General Motors has finally began reinventing its largest crossover SUV lineup after nearly a decade on the market. Bowing first, the 2017 GMC Acadia boasts an all new chassis formed from thinner yet stronger high-strength steel, measures narrower and shorter, drops 700 pounds, and boasts a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder as the standard engine.

Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to haul seven passengers in high-end GMC comfort, but the eight-passenger seating configuration is no longer offered. The Acadia can also be configured to seat five or six, depending on seating packages.

“The all-new Acadia leverages GMC’s proven SUV experience to take on and shake up one of the largest vehicle segments, with a strong blend of design, technology and capability,” says Duncan Aldred, vice president of GMC Sales and Marketing.

GMC’s official stance on the resizing is that the new Acadia is better positioned between the midsize Terrain and the fullsize Yukon, while offering better maneuverability, driving dynamics, and fuel economy. Those are all fantastic achievements, but we wonder if GMC is making the right choice by decreasing interior volume.

The 2017 Acadia will surely sell very well regardless. The current Acadia, which has been on the market since 2007 and unchanged since its mid-cycle refresh in 2013, has continually sold extremely well. GMC moved 96,393 units during 2015 alone. The Acadia’s Buick and Chevrolet cousin, the Enclave and Traverse, sold 62,081 and 119,945 units respectively in 2015. It’s easy to see how important this platform is to The General.

Let’s dive into what the 2017 GMC Acadia is all about.

Update 02/16/2016: GMC has announced official pricing for the 2017 Acadia. Prices fall $1,905, giving the base SL-trim Acadia a starting price of $29,995. More details are found in the pricing section below.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 GMC Acadia.

  • 2017 GMC Acadia
  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V6(Est.)
  • Displacement:
    3.6 L (Est.)
  • 0-60 time:
    8.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    115 mph (Est.)
  • Layout:
    Front Engine; FWD, AWD (Est.)
  • Price:
    29995
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2017 GMC Acadia High Resolution AutoShow
- image 662002

GMC designers basically started with a clean sheet of paper. The exterior is far more attractive than before thanks to sharper line, squared-off wheel wells, and more sloped windshield. The design moves from looking overweight to tailored – exactly what the GMC needed. The official numbers have the 2017 Acadia 7.2 inches shorter front to back, 3.5 inches narrower, and 3.9 inches shorter in height than before.

The official numbers have the 2017 Acadia 7.2 inches shorter front to back, 3.5 inches narrower, and 3.9 inches shorter in height than before.

Like most GMC vehicles, the Acadia’s looks will change with trim levels. As before, the trims include SLE, SLT, and Denali, however, a new trim is added this year. Called the All Terrain, this trim is designed for those needed more off-road capabilities. We’ve seen the All Terrain trim on other GMC models, but this is the Acadia’s first time sporting the new wears.

Specifically the All Terrain trim comes with a unique three-bar grille with a body-color surround, black chrome trim, and unique wheels and tires. Of course the Denali retains that iconic cheese grader grille emblazoned with chrome. Chrome accented door handles and lower rear fascia, along with specific six-spoke wheels are unique to the Denali.

All told, there are three wheel options that include a 17-, 18-, and 20-inch design. Halogen projector beam headlights come standard while HIDs come on Denali. Every trim comes with LED daytime running lights.

Interior

2017 GMC Acadia High Resolution Interior
- image 661727

Matching the exterior improvements is a vastly redesign interior. The dashboard debuts an all-new shape not seen on previous models. Familiar bits are still present, like the eight-inch IntelliLink infotainment screen, dual-zone climate controls, and steering wheel. The driver makes use of a full-color TFT display within the gauge cluster that offers multiple gauge views, menu settings, and redundant screens for the infotainment system. The digitally produced analog speedometer complements the truly analog tachometer, coolant temperature, and fuel gauge. Two smaller digitally produced analog gauges give the driver choices with what information to show.

Unfortunately the All Terrain trim eliminates the third row option, leaving the second row bench for a total of five seats.

