by Bill P.
GMC introduced the 2017 Acadia Denali rebooted with a slimmer lighter body style, top-notch safety tech and a fiery 310 horsepower V6 engine. The strategic re-scoping of the 2017 Acadia offers customers a midsize crossover positioned between the compact Terrain and full-size Yukon. Depending on the model, it is available with five-, six- or seven-passenger seating. Starting at $24k the new GMC Acadia will go on sale with the Acadia Denali, and the Acadia All-Terrain variants.
The new Acadia is 700 pounds lighter than the current model adding efficiency and maneurability. The new Acadia offers a greater emphasis on refinement, while remaining instantly recognizable with an evolution of the vehicle’s design cues such as a chrome-trimmed grille, squared off and flared wheel arches and wraparound rear side windows with dark D-pillars.
New dimensional grilles and wraparound headlamps – HID lamps on Denali and halogen projectors on other models – reinforce the confident, refined appearance. Standard LED signature lighting on all models reflect GMC’s premium attributes. And C-shape rear lighting graphics add a cohesive detail to the design.
Premium cues give the Acadia Denali a more swaggtastic look. Like all Denali models, it features a dimensional chrome grille but adds along with integrated chrome side trim, chrome-accented door handles, a chrome lower-rear fascia and specific six-spoke wheels.
A new, 2.5L engine is standard, offering an estimated 28 mpg on the highway for FWD models. City fuel economy offered is GM-estimated at 22 mpg (FWD) and is bolstered by GMC’s first application of Stop/Start technology, which enhances efficiency in stop-and-go driving. The Ecotech 2.5 liter V6 boasts 194 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque.
A new, available 3.6L V-6 engine is more powerful and efficient than the current model, while offering 4,000 pounds estimated trailering capability (with the available towing package). It is GM-estimated at 310 horsepower, 271 bl-ft of torque and 25 mpg highway EPA on FWD models.
Both of the Acadia’s new engines feature direct injection and variable valve timing, and both are mated to six-speed automatic transmissions and an electronically controlled drive mode selector.
The new Acadia retains a front-drive layout with available all-wheel drive. All models feature a new drive mode selector, which allows the driver to alter chassis and powertrain attributes to suit a variety of driving conditions. Front-drive models offer Normal (2×4), Snow, Sport and Trailer/Tow modes, while AWD models offer 2×4 (AWD disconnect), 4×4, Sport, Off Road and Trailer/Tow modes.
The AWD disconnect mode effectively disconnects the rear axle from the drive system to save fuel. On-demand AWD capability can be reapplied on the go by switching the drive mode selector to 4×4 mode.
Dynamics Driving features include MacPherson strut front suspension, Five-link rear suspension, Available electronically controlled continuous damping system, Rack-mounted electric power steering system, Four-wheel disc brakes with Duralife rotors, and an electronic park brake.
The 2017 Acadia offers the latest active safety features to protect them, as well as the latest technologies to keep them connected. The active safety features are designed to help make drivers more aware of their surroundings and potential crash situations. They are available depending on the model and include New Front Pedestrian Braking, Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking, Forward Automatic Brakin, Following Distance Indicator, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, New IntelliBeam automatic headlamp high-beam control, and Front and Rear Parking Assist.
An available Tow Vision Trailering system helps make hitching easier by employing a rear-vision camera, with dynamic guidelines, to help line up the Acadia’s hitch with the trailer, as well as offering views of the trailer while driving.
Built on a new, lighter body structure, the 2017 Acadia’s driving dynamics are more responsive, while its shorter length and narrower width enable greater handling and agility, for easier turning and parking.
The body structure incorporates press-hardened, high-strength steels, which allowed thinner components in some areas offering comparable or better crash performance than conventional materials. They also help reduce the base curb weight by 700 pounds compared to the current model.
The new All Terrain model matches distinctive design elements with enhanced off-road-driving ability. At the heart of the Acadia All Terrain’s capability is an advanced AWD system with Active Twin Clutch, which optimizes traction for every condition. And while it is engineered for optimal performance in wet, snowy and icy conditions, it also provides enhanced stability in dry conditions.
It also has a specific All Terrain mode in place of the Off Road mode on the drive mode selector, which works with the model’s exclusive AWD system to offer enhanced hill-climb capability.
All Terrain models are distinguished from the rest of the Acadia lineup with a body-color grille surround, black chrome trim and unique wheels. Inside is exclusive five-passenger seating, dynamic interior accents and covered storage bins in the rear cargo floor in place of a third-row seat.
The 2017 Acadia builds on a legacy of intuitive functionality, with new features such as a split-folding second-row seat that improves on the original Smart Slide feature of the current model. It offers greater flexibility, including the capability of the curbside seat sliding and tilting forward, even with a forward-facing child seat in place, while the driver-side section tips and slides forward for easier access to the third row.
The 50/50-split third-row seat folds flat for a completely flat load floor behind the second row. When the second row is also folded, there’s 79 cubic feet of cargo room. Levers at the rear of the vehicle make it easier to fold the second- and third-row seats.
The rear center console features a unique pull-out storage drawer accessible to rear-seat passengers. There’s also a new, standard rear seat alert that can remind the driver when an item may have been left in the second- and third-row seats. And all three rows offer USB charge ports for compatible electronic devices.
The Acadia offers the latest technology for phone integration through GMC’s available IntelliLink system. that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Vehicle user interfaces are products of Apple and Google and require a compatible smartphone and adherence to data plan rates, terms and privacy statements. An available OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot provides a mobile hub for drivers and passengers to stay connected. The hotspot is on whenever the vehicle is on and comes with a three-month/three-gigabyte data trial.
The new Acadia goes on sale this spring starting at $24k, almost a decade after its original introduction, and coming off of its strongest sales year ever in 2015. Its poised to compete with the Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and roll over the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot.