Review: 2009 GMC Acadia
Three trim levels are offered: SLE, SLT1, and SLT2. All are available in front- or all-wheel-drive configurations and use the same 3.6-liter V-6 and six-speed automatic transmission. The all-wheel-drive Acadia is rated by the EPA at 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway; the front-drive version achieves 17/24.
One place where we've faulted the Acadia and its Lambda brethren is in their weight. At nearly 5000 pounds, the Acadia is among the heaviest in its segment, which results in performance that is nothing to write home about. Although the Acadia handles better than a traditional full-size SUV, the Lambda platform's heft is still felt when it's called on to change direction quickly, and this was a key factor in a Lambda (the Chevy Traverse) finishing fifth in a six-crossover comparison test behind a Honda Pilot, Mazda CX-9, Toyota Highlander, and Ford Flex and ahead of only a Hyundai Veracruz. Braking, on the other hand, is impressive for a vehicle of this size.
Overall, we like the Acadia and its platformmates, as they have a willing V-6 engine, decent fuel economy, and a good ride. They also generally offer decent value. The issue is that you can find better powertrains, higher efficiency, smoother rides, and more significant values in the segment. We'd suggest checking out a Honda Pilot or Mazda CX-9 first.
What's New for 2009
Other additions include OnStar 8.0 — which is now capable of providing turn-by-turn driving directions — XM NavTraffic on vehicles with navigation systems, optional Bluetooth phone pairing, heated and cooled front seats, and a rearview camera.
Highlights and Recommendations
Although it can get pricey, we'd recommend an Acadia with the SLT1 package. It includes power heated front seats, a 10-speaker Bose audio system, and leather seating for the first two rows, and we'd add the optional rearview camera and parking sensors, since the view out the back is limited.
Buyers looking for a slightly more luxurious and quieter ride should look to the Buick Enclave, whereas the budget-minded might want to try the Saturn Outlook or Chevrolet's new Traverse — all of which are built on the same platform as the Acadia.