If it ain’t broke, why fix it? Some may think that’s been the mantra for the GMC Acadia, which has been around in its present form since the 2007 model year. In fact, 2015 saw the Acadia have its strongest sales year ever with more than 96,000 units finding new homes. It now appears that GMC are hoping a new model will fuel another record sales year, with the all-new second-generation Acadia making its debut at the North American International Auto Show here in Detroit.
With all the changes to the Acadia, it very well may break those records. The car is now 700 pounds lighter thanks to a new structure using more high-strength steel, more compact dimensions, and a new four-cylinder base engine. This results in a 2017 Acadia that’s more efficient and easier to manoeuver in tight environments like parking lots and structures.
The 2.5-liter, 194-horsepower four-cylinder engine features direct-injection and a stop/start system helping it achieve an estimated 28 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg in the city according to GM on front-wheel-drive versions. A new 3.6-liter, direct-injection V-6 delivers an estimated 310-horsepower to out-muscle the old 281-horsepower V-6. When properly equipped, the new V6-powered Acadia should offer 4,000-pounds of towing capability. Both engines work with a six-speed automatic transmission, and come with a drive mode selector that can change powertrain and chassis behavior.
On front-wheel-drive models, the drive mode selector offers normal, snow, sport and trailer/tow modes. For all-wheel-drive, it includes 2×4, 4×4, sport, off road and trailer/tow settings.
Dimensionally, the 2017 Acadia’s overall length is down 7.2 inches, while width shrinks by 3.5 inches, and the wheelbase by 6.4 inches, compared to the outgoing model. If you’ve ever driven the current Acadia, you know that it’s longer, wider, and porkier than many of its mid-size crossover SUV competitors, making me think GMC’s decision to right-size the new Acadia is a smart move.
Traditional GMC styling traits are here, including the chrome-trimmed grille and squared off, flared wheel arches. Denali models get additional chrome goodies like a dimensional grille, side trim, door handles, rear-lower fascia, and exclusive six-spoke wheels to go along with the variable ride control suspension system for an improved ride quality.
A new, five-passenger All Terrain model joins the lineup and visually sets itself apart with a body-color grille surround, black chrome trim, and special wheels. But it’s the twin clutch all-wheel-drive system that the more off-road worthy model is really about that improves traction in slick conditions. On the drive mode selector, all terrain replaces the off road setting. And with no third-row seats, the rear cargo floor houses covered storage bins.
For the interior, the smart slide seating system offers easier access to the third-row, and rear levers can fold the second- and third-row seats. A rear seat alert feature is standard and lets drivers know when an item has been left in any of the rear seats, and USB charge ports are in all three rows to keep things like tablets and smartphones juiced up. With third-row down and second-row folded, the Acadia boasts 79 cubic feet of cargo area.
Phone integration through the optional IntelliLink system offers both Apple CarPlay and Andriod Auto, while internet access is available with an OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. Plenty of safety and convenience technologies, including front pedestrian braking, low speed forward automatic braking and forward automatic braking, are on the options sheet, helping to reduce the severity of a collision or prevent one entirely.
The 2017 GMC Acadia will reach dealers this spring. Pricing starts at $29,995 for a front-wheel-drive Acadia SL, and it tops out at $47,845 for the all-wheel-drive Acadia Denali. The least expensive AWD variant is the Acadia SLE AWD, which starts at $35,375.
Editors’ Note, February 16: This First Take has been updated to incorporate new pricing information from the automaker.