I will be really up front and honest with you. When I received the email telling me a 2010 GMC Acadia was coming my way, my first thought was “I will not like this vehicle.” The main reasoning behind this is because I actually like the current Chevrolet Tahoe (the GMC Yukon is fine but I like the Tahoe styling better) and I could not imagine why I would personally buy this mammoth crossover instead of a Tahoe. Yes, I’m aware the Acadia starts roughly around $5,540 cheaper than the Tahoe, but pricing never entered my thoughts when making this judgment. The more interesting thing was, I had just hopped out of a fully loaded Buick Enclave, which rides on the same platform and shares so many parts with the Acadia. I really enjoyed my time with the Enclave, but it still didn’t sway my opinions about the Acadia. So what happened?
The Acadia’s exterior is striking. The headlights are unique and truly good looking. They really set the front end apart from other crossovers. The hood has nice sculpting in the center with lines running from the front clip into the hood on either side. The side profile is less sculpted, but has a bulge towards the bottom of the doors near the rocker panels. The fenders are somewhat over exaggerated but not overly done. The rear taillights are stylized with two round turret-looking shapes in each housing. The Acadia’s exterior is overall, very sharp especially sitting on the optional twenty inch chrome clad wheels.
The Acadia’s interior does have a few design cues shared with the Chevrolet Traverse, though it is worth noting the Acadia came to market before the Traverse. The center stack and instrument panel are all easy to operate and organized well. At night the gauges and switchgear all light up GMC red and white. I personally find this easy on the eyes late at night. The standard fold-flat third row is easy to operate but as a usable seat, the space back there is really meant for a child. With the third row in seating position, there is still room in the back for bags. The seats while large and flat were most definitely road trip worthy.
Powertrain options in the Acadia are limited to the 3.6 liter V6 featuring direct injection. Power output is 288 hp and 270 lb-ft to either the front or all four wheels. The power is handled by a six speed automatic with manual shift capabilities. I am undecided on this transmissions programming. It could be the particular Acadia I was in, but the transmission seemed lazy to me. Shifts were not quick and crisp. They were delayed and took longer than expected when not pushed hard. In all-wheel-drive mode, as the tester was equipped, the EPA rated the Acadia at 16/23 miles-per-gallon. I saw an average of 16.8 mpg in the city and 19.9 mpg cruising at 75 miles-per-hour on the highway. It is worth noting I averaged 22.8 mpg when cruising at 65 mph.
The Acadia was optioned as a SLT-2 model with a sticker price of $42,185. The test model also included the following options: technology package, touch screen navigation with rear view camera, rear seat entertainment, power sunroof with second row skylight, heated and cooled front seats with perforated leather surfaces, and red jewel tintcoat. The total price swelled to $49,740 after destination and the plethora of options! That’s a lot of money for a non-premium CUV.
A few things that stood out to me while I was in the Acadia: first, was the heads up display. I like how GMC decided to include this feature with the technology package. Second, the cooled seats in this Acadia were some of the best I have encountered to date. They seats cooled very quickly and prompted me to pay attention as the seats made my backside chilly. Finally, the iPod/iPhone interface on the optional touch-screen radio worked terrific.
So after driving the Acadia for the week, was it good enough to change my original opinions? I was sure I wasn’t going to like it. My final opinion on the CUV is I kind of like it and I kind of don’t. I definitely was impressed at the end of my test. I liked the Acadia as a vehicle; more than I ever thought I would like it. With that said, I cannot admit the Acadia would be my top pick for $49,740. GMC is deep into luxury territory at that price and in reality, the Buick Enclave has a nicer interior. Looking past GM’s products other vehicles in the same price category as the Acadia include: the Acura MDX, Audi Q7 and many others luxury brand CUVs. For the same price as the Acadia, the Audi Q7 TDI or the Acura MDX might be a better buy in my opinion. The main problem is not the Acadia, but rather GM’s pricing of the Acadia. This vehicle fits in much better at with a $44,000 price ceiling to be truly competitive. The bottom line is, if someone was ready to buy an Acadia and asked me if they should, I would say this: if you like it, it is a good vehicle but if selecting a fully loaded one I might be cautious on purchasing.
Full Disclosure- The review vehicle was provided by General Motors