They say time flies, and apparently that’s not the case with the GMC Acadia. After a decade on the market, the crossover is being replaced by the entirely new, smaller 2017 Acadia. The new version has slimmed up, amped up the technology and is going to provide buyers with more choices than today’s version.
The 2017 model starts with an all-new architecture. Internally GM refers to this architecture as the “Chi” or “C1xx” platform. Essentially it is the crossover version of the Epsilon midsize car architecture and is designed to indirectly replace the Lambda chassis that underpins today’s Acadia. As such, this platform has caused the Acadia to shrink in size — about seven inches in length and three inches in width versus the old one. Smaller dimensions paired with a new chassis also yield an Acadia that’s an impressive 700 pounds lighter, which is welcomed given how porky the current one is.
From an exterior perspective, the Acadia is sporting GMC’s latest dubs. Of course, this includes truck/SUV like lines and the brand’s now signature C-clamp shaped LED accents. Additionally, GMC says they’ve purposely attempted to transition the Acadia to look more like and SUV than a crossover, which is not all that surprising when we go into the next part of this vehicle.
Along with a 2017 Acadia Denali, there will also be a 2017 Acadia All-Terrain. What’s interesting to note about this is that GMC is itemizing the All-Terrain as a sub-brand, just as they do the Denali. Historically the All-Terrain moniker has been reserved to discussion as a trim level and nothing more. Nonetheless, Acadia All-Terrain has a unique look both inside and out, and also includes an “Off-Road” setting on the drive mode selector. The off-road mode is exclusive to All-Terrain. GMC says this mode will provide greater control for hill-climb situations.
Acadia’s new dual-clutch all-wheel drive system also allows the driver to fully disengage the system to a proper 2×4 mode, or engage it in all-time 4×4 mode. This is unique amongst GM crossovers and definitely goes along with the SUV theme of this new Acadia.
Acadia Denali takes things up a notch with a continuously variable ride control suspension, similar to how Yukon Denali offers Magnetic Ride Control in the full-size SUV lineup.
From a powertrain perspective, the Acadia is gaining a four-cylinder option for the first time ever. GM’s 2.5-liter is in tow with 194 horsepower and 190 ft-lb of torque. While the Acadia has lost 700 pounds, it still comes in at 3,900 pounds, which may prove to be a lot of heft for the little four-cylinder to move. Souring matters more is that fuel economy is projected to be 22 mpg city and 28 mpg highway, which is not all that remarkable.
Those wanting more gusto can opt for the latest version of GM’s 3.6-liter V-6. In the Acadia that means 310 horsepower and 271 ft-lb of torque. While this will certainly prove the more enjoyable engine option, the projected fuel economy ratings are 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, which is basically on par with the decade’s old Acadia.
Both engines are mated to the same six-speed automatic transmission that today’s Acadia uses. We’re not entirely sure why the new model has not been upgraded to GM’s eight-speeds, which would likely have a positive impact on those fuel economy figures.
Inside Acadia is getting the host of upgrades one would expect after a decade. The latest version of GMC’s IntelliLink infotainment system, surround vision camera, front pedestrian braking system, following distance indicator, forward automatic braking and more round out the options list.
On paper this new Acadia seems like a formidable effort, however we have some reservations about the powertrain options. Those reservations could probably be easily resolved with the addition of a diesel option, but we won’t get our hopes up on that one.
The 2017 Acadia will go on sale later this spring when it begins production at GM’s Spring Hill, Tennessee assembly plant.