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2013 GMC Acadia AWD Denali Review By John Heilig

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2013 GMC Acadia

The Auto Page
By John Heilig

Model: 2013 GMC Acadia AWD Denali
Engine: 3.6-liter V6
Horsepower/Torque: 288 hp @ 6,300 rpm/270 lb.-ft. @ 3,400 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 118.9 in.
Length x width x height: 200.8 x 78.9 x 72.6 in.
Tires: P255/55R20
Cargo: 24.1/70.1/116.1 cu. ft.
Economy: 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway/20.3 mpg test
Fuel tank: 22.0 gal.
GVWR: 6,459 lbs.
Sticker: $51,205 (includes $825 destination charge, $2,425 in options)

Bottom line: The GMC Acadia Denali is a nice package, is a good driver, has good power and towing capacity and is comfortable. What more could you ask, except perhaps a smaller sticker price.

The Acadia was the first crossover in the GMC lineup. The luxury Denali version was added a few years ago, and is definitely the best choice of the model. For 2013 there have been minor exterior changes that clean up the design. All in all, it's a nice package.

What interests me the most in a vehicle is ride quality. How does this thing do on the highway and in urban settings, and how well does it handle roads that are less than straight. Even an all-wheel drive version doesn't have to be a world-class off-reader, but I would like it to know how to behave on dirt and lesser quality road surfaces.

Needless to say, the Acadia passes all the tests. On the road, there's good power from the 3.6-liter V6. Even though the Acadia is fairly heavy, it moves along nicely. A luxury crossover normally has somewhat lower expectations, but the Acadia has a 6,459 GVWR rating that's pretty good. Adding to the ride quality is a clear home screen for the navigation system. It provides information on audio, navigation, destination, phone, weather (a good source of information), traffic, setting and tone choices for the audio. It's all part of the GM Intellichoice package. We found the weather information especially important on some dicey winter days.

The heads up display that gives the driver information on speed, outside temperature and other points is very useful. Habit makes me still look at the speedometer, but I can get better at remembering the HUD after a week.

With the Denali package, the Acadia has all the bells and whistles you'd ask for. It has a very complete menu of safety options. I'm a big fan of side blind zone alerts and have recently become enamored of rear cross traffic alerts. With the former, a light lights up on the outside rear view mirror if there is a vehicle there that you might not be able to see normally. With the latter, an alarm sounds if there's a vehicle approaching from the misidentified when you're in reverse.

The heated and cooled front seats are comfortable despite being on the flat side with not a lot of side support. However, you do have an arm rest provided by the deep center console and a grab handle on the passenger door. Second row seats have very good leg room when they are slid back. This sliding function is particularly useful when passengers want to go all the way back to the third row. SmartSlide for access to the third row bench seat works this way; the second row seat cushion flips up while the seat back slides forward with the pull of a lever, making it easier to access the third row. Seating back there is decent. Access to the second (and eventually third) row is facilitated with assist handles on the B-pillars and over the rear doors. There's a flat floor through the whole passenger compartment.

Even with three rows, there is good cargo capacity. GMC says there are 24.1 cubic feet of cargo behind the third row and 70.1 cubic feet with the third row seats folded. If you're really toting a lot of stuff, you can fold the second row buckets and get 116 cubic feet of cargo capacity. There's even storage capacity under the cargo floor.

Interior cargo consists of a deep center console that slides. It has a tray inside to make it more useful. There's a decent glove box that still has a lot of room, even with the manuals in there. The dash has soft surfaces - no hard plastic here - and the overall feeling is one of quality and luxury, to a certain extent.

A front wheel drive version of the Acadia is also available, and so is a non-Denali version, which might ease my major concern about the sticker. Still, the GMC Acadia Denali is a nice vehicle that can do the job of family transporter.

(c) 2013 The Auto Page Syndicate