The huge crossover/SUV market caters to a wide variety of tastes and needs. There’s full-size, midsize, compact and subcompact models from which to choose. Of that group, the tested GMC Acadia falls within the “just the right size” group.
Acadia is offered in FWD and AWD, in SL, SLE, SLT, top-shelf Denali trim, plus the new AT4 (All Terrain 4) that can handle modest off-roads, and the model tested.
All Acadia’s have a pleasing yet muscular urban design. The AT4 takes it further with its special trim, twin-clutch AWD system with hill descent control, all-terrain tires and 17-inch wheels, each attach with six lug nuts that maintain GMC’s Professional Grade title.
Acadia’s can be had with 5, 6 or 7 passenger seating, however the AT4 tested was configured for five.
Acadia’s interior has upscale touches with abundant soft touch surfaces and an overall pleasing and attractive design. Front seats, for example, are sofa soft and sensibly supportive with the AT4 emblem embroidered into the headrests. A nice classy touch.
The vertical stack houses an 8-inch touchscreen offering a host of apps including Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, satellite radio and 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capability. Plus, the rearview camera offers tow hitch and trailer views.
Acadia’s HVAC controls are large, easy to use and view with most selections displayed on the touchscreen.
An interesting note on the touchscreen is that a Personal profile for the infotainment system can be set up with pre-set climate settings, audio, navigation and other functions.
Most interesting and somewhat unique, is the new 9-speed automatic transmission shifter. It uses thumb size pull switches on the vertical stack for Reverse, Neutral and Drive modes, and push switches for Park and Low modes. GMC says the design is primarily intended to save space. They do take some getting use to when coming from a console or steering wheel mounted gearshift. All gear selections display on the instrument cluster.
Below the gearshift is a storage bin that would have been better used for a wireless phone charger. Acadia’s only demerit at this point.
Acadia’s gauge cluster performs several functions within its driver information display. When selecting one of the AWD modes, it displays there as does alerts such as when approaching a vehicle ahead at too fast a speed. The system displays an alert, sounds a buzz tone and the driver’s seat bottom vibrates.
AT4s AWD system consists of 2WD, AWD, Sport, Off-Road, Tow-Haul and downhill hold modes. So equipped, Acadia AT4 can tackle semi-aggressive off-roads and moderate snow depths with its 7.2-inch ground clearance.
Upon a 19-inch step-in into the soft back seats, they can accommodate two large adults or three youngsters as leg and head room are very ample. The seats slide fore/aft and also recline. If you leave a child or package on them when attempting top exit the vehicle, a warning notice appears on the gauge set.
AT4’s cargo area is spacious and with the rear seats upright it offers 41.7 cubic feet of space that measures 45.5 inches deep, 41 wide and 30 high. Pull two handles on the cargo wall to flip the rear seatbacks, and cargo space increases to 79 cubic feet for 80 inches of cargo loading depth.
Beneath the aft cargo floor is a two-section foam bin to stow small items out of sight. And below that is a full-size spare tire, compared to some of its competition that only provide a tire inflator kit.
As for safety features, AT4 comes standard with rear park assist, rear cross traffic alert, lane change alert with side blind zone alert, and a HD rear vision camera.
Shod with Continental all-terrain 17-inch tires, AT4 rode quietly and smoothly as it’s based on Cadillac’s CT6 sedan suspension that employs rear coil springs. The combined system displays good handling manners that offer a sturdy, planted, assuring and safe ride.
Acadia can be had with three engine choices: a 2.5L, inline 4-cylinder with 194-hp, 190 lb/ft of torque; a 2.0L, turbocharged inline 4 with 230-hp, 258 lb/ft of torque, and standard for the AT4 is GMC’s proven 3.6L, 310-hp V6 with 271 lb/ft of torque. When coupled to the 9-speed automatic transmission and start/stop engine technology, AT4 earned EPA mileage estimates of 18 city, 25-highway mpg. With a curb weight of 3,923 pounds, the V6 is needed, especially if towing is planned as AT4 has a tow rating of 4,000 pounds.
AT4 is moderately price and historically a bit more than its Chevy counterpart. With a base price of $41,300, options such as Jet Black/Kalahari perforated leather appointed seats ($1,000); Infotainment Package ($995) with Bose premium audio, navigation and HD radio; Driver Alert Package ($695) adds safety alert driver’s seat, Intellibeam headlights, front/rear park assist, following distance indicator, forward collision alert, lane keep assist w/lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking; Trailering Package ($600) with hitch guidance/hitch view, HD cooling/alternator; and Carbon Metallic paint ($495) brought the bottom line to $45,135.
AT4 comes with a 3 year/36K mile bumper-bumper warranty, 5/60K powertrain warranty including roadside assistance/courtesy transportation and first maintenance visit coverage.
With the AT4 package, Acadia makes this crossover an attractive and compelling choice in an extremely crowded field. We’d buy one.