When you’re living in Colorado, the mountains are always calling your name. I answered the call this time around while test driving the 2017 GMC Acadia AWD SLT-1. The sport utility vehicle is noticeably smaller compared to the 2016 model, having dropped 700 pound and more than 14 inches, primarily in length.
At 193.6 inches in length, the Acadia is 7.2 inches shorter than the previous model. The height and width are also a smidgen smaller. Altogether those changes clearly move the Acadia into the midsize-SUV or crossover segment whereas last year’s category size was questionable. This new svelte look, with exterior design updates, lent itself to a secure and stable drive in the mountains. With each turn, I looked forward to the next scenic view around the bend without the threat of body rolling. And the lumbar support was a true friend in the comfort zone.
This year’s Acadia, featuring a new All-Terrain model, comes standard with a 2.5L engine, but also offers a new, available 3.6L V-6 engine with 310 horsepower and 4,000 pounds estimated trailering capability. The available tow vision trailering system uses the rear vision camera to help line up the hitch with a trailer. Both of the Acadia’s new engines feature direct injection and variable valve timing, and both are mated to six-speed automatic transmissions and an electronically controlled drive mode selector. It also features GMC’s first application of stop/start technology, enhancing efficiency in stop-and-go driving.
The Acadia’s interior includes a host of design updates as well as phone integration technology through Apple Carplay and Android Auto through the GMC IntelliLink system. There are also enough USB ports to keep everybody connected, and that’s a lot with the seating capacity ranging from five to seven people.
The feature that stood out to me the most regarding safety was the new standard rear seat alert. It reminds the driver to check the second and third-row seats before exiting the vehicle. The way it works is the system alerts the driver in the occasion that the second-row doors were opened before the vehicle even started. So it’s not about any weight actually being in the seats. It’s about whether or not someone could possibly have had access to the back seat prior to you starting out. It’s a thoughtful gesture to help parents keep families safe.
It was easy to feel confident driving the white frost tricoat-colored Acadia in the mountains and in the city with its expanded range of available safety features include forward collision alert, lane departure, side blind zone alert, front pedestrian braking, forward automatic braking, low speed forward automatic braking, and following distance indicator. In addition, the All Terrain capabilities made traction control a given on almost any road condition. Mountain road trip? How can you say no?
2017 Acadia All Terrain MSRP 41,450; Combined City/Highway MPG: 20.