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2013 GMC Acadia Debut

A nip here, a tuck there, and a few more years get added to the cycle.

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What's New

With a more prominent, upright grille and chunkier styling, the 2013 GMC Acadia has been restyled to more closely espouse the premium industrial image conjured by the good folks at General Motors' all-truck division. It also benefits from an enhanced interior with better quality materials, standard color touch radio -- which was first introduced on the smaller GMC Terrain as an option -- available IntelliLink infotainment system, and new a center-mounted airbag designed to mitigate the effects of a lateral collision. It's designed to simply improve the safe, versatile design that has sold hundreds of thousands in its five years on the market.

Who It's For

The GMC Acadia essentially placates the minivan-needing masses who just can't deal with the stigma of owning one. GMC even makes a point of advertising the Acadia's seven- to eight-passenger seating capabilities and ability to swallow a four-foot-wide board of wood -- a requisite task of a minivan since the segment debuted in the 1980s. As GMC touts safety and usability, it's pretty easy to tell this is meant to be an upscale family hauler, competing squarely against the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer, and Dodge Durango.

Key Features

We'll be the first to admit, most of the Acadia's improvements appear to be just skin-deep. But some of the more notable, needed updates include:
  • Further refinement to its transmission, making it smoother and more responsive.
  • Soft-touch materials throughout with French stitching on the dashboard, a huge upgrade from the hard, cheaper-feeling materials used in the pre-refreshed vehicles.
  • Macho styling, which includes standard LED running lamps, new wraparound rear windows, and a new tail light design.

What We Think

It's been a long time coming, but it's good to see GMC updating the Acadia to keep it fresh and competitive in the quickly growing large crossover segment. We were expecting an evolution on the surface. But we were expecting a revolution under the hood, with smaller displacement, more powerful engines to do battle with Ford's popular EcoBoost options. We're disappointed to see that the 2013 GMC Acadia will carry the exact same 288-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 as its predecessor. It's not a bad engine -- in fact, it's quite punchy and smooth in the full-size crossover -- but it gets no better fuel economy than last year's model. With Ford advertising its Explorer getting up to 28 mpg on the highway with its EcoBoost 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, we're wondering why GMC didn't respond to the challenge to create a more powerful engine when it had the chance in a much-improved Acadia.

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