Everything the GMC Acadia does – it does with abundance. Big power, smooth chassis, interesting styling, large interior and content. The very name “Acadia” means “Land of Plenty,” from a native Migmac word that came from “L’Acadie,” an early colony in the New World.
Acadia is a great name choice for GMC’s popular SUV that is sandwiched between the smaller GMC Terrain and the full-size GMC Yukon. This “just right” sized GMC crossover SUV checks off all the boxes that matter, in abundance: Seating up to 7. Tow up to 4,000-lbs. Fuel economy up to 26-mpg. And pricing that starts at $29,000.
The list includes a wide range of options and choices, with some very cool packages like the Denali and Black Edition trims. Denali is the “denim and diamonds” grouping that is GMC’s top luxury trim level, and Black Edition is a bold, street-wise personalized identity. Acadia is offered in SL, SLE, SLT, Denali, and Black Edition, in either front or all-wheel drive, with All Terrain offered on SLE and SLT models.
For this test, we selected a heavily-optioned 2019 GMC Acadia AWD with the SLT-1 package, Black Edition, dual skyscape sunroof, special paint and other items, bringing our MSRP to $44,775 excluding freight. That may at first seem expensive, but this same content grouping in some other brands could cost thousands more.
The Black Editions are distinguished by darkened exterior treatments, adding more choices to lineups that also include color-matched, chromed and unique Denali appearances. “The new Terrain and Acadia Black Editions perfectly capture the identity of the GMC brand by offering a bold and confident exterior appearance,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Global GMC. “They give our customers more choices within the premium SUV segment to distinguish their vehicle and themselves.”
The Acadia stacks up nicely among its top rivals, including the Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave, Ford Edge, Volkswagen Atlas, Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade, and other brands in the mid-size SUV category.
The styling and look of the GMC Acadia is quite upscale. It looks powerful and large, and has a distinctive road presences and appearance. The GMC line of SUV’s have many design similarities– the most noticeable is the large corporate grille, and rear lighting. GMC is improving upon the 2019 model with a refresh for the upcoming 2020 GMC Acadia, which will feature a new grille, new front and rear design and GMC’s new signature C-shaped lighting.
GMC has gone to great lengths to make the Acadia cabin and interior experience something very different and special. The cabin is large, quiet, and full of content. The seating arrangement is typical for an SUV of this size, with three rows of seating, including second-row captain’s chairs or split-folding bench, and a 50/50-split third-row seat that folds flat for a completely flat load floor behind the second row. GMC adds a feel of higher quality finish and materials that create an above-average interior space.
The cabin is kept quiet with the help of passive sound control, plus active sound cancelling. More tech enhances the experience, including Infotainment with standard 7-inch touchscreen (8-inch available), Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot. Standard or available is Teen Driver, Keyless Open and Start, and all three rows offer USB charge ports for compatible electronic devices.
Power comes from either the standard 193-hp 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder engine with direct injection and variable valve timing, which gets about 26-mpg with front-wheel drive. Our test model had the more powerful 310-hp 3.6-liter V-6 dual-overhead cam engine, also with VVT, and we averaged about the same mpg as the smaller engine during our test (about 25.5-mpg).
Both engines are mated a six-speed Hydromatic transmission (a different type for each engine). Ours was equipped with the 3.6-liter V-6, and it delivered plenty of power for anything we asked of it. Power comes on and shifts smoothly and quietly.
All Terrain’s advanced AWD system with Active Twin Clutch optimizes traction for every condition it encounters. Our test vehicle was equipped with AWD, and this system also features specific All Terrain mode in place of the Off-Road mode on the drive mode selector to enhanced hill-climb capability. This will probably work very good in snow conditions.
The chassis set up and tuning is very impressive, delivering a solid feeling of control, confidence and comfort. Front suspension is MacPherson strut with direct-acting stabilizer bar. Rear suspension is five-link independent with coil springs and stabilizer bar. Steering is smooth and precise via the electric variable-effort power steering with Active Return Assist. Braking is strong and quick, via the four-wheel-disc, variable brake system with power assist and ABS, including Duralife brake rotors and low-drag brake calipers. The chassis is set up, tuned, and performs very nicely.
Overall, the GMC Acadia is good package that is comfortable to drive with a large amount of content and features for the money. Styling is interesting and up to date. The interior is inviting and works well for most passengers, but the third row is a bit small with little cargo room in the rear deck.