We recently spent a day with GMC in Washington D.C. learning about and experiencing the 2017 GMC Acadia. We found it to be competent, car-like in its reflexes, and a suitable companion for anyone looking for solid three-row-transportation.
But the Acadia is all-new for 2017, inside and out. In a break from the norm, it’s smaller than the outgoing model, and by a lot. Everything from the available 3.6-liter V6 to the chassis is new and updated, and it looks unlike anything else in GMC’s current bullpen.
Here are eight things we learned about the 2017 GMC Acadia.
1. It’s had a fierce training regimen
The GMC Acadia, in four-cylinder spec, is down 740 pounds from the current version. A lot of this has to do with its smaller size, but also clever engineering tricks that allow for strategic lightening of the frame and structure. The four-banger does its part too, as does new sound-deadening material. Add it all together, and you’ve got roughly a pony’s worth of weight that’s been taken off Acadia’s shoulders.
2. The third row is there by popular demand
Engineers had a fair amount of flexibility to do with the Acadia what they pleased, as long as it didn’t get in the way of that third row seating. According to engineers who were on hand, one of the foremost priorities consumers voiced was that they desperately needed three rows of seating, even if they were hardly going to use it — better to have and not need than not have and desire, we suppose.
3. 30% of all GMC Acadia sales are Denali-spec
Denali carries a certain amount of cachet as it’s the highest trim level available from GMC, but according to consumers, it’s largely the reason to go with GMC in the first place: 30% of all Acadia sales to date have been emblazoned with the Denali badges and corresponding swaths of leather and chrome.
4. It’s the first vehicle with a Rear Seat Reminder
Each year, many children (and pets) die in the backseats of vehicles after being left unattended in the sweltering heat by a forgetful parent. Sleep deprivation, new routine, whatever the problem, GMC is bent on ensuring that it’s doing its part to mitigate child deaths in its automobiles. The Acadia is the first car to proactively remind occupants to check the backseat upon egress from the vehicle, with a chime and a warning on the dash’s MID.
5. The 3.6-liter V6 is all-new
Many cars in GM’s stable use a 3.6-liter V6 — the Chevy Camaro, Cadillac CTS, and Buick Lacrosse come to mind. But the unit in the Acadia, though related, is all-new for this application: It produces 310 horsepower, can tow 4,000 pounds, and in our driving, we saw mileage around the mid-20s. With some extra pedal awareness, you could get even more than that, we’re sure.
6. The weight loss allows GMC to use the inline-four
Dropping weight allowed GMC a better case for putting in the smaller four-cylinder engine, a 2.5-liter unit that produces 194 horsepower. In turn, this helps lower the entry-cost for Acadia, as well as squeezes out a few additional MPGs, provided you don’t need your new GMC for ambitious towing projects.
7. It’s the cheapest large SUV in GM’s stable
Though GMC occupies a price niche that’s usually slightly above Chevy and a little bit below and to the side of Buick, the 2017 Acadia — which starts in base-spec at $29,070 — is set to become the cheapest three-row in GM’s portfolio, undercutting the Traverse ($31,205) by over $2,000. Don’t, however, expect most Acadias to actually transact for around this price.
8. GMC gets a mobile app in July
It seems like the cool thing to do these days, and GMC isn’t about to be left in the lurch. A smartphone app is coming that will allow owners to lock and unlock their vehicles, send directions to the car, and a variety of other functions.