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Large and Luxurious

GMC adds safety and luxury upgrades to Acadia Denali for 2013.
by Tom Crosby

General Motors Corp. annually tweaks its popular GMC Acadia crossover, and for 2013, adds an array of upgrades to the top-of-the-line Denali trim. We tested the all-wheel drive model.


For a night on the town or a day at the lake, Acadia Denali is all about versatility. ©General Motors Corp. photo

Acadia is built on the same global platform as the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave that features GMC’s workhorse 3.6-liter, 288-horsepower engine manipulated by an automatic transmission. All three vehicles will tow 5,200 pounds, despite Acadia’s weighing nearly two and half tons.

Versatility has always been a Denali strong point, and Acadia comes with seating for seven or eight. Our test drive was a seven-seater with second- and third-row seats that easily folded flat to create enough space to hold 48-inch- wide plywood sheets. The automatic opening rear liftgate will make anyone whose arms are loaded with groceries or packages thankful.

For such a heavy vehicle, which can also be described as a full-size SUV, handling is surprisingly agile, and all-wheel-drive provides a sure-footed experience on 20-inch wheels. An improved suspension system excels in turns or over rough ground.

With standard side mirrors, blind zone alerts, rear cross traffic alerts tied into the rearview camera, and a new front center air bag to go with roof-mounted air bags that deploy in a roll over, safety features are improved in this vehicle that already had good safety scores.

Outside, style changes show up in a new three-bar chrome grille, a new LED taillight, rear spoiler, and wraparound tinted rear glass.

Inside, knick-knack spaces are plentiful, including a sliding multi-layered armrest. A two-panel sunroof, a redesigned dashboard that’s easily reached and manipulated, and a three-zone climate control are some of the interior features. The Head-Up Display projects information, such as your miles per hour, on the windshield. White French stitching in the leather interior adds a luxurious feel.

Smart Slide seats enable easy access/egress to all three seating rows. The 10-speaker Bose® sound system translates songs accurately and adds to the standard IntelliLink entertainment system. The optional flip-down second-row theater screen comes with the $2,240 navigation option that displays on-time traffic information.

There is a compact high-pressure spare tire. GM charges $995 for the white diamond tri-coat finish.

Likes: Space, versatility, ride, handling
Dislikes: Paint charge, no full spare tire
The Bottom Line: Acadia Denali is top-of-the-line for GMC’s crossover vehicles

Tom Crosby is a contributor based in Charlotte, N.C.

Sep/Oct 2013 Issue

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