GMC already had a large SUV with its Yukon; but for shoppers who preferred a more car-like ride, it released the midsize Acadia crossover SUV in 2007. Closely related to the Chevrolet Traverse, with the same powertrain, Acadia comes with three-row seating for either seven or eight occupants, and can tow 5,200 pounds when properly equipped.
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2016 GMC Acadia Overview
What's New for 2016
A new SL base model joins the lineup, and a new heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel goes into SLT-2 and Denali versions.
Choosing Your GMC Acadia
With only one engine and one six-speed automatic transmission available, the Acadia doesn't require any powertrain decisions. Its 3.6-liter V6 produces 281 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque in the lower trim levels; the top-of-the-line Denali squeezes out an extra seven horses and four pound-feet of torque. The primary decision to make is between front- and all-wheel drive. Fuel economy is estimated at 17-mpg city/24-mpg highway (16/23 with AWD).
Starting with the new SL, the Acadia has no shortage of trim levels to choose from. Each is available with either seven- or eight-passenger seating. Seven-passenger models substitute two captain’s chairs for the second-row bench.
The Acadia Denali may seem expensive, and therefore hard to justify; but for so many features, it actually qualifies as a good deal. Further down the price scale, even the new base SL is nicely equipped, and may be the practical choice for the budget-minded. Before deciding, ask yourself just which extras you can do without.
2016 GMC Acadia Review
With room for up to eight adults even in the base trim level, the GMC Acadia midsize SUV offers families the "people mover" benefits of a minivan with the bolder styling and increased utility of an SUV.
Pricing and Equipment
All 2016 GMC Acadia trims are powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission. The Acadia is available in five trim levels:
- The base SL trim seats eight, which is only available with front-wheel drive but offers seating for eight, 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment, and a rearview camera for only $31,900.
- SLE-1 trims add Sirius XM radio and optional all-wheel drive. Pricing starts at $35,100.*
- SLE-2 trims add nice convenience features like an 8-way power driver's seat, remote start, rear park assist and a power liftgate. SLE-2 Acadias start at $37,680.*
- The SLT-1 trim enhances the luxury feel of the Acadia with leather seats, 19-inch wheels, and a Bose 10-speaker audio system. Pricing starts at $41, 835.*
- The SLT-2 trim adds memory seats and mirrors, safety features like side blind zone and rear cross traffic alert and more. Pricing starts at $43,200.*
*SLE-1, SLE-2, SLT-1, SLT-2 trims add $2,000 for all-wheel drive.
The 281-horsepower V6 gives the portly Acadia enough power to safely navigate its way through traffic. Handling and braking are also up to par, making driving the Acadia is easy and predictable.
Not unlike the Acadia's twin brother, the Buick Enclave, spirited performance is not the primary goal of the midsize SUV. GMC's Acadia fills the gap for families who need the convenience of a minivan but prefer to stay clear of the stigma often attached to the comfortable eight-seaters.
Considering the emphasis on ride comfort, quietness, and utility over acceleration and hairpin cornering, we think the Acadia does quite well. The vehicle's long manufacturing run has only made the Acadia even better with each refresh adding to the comfort and driveability of the SUV.
Fuel economy is decent for the sheer utility that the Acadia offers. Front-wheel drive Acadias earn 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. All-wheel drive models lose a mpg at 16 city and 23 highway. The Acadia can tow up to 5,200 pounds.
- A short time in the driver's seat will remind you that the heavyweight Acadia is designed to prioritize utility and comfort over sheer driving performance and economy.
- Gas mileage is decent considering that you can travel with seven or eight passengers, but drivers who rarely need the extra seats or abundant cargo space that the Acadia offers may want to consider a smaller, more efficient sport utility vehicle or crossover.
- The roomy interior of the 2016 Acadia is full of soft-touch surfaces, nice accent trim work, and comfortable seating.
- Third-row passengers can easily come and go by using the space between the second-row captain's chairs or taking advantage of Acadia's nifty SmartSlide seating system.
- Even with eight passengers onboard, the GMC Acadia offers more cargo space behind the third row than any competitor in its class.
- Just need a vehicle to haul stuff? The GMC Acadia boasts the highest maximum cargo space of any competitor in its class.
- The new-for-2016 4G LTE WIFI hotspot is always a huge hit with teenagers or anyone who wants to power up a tech device and enjoy some streaming entertainment, connect with friends through social media, or get some work done away from the office.
Minivan deserters, you can have most -- but not all -- of your cake and eat it too.
While the Acadia is a cargo space class leader that the low floor space that provides all that extra room behind the minivan's third row seat is missing in the Acadia. My suggestion is to take a long hard look at the Acadia's rear cargo area and see if it meets your needs. Can you fit the double stroller with all the seats in use? Will you still have room for the camping gear?
The Most Pleasant Surprise
The price point of the base SL trim is excellent, especially considering that the 2016 Acadia actually provides seating for seven or eight normal-size people. Unfortunately, the price escalates quickly with each available trim level.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
The 2016 GMC Acadia is a big vehicle, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that it handles like a really big vehicle. Except that many of the Acadia's rivals are also big and don't feel as massive from behind the wheel.
The Bottom Line
The 2016 GMC Acadia offers seating for up to eight and class-leading cargo space, even behind the third row. Offering a comfortable ride and predictable driving dynamics, the Acadia may not be an exciting vehicle to drive, but it rarely disappoints in everyday driving situations. Just make sure you really need the abundant interior space and utility because it comes with a justifiable cost to fuel economy, but it may be one compromise that you can avoid if you can make do with a smaller, more efficient and exciting-to-drive crossover.
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