2017 GMC Acadia Denali AWD [Review]: Narrower, Lighter, Shorter, Yet Just As Functional

The 2017 All-New GMC Acadia, Denali edition.
[photo: GM]


The 2017 GMC Acadia emerges as a re-imagined midsize crossover with an expanded availability of safety features. The Acadia, while reduced in stature promises to remain as one of GMC’s strongest selling vehicles. It is all-new, and when compared to its predecessor, the wheelbase is 6.4-inches shorter, the length overall is 7.2-inches less, its width is reduced by 3.5-inches, and it has shed an astonishing 700 pounds. This smaller exterior translates into a more compact interior. Hip, shoulder and legroom are now less than before, except for the second row leg and headroom in Acadias without a sunroof.

The biggest hit? Rear cargo space, which shrinks from a 116 cubic foot maximum with second and third row seats folded flat, to only 79 cubic feet.

Yet the new Acadia doesn’t really feel smaller or cramped. It’s simply cozier and more manageable. It can still seat up to 7-passengers, and it will come in six levels of trim: the base SL, SLE-1, SLE-2, SLT-1, SLT-2 and the top-of-the-line Denali.

TFLCAR’s TAKE: The 2017 Acadia delivers everything one would expect from a midsize crossover SUV. In the final analysis, if you’re in the market for a mid sized SUV, it’s on par with other marketplace competitors, and if there’s something that it doesn’t have, chances are you probably don’t really need it. Keep reading to find out why.


The 2017 GMC Acadia’s All Terrain model nixes the 3rd row for more cargo-hauling capacity.
[photo: GM]
The original first generation Acadia was more truck inspired than the new 2017 model, which projects more of an SUV influence, with its sculptural details, rounded corners and a more sharply raked windshield angle. New dimensional grilles and wraparound headlamps — HID lamps on Denali and halogen projectors on other models — deliver a confident, refined appearance, while standard LED signature lighting on all models reflects GMC’s premium position. C-shape rear lighting graphics complement the design detail. Premium cues distinguish the Acadia Denali, which features a specific chrome grille, along with integrated chrome side trim, chrome-accented door handles, a chrome lower-rear fascia and specific six-spoke wheels.

2017 GMC Acadia Denali comes with a 3.6-liter V6 good for 310 hp.
[photo: Arv Voss]


The Acadia’s base powerplant is a 193-horsepower, 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder that mates to a six-speed automatic transmission and either FWD or AWD. For SLE-2 and higher trim levels, a newer 3.6-liter, DOHC 24-valve, SIDI V6 engine with VVT and E10 fuel capability is available, which also mates to a six-speed automatic transmission that sends power to either the front wheels or all four. It produces 310 horses at 6,600 rpm along with 271 pound feet of torque at 5,000 rpm.

The 3.6-liter V6 engine delivers more than enough power to the driving wheels, with smooth shifts up and down from the six-speed automatic gearbox. Handling characteristics lean to the sporty side of the scale, thanks in no small part to the reduced footprint and mass. The ride quality is quite comfortable with a firm but smooth and stable feel, with the Chassis Continuously Variable Real Time Damping system.

The 7-inch touchscreen on the GMC Acadia connects with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.
[photo: Arv Voss]


Inside, all Acadia trim levels feature unique interior color and trim combinations and incorporate authentic aluminum trim. The Acadia features a premium cloth interior with a 60/40 split-folding second-row seat and a 50/50 split folding third-row bench seat. Second-row captain’s chairs are optionally available, reducing the passenger capacity to 6.

Standard features include tri-zone automatic climate control and remote keyless entry. Available features include leather upholstery, heated/ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, remote vehicle start, an automatic dimming rearview mirror, a memory seat, and a power moonroof. The 5-passenger All-Terrain Package conversion (not tested) comes with a dual clutch AWD system and has a 2-3 seating configuration with a second-row, 40/20/40 split-folding bench seat.

For connectivity, the center stack features a standard IntelliLink multimedia system that includes 7-inch touchscreen, a satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity for phone and audio, OnStar 4G LTE connectivity with Wi-Fi hotspot, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility.

The captain’s chair seating in the 2017 Acadia’s 2nd row offer plenty of leg and headroom. 
[photo: Arv Voss]
The menu of standard safety features includes: a backup camera and a tire pressure monitoring system. Available features include surround view camera, a blindspot monitoring system, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear park assist, forward collision alert, and low-speed automatic braking.

TEST VEHICLE MSRP:  My test GMC Acadia was an AWD model in Denali trim with a base price was set at $46,920. Adding the Technology Package, Chassis Continuously Variable Real Time Damping, special metallic paint and Destination Charge elevated the final sticker to $50,785.


• Styling – 5 Stars
• Performance – 5 Stars
• Utility – 5 Stars
• Comfort and Convenience – 5 Stars
• Economy – 4.5 Stars
• Value and Competition – 4.5 Stars


  • Engine Type and Size: 3.6-liter, DOHC 24-valve, SIDI V6.with VVT., E10 fuel capable.
  • Horsepower (bhp): 310 @ 6,600 rpm
  • Torque (ft./ lbs.): 271 @ 5,000 rpm
  • EPA Mileage Estimates: 18 mpg city / 25-mpg highway
  • 0 – 60 mph: 6.1 seconds
  • Fuel Capacity: 19.0 gallons
  • Transmission: Hydra-Matic6T70 six-speed automatic.
  • Drive Train: Longitudinally front mounted engine / AWD
  • Tires: Michelin Premier LTX 235/55 R20 102H