GMC adds the two-row off-road All Terrain to an Acadia lineup that is smaller, lighter, and faster
Our first drive of the 2017 GMC Acadia was in the pouring rain in Washington, D.C., ending the day in a downpour so heavy you could barely see the car in front of you on the highway. The rain washed out the off-road track designed to show the mild capabilities of the All Terrain, the new two-row off-road addition to the family of three-row crossovers.
The conditions were in sharp contrast to our subsequent testing of the All Terrain in the high heat of California in August. The crossover underwent the usual battery of tests at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana and then headed to Mojave to be put through the paces in triple-digit temperatures on a high-speed oval, a handling course, an off-road course, a gravel road, and a road loop covering a variety of surfaces.
With more information under our belts, we continue to enjoy the new platform that the Acadia shares with the Cadillac XT5, taking it from a full-size eight-passenger vehicle to a more midsize crossover that seats from five to seven, depending on the trim level. The All Terrain is the only two-row, five-passenger variant and enjoys ample back-seat room as a result, another feature we applaud.
Our test vehicle has a price tag of $47,465 USD, and it pairs a 3.6-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 310 horsepower and 271 lb-ft of torque with a six-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive.
The 2017 Acadia is smaller in every dimension, and weighing in at 4,305 pounds (1952.7 kg), it sheds about 740 pounds (335.7 kg) from the outgoing model. The change is reflected in its 0–60 time of 6.7 seconds and the 15.3 seconds at 92.6 mph (149 km/h) it takes to complete the quarter mile. The last time we tested this vehicle was a decade ago. The 2007 Acadia, a full-size crossover weighing in at 5,044 pounds (2288 kg), took a full 8.2 seconds to hit 60 mph and 16.4 seconds to do the quarter mile.
The new Acadia All Terrain is also faster than the 2017 Mazda CX-9 Signature, which took 7.4 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph, or the Touring model, which took 7.5 seconds. And it beats the 2017 Toyota Highlander, which took 7.2 seconds to hit 60 mph and 15.5 seconds to do the quarter mile. But the Cadillac XT5, its platform sibling, posted better times with 6.4 seconds for the front-drive model and 6.5 seconds with all-wheel drive.
GMC’s certified fuel economy for the Acadia is 18/25 mpg (13.1/9.4 L/100km) in city/highway driving. Our testing found the All Terrain got 16.9 mph (27.2 km/h) in the city and 24.4 mpg (9.6 L/100km) on the highway for a combined 19.6 mpg (12 L/100km).
Moving to a new platform has given the Acadia a much better suspension and improved ride and handling. It sops up uneven surfaces with minimal head toss. Being smaller makes it more nimble and better able to grip the road. It has cruise control, but it does not hold its speed when accelerating down a hill.
Styling is true to the GMC brand. People won’t mistake this for a Chevy but may be confused by its new size. The interior is quite handsome with butterscotch seats and dash stitching, but the center stack shows continued raiding of the GM parts bin.
Because the All Terrain drops the third row, it is quite spacious. The second row now folds flat with the pull of a lever in the trunk to reveal a huge, flat load floor. There is ample trunk space with the rear seats up, as well—space that a third row eats up. We also like the twin sunroofs.
One of the biggest criticisms is the AWD select knob, which takes more effort than it should to switch modes, and it’s hard to figure out which one was selected because the symbols are hard to decipher and nothing in the instrument cluster shows which mode you’re in. The only way to tell AWD is on without looking down at the switch is to go to the off-road menu. We envision drivers getting stuck in the snow their first winter because they forgot to switch into AWD. In an era where computers can detect your terrain and engage or disengage AWD as needed, it is hard to understand why GMC made this so difficult for the user.
But for the buyer who wants some limited off-road capability and prefers extra room over a third row of seats, this is a good daily driver for whatever your lifestyle all seven days of the week.
|2017 GMC Acadia All Terrain (SLT-1)|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$47,115|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV|
|ENGINE||3.6L/310-hp/271-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||4,305 lb (57/43%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||193.6 x 75.4 x 68.7 in|
|0-60 MPH||6.7 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||15.3 sec @ 92.6 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||126 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.82 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||26.9 sec @ 0.67 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||18/25/20 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||187/135 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.94 lb/mile|