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Model Tested: GMC Acadia Denali

Competition in its
: Buick Enclave, Lincoln MKT, Honda Pilot, Ford Flex
MSRP for the model
: $63,625

The GMC Acadia is one gorgeous ride, inside and out. My
initial impression was that it is quite similar in appearance to the Buick
Enclave, both in its interior features and handling. Similarly to the Enclave,
the Acadia, depending on which configuration is chosen, is either an 8 or
7-seater (optional two split-folding benches or second-row captain’s chairs).


The Denali – which is the high-end package available – comes
fully equipped with all the bells and whistles and then some like:

  • heated and cooled leather seating,
  • leather-wrapped steering wheel with mahogany wood inserts,
  • Dual SkyScape sunroof system;
  • Head-Up Display instrumentation.

Head-Up Display instrumentation, if you’re wondering, is a
feature which allows for the speedometer and or tachometer to be displayed on
the windshield allowing the driver to see their speed without looking down. I
personally enjoyed this feature, while my husband found it distracting.
Thankfully, it can be de-activated by the turn of a dial.

While the Denali package boasts quite a few additional
perks, the Acadia comes in five trim levels: SL, SLE-1, SLE-2, SLT-1, SLT-2 and

The SLE-1 trim package offers a great deal of, what I have
now deem necessary, features (See, I’ve been so spoiled) like:

  • Remote keyless entry
  • Power windows, door locks and exterior mirrors
  • 6-speaker stereo system and XM radio

The SLE-2 trim-level package adds features such as heated
power exterior mirrors (LOVE!), rear parking assist (also LOVE!), remote start
(Um. Necessity.) and hands-free Bluetooth connectivity.

As with all GM vehicles, the Acadia includes a 6-month
subscription to OnStar with Directions and Turn-by-Turn Navigation.


The Acadia interior is very spacious, comfortable with an
attractive two-tone layout and wood finishes. I know I griped about the
mahogany in the Enclave, but I actually really like the look of the dark,
almost black finishes of this test vehicle; it was classic and refined, not too


The third-row 60/40 split bench is actually more comfortable
than it looks. Upon first glace it struck me as an afterthought; it looked like
your typical jump-seat-variety third row, but it’s actually adult-friendly!
It’s quite comfortable with enough legroom to seat an adult for a short to
mid-length road trip. My only gripe being that there is only a LATCH system
available on one side for car seats, much to the dismay of both my boys.

When the third row isn’t needed, it’s easily stored
providing an over-sized storage area large enough for a couple suitcases and
the family dog to travel comfortably.


The Denali-specific honeycomb grille and unique front and rear fasciae are quite eye-catching and transform this model from its classic SUV appearance into a luxurious and sporty-looking ride, which is on par with those SUVs typically associated with luxury, like the Escalade. 

Overall, I was quite impressed with the Acadia and have recommended it to a few friends who are currently in the market for a larger SUV with the capability to handle a large-ish (more than 6) family. I, personally had a hard time returning this one to the dealership. 

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