2017 GMC Acadia review: Pricey people-mover

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Looking at the specs, you’d figure a sub-200-hp three-row SUV would be a total pig, but the Acadia manages to surprise with decent performance thanks in part to a curb weight under two tons and front-wheel drive. I actually prefer it to the V6 AWD Denali model I drove a month ago, plus this one comes in a whopping $17K cheaper. I’m sure there was some content missing, but I didn’t really notice — that’s more a criticism of the bland Denali trim than a knock at the basic Acadia. Fuel economy was also right in line with specs, averaging about 24 mpg, though I was mostly by myself behind the wheel.

That’s the good. The bad is that I’m having trouble understanding what makes even this less-pricey Acadia so damn expensive. Our tester was nearly $41K, and that’s for front-wheel drive, an unremarkable powertrain and uninspired interior. Scanning the competition, a front-drive Explorer XLT comparably equipped (leather, heated seats, etc) is roomier, nets you a V6 engine and still saves buyers more than $4,000. A Toyota Highlander XLE with V6 and front-drive is $2K cheaper (and you can get into a four-cylinder Highlander for about $32K if you want to skip some of the luxe).

I suppose GMC is trying to profit off the “Professional Grade” reputation, but professionals do their homework; other manufacturers are offering more for the money.

–Andrew Stoy, digital editor

2017 GMC Acadia review with horsepower, pricing and specs

The 2017 GMC Acadia sports a new platform and a substantial weight loss.


I’d agree with Andy in that I didn’t find this Acadia underpowered except for the few times when traffic went from a standstill back to freeway speeds. And I averaged about 25 mpg on my way home too, which is stupendous for a three-row SUV. The six-speed automatic transmission plays nicely with the four-cylinder engine; it didn’t get hung up or switch gears too early. I didn’t notice any driving difference in sport mode either, so maybe I was just driving it hard the whole time.

As far as GMC SUVs go, I like the Terrain’s looks more than the Acadia. Its boxy style suits me better. But this Acadia is an improvement — way better than the last generation. It sort of reminds me of an old Saab SUV from the three-quarter view.

The cabin is adequate, nothing special. I found a comfortable seating position, the seats were soft enough and the Apple CarPlay worked as advertised. There’s a good bit of soft-touch rubber on the interior surfaces, plus plenty of storage cubbies for phones and junk, and visibility is good from the high perch.

–Jake Lingeman, road test editor

Andrew Stoy

Andrew Stoy – Digital editor Andrew Stoy has spent the past 20 years wrenching on and writing about cars. He’s worked everywhere from dealer service bays to the headquarters of the world’s largest automakers. Read more »
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On Sale: Now

Base Price: $39,275

As Tested Price: $40,515

Drivetrain: 2.5-liter DOHC I4, FWD, six-speed automatic

Output: 193 hp @ 6,300 rpm; 188 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm

Curb Weight: 3,956 lb

Fuel Economy: 21/26/23 mpg(EPA City/Hwy/Combined)

Options: Audio system with 8-inch color, touch, navigation screen with Intellilink ($495); dark sapphire blue metallic ($395); trailer hitch ($350)

Pros: 25 mpg or more if you can keep your foot light

Cons: There are better and cheaper options in this crowded segment

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