Rear seat configurations are new for 2017. The second row can be had as a three-person bench seat or as two captains chairs. The third row is optional and seats two passengers. Entry and exists into the third row are made easier thanks to a new track system for the second row seats. The seats can even lean forward and slide with a forward-facing child seat fully attached. Unfortunately the All Terrain trim eliminates the third row option, leaving the second row bench for a total of five seats. The Acadia offers 79 cubic feet of cargo room with both the second and third rows folded flat.

Technology abounds in the cabin, as well. The latest version of IntelliLink is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. The backup camera now has Tow Vision Trailering – a system GMC has to help hitching a trailer simpler and keeping an eye on it while on the road. Forgetful parents will love the new rear seat alert. It reminds the driver when an item is left sitting in the back seats – say your kid. That feature comes standard.

Drivetrain

There’s big news under the hood. GMC has added a new engine, a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Official specs haven’t been released, but the engine is rumored to be making 194 horsepower. That seems rather underpowered for a 4,600-pound crossover, but GM is counting on the eco-conscience to stick with the standard engine.

GM’s early estimates peg the four-cylinder at getting 22 mpg city and 28 mpg on the highway. The engine also boasts GM’s first application of a start/stop system. Designed to save fuel at red lights and in traffic jams, the engine will automatically turn off when the vehicle is stopped, and automatically restart when the brake pedal is released. All the ancillary items like air conditioning remain working.

Thankfully Acadia buyers can option up to a revised version of the familiar 3.6-liter V-6. Now making 310 horsepower, up from 288, the engine will be the heavy lifter while still getting an estimated 25 mpg on the highway. Maximum towing and payload ratings will come with the V-6. Speaking of which, GMC estimates the Acadia can tow roughly 4,000 pounds, down from 5,200 pounds from last year.

Every Acadia comes with a drive mode selector, letting the driver dial in the proper powertrain settings for various terrains.

Power is sent to the front wheels as standard, but for those needing AWD, the Acadia’s optional system engages with the simple turn of a dial. There’s no automatic mode, but the driver can choose between FWD and AWD on the fly. GMC recommends leaving the system in FWD for fuel savings until road conditions necessitates AWD. That changes for the Acadia All Terrain, however.

The All Terrain’s AWD system is far more complex. The transfer case has an Active Twin Clutch design that is said to optimize traction for all conditions. Not only does it help in adverse conditions, the AWD system is said to help in dry-weather performance.

Every Acadia comes with a drive mode selector, letting the driver dial in the proper powertrain settings for various terrains. SLE, SLT, and Denali trims come with Normal (FWD or AWD disconnect), 4x4 (AWD models only), Snow, Sport, and Tow/Haul modes. The All Terrain model adds an Off-Road setting that helps with steep hill climbs and other treacherous terrain.

Both engines will come mated to GM’s six-speed automatic transmission.

Safety

GMC has loaded the Acadia full of safety equipment and features. It starts with the new high-strength steel chassis and body structure. Not only is it lighter, but it’s stronger than before. The bevy of passive safety features likely carry over, though GMC didn’t make mention of it at Detroit. Those include things like dual front airbags, three-row side curtain airbags, and front torso airbags.

On the Active side, the Acadia boasts a laundry list of equipment. The list includes Front Pedestrian Braking Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking, Surround Vision Camera System, Forward Collision Alert with automatic braking, Lane Keep Assist with Departure Warning, Lane Change Alert with Slide Blind Zone Alert, and front and rear parking assist.

Prices

GMC has realigned the pricing range for the Acadia. For 2017, prices drop by $1,905 from the previous-generation crossover, giving the base SL-trimmed Acadia a starting price of $29,995. At the other end of the spectrum, the Acadia Denali with AWD starts at $47,845, before options. Having the range-topping model start under $50,000 is a real bonus for GMC, as it should attract customers cross shopping against more premium automakers.

