2008 GMC Acadia

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Review: 2007 GMC Acadia

This 2007 review is representative of model years 2007 to 2015.
By Ann Job of MSN Autos
Rating: 9
Pros:
  • Road manners
  • Well-proportioned, easy-to-like styling
  • Roomy and relatively quiet interior
Cons:
  • It's pricey
  • Weighty vehicle
  • Not a heart-warming name

Not many women make GMC their first—or even eventual—stop when they're looking for a new vehicle.

Well-known for its "professional brand" trucks and large sport-utility vehicles, GMC only garnered 25 percent of its sales in calendar 2006 from women buyers who often look for smaller, less masculine vehicles.

But there's a reason now for more women to visit GMC.

It's the new-for-2007 GMC Acadia midsize crossover SUV that has three rows of seats, a commanding driver seat view of the road, generous cargo room, commendable road manners and pleasing V6 power.

Oh, did I mention attractive styling? The 5-door Acadia is one of the best-looking crossover SUVs to debut recently. It's neither macho nor feminine. Rather, the Acadia is well-proportioned overall, with a non-fussy style and just the right size of grille and headlights at the front—not overdone and yet not plain, in other words.

And the Acadia's rear reminds me of the pricier Lexus RX 350 crossover SUV.

Crossover craze
Crossover SUVs, you may recall, are tallish wagons that seek to combine the versatility of SUVs with car-like ride and handling.

They're the hot thing in the auto business right now as consumers turn away from heavy, traditional SUVs.

The Acadia is GMC's first crossover and has a starting manufacturer's suggested retail price of more than $29,000.

Acceptable (for the segment) fuel economy
The Acadia's best government fuel economy rating, for a 2007 front-wheel-drive model, was 18 miles per gallon in city driving and 26 mpg on the highway, which was better than the competing Honda Pilot, Mazda CX-9 and Volvo XC90.

This fuel economy also put the Acadia a bit above the middle of the pack of all SUVs on the market, including traditional and crossover models, according to government stats.

Nice vehicle for families
My best advice for anyone looking at the Acadia is to forget about GMC's long-running ad tagline about "professional grade" vehicles.

It's apropos for the brand's full-size pickup trucks—many of which are bought and used by people in the construction, home trades and agriculture industries.

But it doesn't tell shoppers much about the family-friendly Acadia.

This is a vehicle that's nearly as long, bumper to bumper, as a Cadillac Escalade, but it drives as if it were much smaller.

This is a vehicle that weighs as much as some full-size pickup trucks—upwards of 4,700 pounds—but doesn't feel lumbering as it travels.

Indeed, the test Acadia was well-controlled and composed, even on twisty mountain roads where one switchback followed another, and I wasn't driving slowly, either.

There were none of the big body motions that I expected from a hefty, taller-riding vehicle like this.

And the Acadia soaked up many road bumps with little disturbance to passengers.

Inside, everyone rests on well-cushioned seats, and the interior of the test Acadia was as quiet as a car. There wasn't even much wind noise at highway speeds.

The Acadia's rack-and-pinion steering felt well-centered and responsive, while not being twitchy or weird-feeling.

Decent get up and go
The only Acadia engine is a 275-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 with variable valve timing.

It's mated to a new, 6-speed, automatic transmission that gets power to the wheels quickly, particularly in the low gears.

Most of the time, the shift points were barely noticeable in the test vehicle, which was an uplevel Acadia SLT model.

Maximum torque rating is 251 lb-ft at 3200, and some 90 percent of the peak torque can be had between 1500 rpm and 5800 rpm.

Note the Acadia's performance numbers are higher than those of the Pilot and CX-9.

About the pricing…
The starting price for the Acadia nudges $30,000, and with some options like sunroof, leather seat trim and power rear liftgate, the test model neared $39,000. And it was still a two-wheel-drive model. All-wheel drive would add another $2,000. Yikes!

To be sure, the Acadia comes with many standard features, including comfortably cushioned seats that didn't fatigue me even after most of a day's drive, six standard airbags, stability control, traction control and three rows of seats.

But there are other crossovers with lower prices.

Odds and ends
Depending on whether the second row has bucket seats or a bench, the Acadia can carry seven or eight people.

There's no head restraint for the middle person in the third row, though.

Everyone has decent views out of the Acadia and sit up from the pavement. For example, I looked over the roofs of cars and through the windows of some other SUVs in front of me as I drove.

GMC thoughtfully installed pull straps on the backs of the split 60/40 third-row seatbacks so short-statured people like me can more easily pull up the seatbacks from the cargo floor, when needed.

But I still had to stretch and reach way inside to push those seatbacks down fully flat to tuck them into the floor area when I wanted more cargo space. They don't fall down flat by themselves.

The Acadia's third row really is usable with 33.2 inches of legroom compared with 30.2 inches in the third row of the Pilot.

Final notes
The Acadia is one of three crossover SUVs developed off the same platform by GMC's parent company, General Motors Corp.

The other two are the Saturn Outlook, which has a slightly lower starting retail price of just over $27,000, and the pricier Buick Enclave.

It's probably just me, but the name—drawn from the Acadia National Park in Maine—reminds me of "arachnid," which is a class of bug that includes scorpions and spiders.

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BB03 - 8/27/2014 2:33:31 PM