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3/4 Front Glamour 2013 GMC Acadia

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Expert's Rating

4.4Excellent

MPG 17 City / 24 Highway
Pros
  • Car-like handling
  • Good interior fit and finish
  • Lots of cargo space
Cons
  • Underwhelming braking performance
  • Third row seats somewhat cramped
  • Navigation screen a bit small
, Automotive Editor -
The GMC Acadia debuted back in 2007 and has remained pretty much untouched through the 2012 model year. With the 2013 model year coming into play and the mid-size crossover SUV realm getting crowded, GMC felt it was time to overhaul the Acadia for the first time in its short lifespan.

Introduction

The revision for the 2013 model year are rather significant, as the exterior boasts an all-new look, giving it a more aggressive and SUV-like front end that is highlighted by squinting headlights and a bold grille. The interior was also overhauled and GMC included more soft-touch materials, eliminating the cheap, hard plastics that plague the interiors of other SUVs. GMC also added in an industry-first center airbag, blind-zone alert and rear crossing alert systems, rear-view camera, three new exterior colors and three new interior colors, a smoother transmission and dual-flow shocks and struts for a more comfortable ride.

See our picks for best SUVs in the CarsDirect SUV Buying Guide.

The 2013 GMC Acadia comes in five trim levels, and they are: SLE1, SLE2, SLT1, SLT2 and Denali. All five trim levels share drivetrain options, as they all feature a standard 3.6-liter engine that pumps out 288 horsepower and 270 foot-pounds of torque through a six-speed automatic transmission and to the front wheels. All-wheel drive is an available option.

Though the Acadia is a crossover SUV and that class is typically not expected to tow too much, it does carry a maximum towing capacity of 5,200 pounds across the trim levels, when properly equipped. The SLE trim levels are essentially the base levels, as the SLE1 carries only the basic amenities expected in this type of vehicle and the SLE2 adds in extra airbags for safety, an advanced infotainment system, power seating, and other comfort and convenience items. The SLT trims give the Acadia a little more luxury, as the SLT1 tosses in larger rims, upgraded steering, automatic air conditioning, upgraded seat trimming, and other premium features. The SLT2 simply builds upon the SLT1 with upgraded power windows, seating memory, and other premium features. The Denali is the all-out luxury model that features all of the bells and whistles expected of an SUV.

Competition is plentiful for the Acadia, as the crossover SUV realm is one of the fastest growing automotive segments. The first competitor up will be the 2013 Honda Pilot, which comes in at $29,420, and comes fitted with a 250-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine and can tow up to 4,500 pounds. Next on the list is the 2013 Toyota Highlander, which starts off at $28,870 and comes standard with a 187-horsepower, 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that can tow up to 3,500 pounds with the towing package. When fitted with the 270-horsepower V-6 engine, the Highlander can tow a stout 5,000 pounds and comes in at a base price of $30,245. The final competitor is the 2013 Ford Explorer, which comes in at a base MSRP of $29,135, boasts a 3.5-liter V-6 engine with 290 horsepower and can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

Competition for the Acadia is stiff, and GMC is hoping that its redesigned body and revamped interior can pull some buyers away from the competition.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 GMC Acadia
Starting price
$23,988

2013 GMC Acadia SLE-1

Recommended for: Buyers in need of eight-person seating and some premium features in a base SUV

The SLE1 trim level it the very base model of the lineup and it comes in with a front-wheel drive model and a all-wheel drive model. On the outside it features basic items, including: four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, dual exhaust, StabiliTrak, 18-inch aluminum wheels wrapped in all-season rubber, automatic headlights, daytime running lamps, dual-projector headlights, power mirrors, rear spoiler, luggage rack side rails, rear vision camera and intermittent wipers. Inside the SLE1 trim level it features: manual-adjust front seats, six airbags, six-speaker stereo system with 6.5-inch color touchscreen and steering-wheel-mounted controls, eight-person seating, manual front and rear air-conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, power windows and door locks, ambient lighting, leather-wrapped steering wheel, OnStar, cloth seating, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, simulated-metal trim, and USB port.

2013 GMC Acadia
Starting price
$23,988

2013 GMC Acadia SLE-2

Recommended for: Buyers that need the added convenience of an infotainment system and the security of a standard center airbag

The SLE2 package takes the already well-equipped SLE1 base package and sprinkles in a few more standard features. On the outside, the SLE2 package only adds in a power rear hatch for easier access to the rear cargo area, but it does add in the ability to opt for a dual-panel sunroof. On the inside is where the SLE2 shows its differences, as it includes: seven airbags, power front seats, seven passenger seating with two captain’s chairs replacing the SLE1’s second-row bench seat, six-speaker audio system with 6.5-inch color touchscreen and IntelliLink infotainment system, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and remote vehicle start.

2013 GMC Acadia
Starting price
$23,988

2013 GMC Acadia SLT-1

Recommended for: Buyers that want some added luxury with a base MSRP under $40K

The 2013 GMC Acadia SLT1 starts off the semi-luxury trim levels for this midsize crossover SUV. On the outside, the SLT1 package builds slightly upon the SLE2 package, adding in variable effort steering, which adjust with vehicle speed, 19-inch aluminum wheels, projector fog lamps and heated body-color outside mirrors. On the inside, the SLT1 package adds a ton of standard features, including: eight-way power passenger seat, automatic tri-zone climate control, Bose 10-speaker stereo system with 6.5-inch color touchscreen and IntelliLink, heated leather seats, one-touch-down for driver window, authentic aluminum dashboard and steering wheel inserts, rear audio controls and headphone jacks, and Universal Home Remote.

2013 GMC Acadia
Starting price
$23,988

2013 GMC Acadia SLT-2

Recommended for: Drivers that want the added safety of blind-zone and rear-crossing traffic alerts

The SLT2 is the top trim level of the semi-luxury SLT trim. On the outside of the SLT2 trim levels, the only real addition is a memory feature to the outside mirrors to make it easier for each driver to adjust the mirrors. On the inside of the Acadia, the SLT2 trim adds in: memory for the driver seat, one-touch-up-and-down driver window and one-touch-down passenger window, blind-zone alert, and rear-crossing traffic alert.

2013 GMC Acadia
Starting price
$23,988

2013 GMC Acadia Denali

Recommended for: Buyers that want all of the bells and whistles

The 2013 Acadia Denali is the king of the hill when it comes to luxury on this crossover SUV. The Denali trim includes all of the standard features of the SLT2 and adds in: dual flow-through exhaust, which gives the rear fascia a cleaner look, trailer hitch, heavy-duty cooling system, full trailering equipment, 20-inch machined aluminum wheels with H-rated rubber, chrome door handles, bright beltline molding, body-color front fascia, signature Denali grille, HID headlights and illuminated front-doorsills. On the inside, the Denali continues to build onto the SLT2 package by adding in: heads-up display, heated and cooled front seats, perforated leather seats, noise-reducing interior insulation, and leather-wrapped steering wheel with mahogany trim.

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