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Vehicle Overview After nine years in production, GMC has finally given its midsize SUV a full redesign. The 2017 GMC Acadia is quite a bit smaller than its predecessor, but what it loses in size, it makes up for with improvements elsewhere. Compared to the last Acadia, the 2017 model is 7.2 inches shorter in overall length, 3.5 inches narrower and 6.6 inches shorter in height. These changes translate to a reduction in passenger and cargo space, but it still remains competitive with other midsize SUVs.
The 2017 Acadia is also some 700 pounds lighter, which improves fuel economy. With the smaller footprint and weight reduction, it's easier to maneuver and corners with added confidence. A V6 engine is still available, along with a new base four-cylinder engine for maximum efficiency.
Also new for 2017 is an All-Terrain model. Contrary to its name, it is limited to light off-roading. It also does away with the third row of seats for added cargo capacity.
With all of the changes and improvements, the 2017 GMC Acadia is once again competitive in a field of strong SUVs. We consider the Honda Pilot, Mazda CX-9 and Toyota Highlander as class leaders, with the Acadia having the potential to break into this club.
Performance and MPG The 2017 GMC Acadia's base engine for SL, SLE and SLT1 trims is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 194 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic is the only available transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard for all Acadia models, while all-wheel drive is available on all but the base SL trim. The EPA estimates fuel economy for this engine at 23 mpg combined (21 city/26 highway) with front-wheel drive and 23 mpg combined (21 city/25 highway) with all-wheel drive.
A 3.6-liter V6 that makes 310 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque is available on SLE2 and SLT1 trims and standard on higher trims (mandatory with AWD for SLT2 and Denali). This engine benefits from automatic cylinder deactivation that conserves fuel by shutting down some cylinders when cruising on the highway. Fuel economy is estimated at 21 mpg combined (18/25) with front-wheel drive and 20 mpg combined (18/25) with AWD.
Properly equipped, the V6-powered Acadia can tow up to 4,000 pounds.
Safety Standard safety features for all 2017 GMC Acadias include antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, an inboard airbag for the driver, OnStar emergency telematics and a system that reminds the driver to check the backseats for passengers before leaving.
The Driver Alert package I is available on the SLE2 trim and standard on the SLT1 and includes a blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alerts and rear parking sensors. The Driver Alert package II is standard on SLT2 and Denali trims and includes the Driver Alert I features along with lane keep assist, low-speed frontal collision mitigation, automatic high beams, front parking sensors and a safety alert driver seat that buzzes when alerts are triggered.
Additional Information The 2017 GMC Acadia represents something of an anomaly in the automotive world. Usually when a vehicle is redesigned it becomes bigger and heavier than it was before. Yet after being produced for nearly a decade, the previous generation of the Acadia has given way to a lighter and trimmer version for 2017. Measuring 7.2 inches shorter in length, 6.6 inches shorter in height and 3.5 inches narrower in width, the latest Acadia loses some passenger and cargo space but makes notable gains in overall maneuverability and parking ease. Dropping a whopping 700 pounds in curb weight also benefits the midsize crossover SUV, improving both fuel economy and handling.
Although the cabin may not be as voluminous as before, there is still plenty of room in the first and second row seats. The third row, however, is best left for the little ones. Depending on trim level, the 2017 GMC Acadia can seat anywhere from 5 to 7 people. Those trim levels range from the base SL to the plush Denali, with the SLE and SLT filling in between them. Fitted with quality materials, the Acadia's interior has both a pleasing design and sound ergonomics. The infotainment system is easy to use thanks to its large virtual buttons and simple graphics.
Even the entry-level SL comes standard with plenty of family friendly features, including built-in Wi-Fi, triple-zone climate control and a rearview camera. Perks of the high-end Denali include xenon headlights, a hands-free power liftgate and heated/ventilated front seats. An All-Terrain package which features hill descent control and a more advanced all-wheel-drive system, is available on certain trims. Despite that moniker, however, an Acadia so-equipped is still limited to lighter duty off-road work.
A four-cylinder engine with 194 horsepower serves as the base power plant which, along with that big weight loss, optimizes fuel economy. Performance is adequate, though under hard acceleration (such as when merging or passing) it can sound and feel strained. Those who plan on regularly filling the seats, carrying heavy loads or towing anything should consider the uplevel 310-horsepower V6. Front-wheel drive (FWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) are both available. Fuel economy is respectable with EPA estimates ranging from 20 mpg combined (18 city/25 highway) for the V6 with AWD up to 23 mpg combined (21 city/26 highway) with the four cylinder and FWD.
Given how much improved the Acadia is this year, it may factor into your short list of midsize crossover SUV choices. If so, Edmunds is ready to help you find the 2017 GMC Acadia that's just right for you and your family.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.