Model Price
Acadia SL FWD $29,995
Acadia SLE FWD $33,375
Acadia SLE AWD $35,375
Acadia SLT FWD $39,275
Acadia SLT AWD $42,375
Acadia All Terrain AWD $40,040
Acadia Denali FWD $45,845
Acadia Denali AWD $47,845

Competition

2016 Honda Pilot

2016 Honda Pilot Exterior
- image 616645

The popular Honda Pilot is all new for 2016. With that comes a fresh exterior design and more functional interior – both departing from the overly square design from the previous generation.

The new Pilot uses an updated 3.5-liter V-6 that has cylinder deactivation and a stop/start system. The old five-speed auto is replaced with a six-speed, furthering the fuel efficiency. Both FWD and AWD is offered.

Though the Honda is a solid competitor in seat count and functionality, it doesn’t offer the blinged-out luxury feel of the Acadia. For some, that’s a good thing. For those wanting a baby Escalade, the Honda may feel drab.

Pricing starts at $29,995 and crests into the middle $40,000 range for the range-topping Elite trim with AWD.

Read our full review on the Honda Pilot here.

2016 Toyota Highlander

2014 Toyota Highlander High Resolution Exterior
- image 499496

Like the Pilot, the Highlander is a more understated vehicle, though no less competitive against the Acadia. Offering three rows of seating, room for eight, and a generous cargo hold, the Highlander is perfect for active families seeking something other than a minivan. The interior is typical Toyota, offering good materials with decent fitment, along with the Entune infotainment system and a small driver information screen in the gauge cluster.

The Toyota comes with three optional powertrains that include a 2.7-liter four-cylinder, a 3.5-liter V-6, and a hybrid version that utilized the V-6 and an electric motor. Like its competition, FWD is standard while AWD comes as an optional extra.

Prices for the Highlander start at $29,020 and follow the Pilot well into the mid-$40,000 range.

Read our full review on the Toyota Highlander here.

Conclusion

2017 GMC Acadia
- image 661070

The 2017 GMC Acadia is certainly different from the first-generation version. Smaller, fewer seats, a four-cylinder engine, and less towing capacity move the crossover further away from its Yukon big brother. But perhaps that is what’s needed. Making the Acadia a more nimble, easier-to-drive vehicle with more luxury features will surely attract modern buyers. After all, GMC still offers its hardy, traditionalistic, body-on-frame Yukon and Yukon XL SUVs.

We look forward to getting behind the wheel and testing GMC’s claims about the improved driving dynamics. It will also be interesting to test the new 2.5-liter four-cylinder. Let’s hope we’re impressed because these same changes are likely to befall the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave in the coming months.

  • Leave it
    • * Smaller, less truck-like than before
    • * Will the four-cylinder be a penalty box?

Update History

Updated 01/12/2016: GMC has officially debuted the 2017 Acadia at the 2016 NAIAS. It rides on an all-new platform, comes with a new engine, and offers more luxury than before.

Press Release

GMC today introduced the all-new 2017 Acadia – a reimagined crossover aimed at the heart of the midsize segment, designed to offer great versatility and refinement, with more advanced safety technologies.

The new Acadia offers more-efficient powertrains, while continuing to offer three rows of seating on most models. The premium Acadia Denali returns, along with a new All Terrain model offering enhanced off-road capability.

“GMC is a strong, growing premium brand and the Acadia is a cornerstone of our success story,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of GMC Sales and Marketing. “The all-new Acadia leverages GMC’s proven SUV experience to take on and shake up one of the largest vehicle segments, with a strong blend of design, technology and capability.”

The new Acadia goes on sale this spring, almost a decade after its original introduction, and coming off of its strongest sales year ever in 2015 with 96,393 deliveries.

“Typically, a vehicle’s sales can be illustrated on a bell curve during its lifecycle, but the Acadia’s success has defied convention with impressive sustainability,” said Aldred. “It’s a shining example of GMC’s momentum and we’re confident it will grow with the new Acadia.”

New size, bigger advantages
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, while offering greater maneuverability than the first-generation model.

