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GMC Acadia SLT-1 Review

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2007 GMC Acadia SLT-1




Model: GMC Acadia SLT-1
Engine: 3.6-liter V6
Horsepower/Torque: 267 hp @ 6600 rpm/247 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm<
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 118.9 in.
Length x Width x Height: 201.1 x 78.9 x 72.6 in.
Tires: P255/65R18
Cargo volume: 117.0 cu. ft.
Economy: 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway/16.8 mpg test

Price: $37,269 (includes $735 destination charge, $199 for XM radio, $175 for a 115-volt power outlet, $150 for cargo area audio controls, and $85 for heated windshield wiper fluid)

My Bottom Line – The Acadia is a very capable mid-size SUV with a great engine and plenty of room. Similarly equipped, it’s about $10,000 less than the almost identical Cadillac SRX, but more than the almost-identical Saturn Outlook, which has less content.

The new GMC Acadia may well be the sleeper in the mid-size sport utility segment. While GMC’s reputation has been built on tough “Professional Grade” trucks, this is a mid-size SUV that can compete with any other on the market, be they truck-based or sedan-based. It isn’t the cheapest, to be sure, but put everything you want in it and it’s priced decently. More than that, it’s a comfortable riding vehicle with enough power and enormous space for carrying stuff.

Under the hood of the Acadia is GM’s 3.6-liter V6 that delivers a healthy 267 horsepower. This is more than enough for the type of driving you’ll do 99 percent of the time in the Acadia. There may be a time when you want to take it to the race track for a couple of hot laps, and for those times you’ll want to soup the 3.6 up a bit, but those times will be few and far between.

Additionally, the V6 is hooked to a 6-speed automatic transmission with nearly seamless shifts. Our tester was the all-wheel drive version, so power was distributed primarily to the rear wheels, but when the Acadia sensed wheel slippage it automatically shifted into AWD. Try as we might, we never slipped the wheels, but maybe we did and the Acadia’s shift was so smooth that we didn’t notice it.

We drove the Acadia in snow and ice and were impressed with how comfortable we felt. We also had a fairly long Interstate run that took us to city traffic. Again, the Acadia held up well, although we had to pay extra for parking an SUV. The Acadia maneuvered well in city traffic and also maneuvered well on windy, hilly roads.

The seats were flat, with minimal side support, but in general they were comfortable. Maybe it was the heated idea of the seats that made them seem more comfortable.

For a company whose reputation is in trucks, the Acadia’s ride was surprisingly car-like and smooth. Most SUVs are crippled with harsh ride qualities, but not the Acadia. My wife commented on the smoothness of the ride in all conditions.

Besides good power and ride quality, Acadia also gained a plus for its cargo capacity. We had the three-seat version, which offers seating for seven. The third row is tight with regard to legroom, but comfort is excellent in the first two rows. Behind the third row there are 19.7 cubic feet of cargo volume. With the split third row folded and the second row seat backs up, there are 68.9 cubic feet. Since this is the configuration that most owners will probably use the Acadia in, that’s enormous, and much more than its stablemates. Maximum cargo volume is 117.0 cubic feet, again tops in the family.

In addition, there’s a power liftgate ($350) that makes loading and unloading cargo (or grocery bags) that much easier.

Our Acadia didn’t have a navigation system, so the readout for the radio and HVAC were small. The HVAC kept us toasty warm in some frigid weather and the XM radio in the audio earned its keep.

Inside, we had a pair of cupholders in the center console as well as bottle holders in the doors. The covered center console/arm rest had a coin holder and rectangular box to sort objects that might be in it. Like many manufacturers these days, GMC has added a small cargo tray on top of the dash with a pop-up cover. This is so convenient for small objects that you don’t want to forget, like sunglasses.

We also had a heads-up display ($350) that kept my eyes on the road. Included were speed, tachometer, turn signals and radio station and, in the case of XM, the song being played.

GMC has been growing more competitive in markets other than its basic trucks, and the Acadia is a perfect example. Here’s a sport utility that has all the creature comforts one would expect from a “car company” with all the practicality one would expect from a truck-based SUV.

© 2007 The Auto Page Syndicate