC has a long history dating back to over a century, and if you'd seen it in the late 90s, you may think they sell pickups and minivans"

"While most carmakers, target multiple segments by adding a third row as an afterthought, the Acadia’s design suggests GMC always knew it would be a three-row car."

"Almost everyone inside had a nice couch, and that's what we like about the Acadia," said Ershad

"Eight-seater SUV is literally meant to be an eight-seater"

We took the all new 2015 Acadia, GMC's first full sized crossover SUV, out for a drive. Sharing the same platform as the Chevrolet Traverse, Acadia is GMC's first unibody vehicle. With a boxy figure in general, a facelifted version was introduced in 2013 with a redesigned grille, front fascia, rear lift gate and improved interior

As a company, GMC has a long history dating back to over a century, and if you'd seen it in late 90s, you may think they sell pickups and minivans. All of sudden, the vehicles appeared like Cadillacs with a mix of comfort, room and safety. Our tester was a premium Denali version.

It's all so blingy, with a massive three-bar chrome front grille and an exterior color, technically referred to as Midnight Amethyst Metallic which is quite flashy. There are bits and pieces of chrome on door handles, body-side moldings which have the Denali badge and are on the dual flow-through exhaust pipes. HID xenon headlamps with LED lighting, halogen fog lamps and rear LED tail lamps integrated to its rear-quarter design round up the lighting unit. Twenty inch wheel and power lift gate in the rear are standard for the Denali variant. Though it looks glittery, the massive size of Acadia along with its rugged appearance easily dispels the fancy feel.

Let's move on to business. While most carmakers, target multiple segments by adding a third row as an afterthought, the Acadia's design suggests GMC always knew it would be a three-row car. The rear doors are wider for easy access. With the Smart Slide second row feature, it's easy to get into the last row which has decent room for adults. In full capacity, Acadia can fit up to eight people inside with sufficient room for cargo, even with the third row in place. Perforated leather seating and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with mahogany trim are Denali specials along with aluminum trim and accent lighting in foot wells, sill plates, center console, doors and dash. Heated and cooled 8-way power seats for the driver and front passenger add to the comfort factor. We did not like the hard plastic in the cabin, however. With practical appointments in the center console the essence was too simple and enough. Center color touch screen infotainment center had everything to offer including music, navigation and Bluetooth. Other features include Tri-zone automatic climate control, head-up display, remote keyless entry, remote vehicle start and Dual SkyScape two-panel sunroof.

Acadia has a 3.6L engine with direct injection technology capable of producing 288 horsepower and 364 Nm of torque. It is mated to the Hydra-Matic 6 six speed automatic transmission.

As far as safety is concerned, the car is very well equipped with a host of features starting from the segment's first front center air bag, standard head curtain side air bags with rollover protection, forward collision alert and lane departure warning. Side blind zone alert and cross traffic alert along with StabiliTrak electronic stability control system ensure we stay proactive. Standard four wheel disc brake system with ABS keeps the car in control.

With long wheelbase and wider front and rear track, Acadia may sound like a tricky nut to crack when it comes to handling. Well, the story goes the other way. Because of the same features and a unibody construction, we get a lower center of gravity. Now, this can get you a stable ride and cut the risk of rollover. On the move, I felt as if the car was lighter and nimble, which is opposite to how it looks. The independent soft suspensions were good enough to ensure that the occupants stayed in comfort zone. No complaints about transmission upwards, but at the same time I couldn't ignore the delay in downshifts. 288hp is a decent figure for power, but with all eight passengers aboard (yes, I tried that too), the car struggles a bit to accelerate. Almost everyone inside had a nice couch to sit in, and that's what we like about the Acadia. Economy figures for a car of this size were encouraging, so the Acadia scores once again when it comes to a daily drive.

Verdict
At the end of the day, this is an eight-seater SUV literally meant to be an eight-seater. Ride comfort, handling and seating capacity should do the talking for the Acadia. There is competition from the likes of Mazda CX9, Honda Pilot, Dodge Durango and Ford Flex. For now, we think GMC can bet on the Acadia to address the big family car bazaar.

Pros: spacious room for all occupants and cargo, handling, economy, comfy ride
Cons: some hard plastic inside, slow downshift, not the best off road
Rivals: Mazda CX9, Honda Pilot, Dodge Durango, Ford Flex
Engine: 3.6L direct injection V6, 288 hp, 364 Nm
Transmission: six speed automatic gearbox, AWD
Performance: 0-100 kph: 9 sec, 13 L/100 km, Top speed: 172 kph
Chassis: 2200 kg
One word: 8-seater

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