TEST DRIVE REVIEW: Getting Rugged in the GMC Acadia AWD, the American Zombie Fighter

By Michele Spencer

There aren’t a lot of crossovers that can be called heavy duty crossovers, but this one qualifies.  GMC is ready for the zombie apocalypse with this 6 person people-and-stuff hauler that’s capable of more than urban adventures – mostly because of its torque-vectoring rear axle.  The vehicle apportions torque between the drive wheels on an axle to help rotate around a turn.  The speed of the inside wheel gets reduced at the same time the torque is maximized on the outside wheel, which is what you want to perform in turns without that typical SUV tippy feel.  This technology used to be the bastion of performance cars, so it’s quite a shock to find it on the humble GMC Acadia.  That’s why this crossover is a breakout for the segment.

2018-gmc-acadia-awd
Drop the third row to go from 12.8 SF to 41.7 SF of cargo space.

 

Check out the cargo area stats, and be further blown away:  41.7 cf with the 3rd row seats down, 12.8 with them up.   It’s not overly tall, at 66 inches, slender enough to slink through the city at 75.4 inches wide, and 193.6 long.  Betting it fits fine in most garages.

This beastie handled the streets and freeways of Los Angeles for over two hours in the worst rainstorm of the season.  Nasty wet weather barely registered a blip on the Acadia All Terrain’s radar.  Also amazing was the fuel economy:  I got 24.3 MPG in a combination of moderate highway speed travel and mild stop and go traffic conditions, beating the EPA/DOT estimates.

Trying out the sport mode in the Acadia was fun.  Easily switch between modes with the dial knob and you’re off, since there’s 310 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque at your disposal.  In addition to the all-wheel drive system, there’s hill descent control available in the All-Terrain trim package.

There is a gap in between the second row seats, which makes it feel very elbow-roomy for the riders in the back, but that limits capacity to 6 instead of 7, if that’s a concern.  While the second row area is very roomy, the third row is really only going to be comfortable for two kids or petite adults.

As tested, the Acadia came with all weather floor mats, which fit its rugged nature and told you that this SUV is made for off-road adventures, as if you couldn’t already tell from the roof rack and rails.

Meanwhile in the cabin, the driver and front passenger have heated seats, leather, and Bose premium sound.

The safety features on all trim levels are state of the art and include a driver alert, rear park assist, rear cross traffic alert, and lane change alert.  It could have used a front or side camera, however.

Paired with handsome, rugged looks, and superior maneuverability in the super-competitive cutthroat crossover SUV segment, this is a family crossover that’s flying under the radar.  Who knows why, though.  It deserves to be a top seller for GMC, but there’s no need to wait for the zombies to invade.   Grab your twinkies and run down to the GMC dealer.

2018 GMC ACADIA AWD SLT-1

  • Engine: 3.6 liter V6 DOHC
  • Airbags: front and side impact for driver and passenger, side impact and knee for driver, and head curtain side impact for all rows
  • Brakes:  4 wheel disc, antilock brake system
  • Remote vehicle start, Teen Driver tech, rear park assist, rear cross traffic alert, and lane change alert
  • Spare tire
  • Wheels:  18 inch aluminum (20 inch wheels are available as part of the All-Terrain package; see below.)
  • Leather seats, leather steering wheel, heated seats for driver and front passenger
  • Sound:  Bose premium 8 speaker audio system
  • Warranty:  5 year/60,000 miles
  • EPA:  17 mpg city, 25 highway, 20 combined
  • Price:  As tested, $48,435.00, including destination charge from Tennessee $975.00
  • Five star government crash test safety ratings

The tester was equipped with the All Terrain Package ($1800.00):

  • All wheel drive system, hill descent control, 20 inch aluminum wheels, black roof rails.

The tester was equipped with the dual skyscape sunroof ($1400.00).

The tester was also equipped with the Exterior Convenience Package ($860.00):

  • Roof rack cross rails, molded assist steps.

Also available:  Trailering Package with active tow ($650.00), Navigation ($495.00), and complete set of all-weather floor and cargo mats ($300.00).

 

 

 

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