2013 GMC Acadia Review

The Crossover that thinks it’s a tank

By Shahzad Sheikh

2013 GMC Acadia

When the GMC Acadia first came in out 2007 it had the same problem as the weedy looking all-new Terrain that launched a couple of years later. They were both inoffensive looking SUVs, dulled inexorably through staid templated design.

But that wasn’t their biggest offence. In fact they were guilty of an affront to the GMC name and unworthy of wearing the bold badge that heralded a heritage of tough and hardy, take-on-the-world trucks that took no prisoners and were firmly heterosexual.

2013 GMC Acadia

If GMCs were human, there’d be manly men that wore medallions and chest wigs. Monogamy wasn’t necessarily an edict they followed, and a bar brawl was a great Saturday night out. The whiff of nicotine would hang permanently around their aura and cuss words would dribble from their lips.

You get the picture right?

2013 GMC Acadia

So then along comes a family-friendly people carrier with soft tapering lines and a host of features honed and perfected in the caring, sharing 90s. There was nothing ever actually wrong with the Acadia, it actually made for an excellent offering – as a Chevrolet Traverse. But it weren’t no GMC, bud!

It’s all about perceptions. You wouldn’t hire Hugh Grant to play James Bond would you? Hugh Jackman maybe, but not Grant.

2013 GMC Acadia

Likewise Bill Cosby wouldn’t be great in the sort of roles Samuel L Jackson plays. On the other hand you wouldn’t want Jackson as your dad either, would you? Except maybe when you had an argument in the school playground, cause no one would mess with you then. Bill Cosby, however, is the archetypal father-figure. So imagine having a Cosby that looks like Jackson?

That is what you get with the new 2013 Acadia – now that it’s toughened up and developed bulges and muscles in all the right places. There’s a blunt, upright, full face muzzle for a grille, piercing eyes for headlights and the whole vehicle proffers a firm, planted stance that suggests a hint of menace and an underlining ‘don’t mess wiv me’threat.

2013 GMC Acadia

Now this is more like it. Now it actually looks like a GMC. Meanwhile, however, it remains absurdly spacious and comfortable inside with genuine 7-seat capacity and all the creature comforts you could wish at this level – particularly in Denali guise.

There’s a couple of provisos though. It doesn’t boast a belching V8 and the 3.6-litre V6 under the bonnet only serves up 288bhp – not quite even managing the 292bhp of the smaller lighter Terrain’s 3.0 V6. Having said that if, once you get behind the wheel you get past its brash styling and remember that it’s not really a bully but a cool cruiser, you won’t really miss the performance. Besides, you don’t want to be peddling this mass around too hard or fast.

2013 GMC Acadia

Nor would you want a load of oomph to get you up a dune, because this is patently not an off-roader, particularly as it’s two-wheel in standard guise. All of which might lead you to bulk at the AED187,000 ($51k) price of the range-topping Denali. Instead, however, you should be looking at the regular flavor model for AED129,900 ($35,400) which makes far more sense for this sort of vehicle.

So there you have it then. A very competent family hauler that looks like the toughest of trucks.

2013 GMC Acadia

Spec
2013 GMC Acadia Denali
Price: AED187,000 ($51k)
Engine: 3.6-litre, V6, 288bhp @ 6300rpm, 270lb ft @ 3400rpm
Performance: 0-100kph 8.5seconds, 220kph, 11.2L/100km (all est)
Transmission: six-speed auto, front-wheel drive
Weight: 2112kg

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