DETROIT – For years now, the GMC Acadia has been an outlier in the ultra-hot crossover segment. The reason? Size. The 2016 Acadia was more than 200 inches long, rode on a full-size 118.9-inch wheelbase and weighed in at over 4,600 pounds. It was a formula that worked, though, as GMC sold a record number of Acadias in 2015.
The 2017 GMC Acadia, which debuted today at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show and goes on sale this spring, changes the game.
For 2017, the Acadia is smaller in nearly every dimension. The wheelbase and overall length are both down more than 6 inches. It’s 3.5 inches narrower and just over 3 inches shorter. It’s also 700 pounds lighter.
All of these figures put the 2017 Acadia right in line with the big players in the three-row crossover crowd, specifically the new Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander.
As the new car is considerably lighter than before, less power is required to move it. With that in mind, GM has fitted the new Acadia with a four-cylinder base engine rated at 194 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder returns 22 mpg city and 28 mpg highway, according to GM’s estimates.
For Acadia owners who want a little more power in reserve, there’s an optional 3.6-liter V6 that makes 310 hp. According to GM, it gets only 17 city/25 highway mpg. Both powertrains are fitted with a six-speed automatic that send power to the front wheels. All-wheel drive is optional.
New for 2017 is a trim level called All Terrain. It comes with an advanced twin-clutch all-wheel-drive system made for slippery conditions. This model is only available as a five-seater, as covered storage bins are recessed into the rear floor.
As with most full redesigns, the new Acadia is a safer car than the one it replaces. A new frame design contributes to better performance in small-overlap crash tests and the list of advanced safety features is exhaustive.
Some highlights include new front pedestrian braking, low-speed forward automatic braking, forward automatic braking (on Denali), a surround-vision camera, forward collision alert, lane keeping assist and alert and front and rear parking sensors.
Of course, you can’t reduce a vehicle’s size this much without some sacrifices, and those largely come in terms of cargo storage space. With the second and third rows folded flat, the new Acadia has 79 cubic feet of cargo space. The old Acadia had a massive 116.1 cubic feet of space with all seats flat.
Actual passenger space, however, doesn’t feel compromised in the first or second rows. Smarter packaging has opened up the interior to make better use of the more limited space. The 2017 GMC Acadia will offer three seating configurations ranging from five to seven passengers.
The new interior is finished much like other vehicles in GM’s lineup. There are oodles of aluminum trim inside, a large touchscreen infotainment system and a sharp digital instrument panel.
Edmunds says: GMC is taking a huge gamble by moving the Acadia into a more competitive space, but from everything we’ve seen, it looks like it will pay off.