“The new Acadia captures a greater feeling of refinement, in everything from the responsive feeling behind the wheel to the way passengers interact with its intuitive features,” said Rick Spina, executive chief engineer for compact and crossover SUVs at General Motors. “It’s a vehicle that offers the functionality Acadia is known for, while delivering big advantages and balance to customers’ everyday lives.”

The new Acadia is 700 pounds lighter than the current model, which pays dividends at the gas pump. A new, 2.5L engine is standard, offering an estimated 28 mpg on the highway for FWD models (EPA estimate not yet available; estimate is based on GM testing). 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.

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 (231 kW) and 25 mpg highway (FWD models – EPA estimate not available).

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.

Legacy of functionality and spaciousness
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 and when the second row is also folded, there’s 79 cubic feet (2,237 liters) of cargo room. Levers at the rear of the vehicle make it easier to fold the second- and third-row seats.

Additional solutions range from simple to technologically advanced. The rear of the center console, for example, features a unique pull-out storage drawer. It is accessible to rear-seat passengers and allows items such as electronic devices and small toys to be stored out of sight, for greater security and reduced clutter.

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. Additionally, all three rows offer USB charge ports for compatible electronic devices.

Design evolution
The new Acadia offers a greater emphasis on refinement, while remaining instantly recognizable with an evolution of the vehicle’s signature, professional grade design cues such as a chrome-trimmed grille, squared off and flared wheel arches and wraparound rear side windows with dark D-pillars.

“It’s a confident design influenced by extensive customer input,” said Helen Emsley, executive director, Global GMC Design and User Experience. “The original Acadia was very truck-inspired, but the new model has a decidedly SUV influence conveyed in sculptural details, softened corners and a sleeker windshield angle.”

New dimensional grilles and wraparound headlamps – HID lamps on Denali and halogen projectors on other models – reinforce the confident, refined appearance, while standard LED signature lighting on all models reflect GMC’s premium attributes. Complementing C-shape rear lighting graphics add a cohesive detail to the design.

Premium cues distinguish the Acadia Denali. Like all Denali models, it features a dimensional chrome grille, along with integrated chrome side trim, chrome-accented door handles, a chrome lower-rear fascia and specific six-spoke wheels.

Inside, all Acadia trim levels feature unique interior color and trim combinations and incorporate authentic aluminum trim.

Latest safety and connectivity technologies
As a contemporary crossover designed for families on the go, 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
New Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking (standard on SLT-2 and Denali)
New Forward Automatic Braking (available on Denali)
New Following Distance Indicator
New IntelliBeam automatic headlamp high-beam control
New Surround Vision camera system
New Safety Alert Seat
Forward Collision Alert
Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning
Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert
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.

And when it comes to connectivity, the Acadia is plugged in with available phone integration technology through GMC’s available IntelliLink system. It offers support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, making it easy to connect to some of the features smartphone users rely on most. (Vehicle user interfaces are products of Apple and Google and require a compatible smartphone and adherence to data plan rates, terms and privacy statements.)

Additionally, 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.

New foundation and driving dynamics
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 maneuverability, for easier turning in parking decks and easier parking in home garages.

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 (318 kg), compared to the current model.

New splayed front frame rails also contribute to crashworthiness. They flare outward to provide effective folding and crushing performance during small overlap frontal crash situations.

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 (2x4), Snow, Sport and Trailer/Tow modes, while AWD models offer 2x4 (AWD disconnect), 4x4, 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 4x4 mode.

Additional chassis and driving dynamics features include:

MacPherson strut front suspension
Five-link rear suspension
Rack-mounted electric power steering system
Four-wheel disc brakes with Duralife rotors
Electronic park brake
Available electronically controlled continuous damping system.

All Terrain
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 it encounters. 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 All Terrain interior accents and covered storage bins in the rear cargo floor in place of a third-row seat.

Manufacturing
The 2017 GMC Acadia will be produced at General Motors’ Spring Hill (Tenn.) assembly facility, with globally sourced parts.

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