2017 GMC Acadia Denali AWD Test Drive

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“2017 GMC Acadia Denali AWD”
A smaller redesigned Acadia adds features
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The 2017 GMC Acadia Denali emerges as a re-imagined midsize crossover with an expanded availability of safety features. The Acadia, while reduced in stature promises to remain as one of GMC’s strongest selling vehicles. It is all-new, and when compared to its predecessor, the wheelbase is 6.4-inches shorter, the length overall is 7.2-inches less, its width is reduced by 3.5-inches, and it has shed some 700 pounds. The smaller exterior dimensions also translate to a more compact interior. Hip, shoulder and legroom are now less than before except for the second row leg and headroom in Acadias without a sunroof.

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Cargo space also shrinks from a 116 cubic foot maximum with second and third row seats folded flat, to only 79 cubic feet.

The new Acadia, though more diminutive in size, doesn’t really feel smaller or cramped. It’s simply cozier and more manageable. It can still seat up to 7-passengers, and it will come in six levels of trim: the base SL, SLE-1, SLE-2, SLT-1, SLT-2 and the top-of-the-line Denali.
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The base powerplant for 2017 is a 193 horsepower, 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder that mates to a six-speed automatic transmission and either FWD or AWD. For SLE-2 and higher trim levels, a newer 3.6-liter, DOHC 24-valve, SIDI V6 engine with VVT and E10 fuel capability is available, which also mates to a six-speed automatic transmission gearing energy to either the front wheels or all four. It produces 310 horses at 6,600 rpm along with 271 pound feet of torque at 5,000 rpm.

The original first generation Acadia was more truck inspired than the new 2017 model, which projects more of an SUV influence, with its sculptural details, rounded corners and a more sharply raked windshield angle.
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The new Acadia showcases more of an emphasis on refinement and sophistication, while remaining instantly recognizable with an evolution of GMC’s DNA signature and “professional grade” design cues like the chrome-trimmed grille, squared off and flared wheel arches, chrome trim surround encasing the cabin glass from the “A” to the “C” pillar and wraparound rear side windows with dark D-pillars.
New dimensional grilles and wraparound headlamps – HID lamps on Denali and halogen projectors on other models – deliver a confident, refined appearance, while standard LED signature lighting on all models reflects GMC’s premium position. C-shape rear lighting graphics complement the design detail. Premium cues distinguish the Acadia Denali, which features a specific chrome grille, along with integrated chrome side trim, chrome-accented door handles, a chrome lower-rear fascia and specific six-spoke wheels.
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Inside, all Acadia trim levels feature unique interior color and trim combinations and incorporate authentic aluminum trim. The Acadia features a premium cloth interior with a 60/40 split-folding second-row seat and a 50/50 split folding third-row bench seat. Second-row captain’s chairs are optionally available, reducing the passenger capacity to 6.
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For connectivity, the center stack features a standard IntelliLink multimedia system that includes 7-inch touchscreen, a satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity for phone and audio, OnStar 4G LTE connectivity with Wi-Fi hotspot, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility. Standard features include tri-zone automatic climate control and remote keyless entry. Available features include leather upholstery, heated/ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, remote vehicle start, an automatic dimming rearview mirror, a memory seat, and a power moonroof. The 5-passenger All-Terrain Package conversion, which includes dual clutch AWD, has a 2-3 seating configuration with a second-row, 40/20/40 split-folding bench seat.
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The menu of standard safety features includes: a backup camera and a tire pressure monitoring system. Available features include surround view camera, a blindspot monitoring system, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear park assist, forward collision alert, and low-speed automatic braking.
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My test GMC Acadia was an AWD model in Denali trim. The exterior was finished iridium metallic, while the interior was done in Jet Black with light matte finish Bamboo-like trim accents. The base price was set at $46,920., while the Technology Package, Chassis Continuously Variable Real Time Damping, metallic paint and Destination Charge elevated the final sticker to $50,785.

SUMMARY: The 2017 GMC Acadia Denali AWD delivers everything one would expect from a midsize crossover SUV. The 3.6-liter V6 engine delivers more than enough power to the driving wheels, with smooth shifts up and down from the six-speed automatic gearbox.
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Handling characteristics lean to the sporty side of the chart, thanks in no small part to the smaller footprint and reduced mass.

The ride quality is quite comfortable with a firm but smooth and stable feel, with the Chassis Continuously Variable Real Time Damping system.
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In the final analysis, if you’re in the market for a mid sized SUV, the GMC Acadia Denali’s on par with other marketplace competitors, and if there’s something that it doesn’t have, chances are you probably don’t really need it.

SPECIFICATIONS: 2017 GMC Acadia Denali AWD

Base Price: $46,920.
Price as Tested: $50,785.

Engine Type and Size: 3.6-liter, DOHC 24-valve, SIDI V6.with VVT., E10 fuel capable.

Horsepower (bhp): 310 @ 6,600 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 271 @ 5,000 rpm

Transmission: Hydra-Matic6T70 six-speed automatic.

Drive Train: Longitudinally front mounted engine / AWD

Suspension: Front – MacPherson strut with continuous damping control.
Rear – Five-link independent with continuous damping control.

Brakes: Power-assisted four wheel disc variable brake system, ABS, forward Low speed auto braking

Tires: Michelin Premier LTX 235/55 R20 102H mounted on six sculpted machine face spokes with painted inners.

Wheelbase: 112.5 inches
Length Overall: 193.6 inches
Width: 75.4 inches
Height: 68.7 inches
Curb Weight: 3,956 lbs.
Turning Circle: 38.7 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 19.0 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 18 mpg city / 25 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: Not listed.
0 – 60 mph: 6.1 seconds

Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.

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