The second coming: GMC’s new Acadia should go down a storm in the Gulf

After years of success, GMC finally reveals the next generation of its popular crossover SUV.

Damien Reid December 1, 2016

“Jimps” is how the local Arab population likes to refer to any vehicle wearing the GMC badge such is the fondness this region has for the 114-year old brand. As one of its only export markets, GMC has found a welcome home in the Middle East as it has become a staple in the Gulf, particularly through the rural markets.

Known for its strong, dependable pickups, General Motors reached into the suburban driveways and school parking lots for the first time in 2010 with its first crossover, the Acadia, and after seven, solid years the Gen 2 Acadia has finally hit the road. The all-new 2017 Acadia will take the fight for family soft-roader supremacy to the likes of the Ford Explorer, Toyota Prado and Nissan Pathfinder.

EDGAR climbed aboard for a two-day test drive that took in nearly 1,300kms over two days from Phoenix in Arizona to Las Vegas with a good mix of open highway, city/suburban crawls, light off-roading and parts of Route 66 that’s looking tired and bumpy in most places. 

Not pretending it’s the great urban escape vehicle with go anywhere capabilities, GM were keen to emphasise that Acadia, even in All-Terrain AWD mode, is more crossover than off-roader, designed only for the occasional dirt track.

However, one thing’s certain after our time behind the wheel and that is Acadia is a capable, long-distance tourer which would make short work of journeys around the wider GCC. A solid seven and eight-hour driving stint in conditions that were not too dissimilar to the mountain roads of Oman were taken in its stride with little fatigue and no backache. 

Powered by the 310bhp/360Nm, 3.6-litre, V6 engine mated to GM’s hydra-matic six-speed auto, it returned 11.6 L/100kms for the drive which is smack in the middle of its estimate of 11.2 combined cycle for the FWD and 11.7 for the AWD. Despite shedding 318kg from the previous model, it still retains a towing capacity of 1,800kg.

Riding on 18-inch and optional 20-inch rims, Acadia’s ride was more sedan than SUV with its electric steering providing more accuracy, though less feel than its competition and noticeably little body roll.

All models include a drive mode selector with the front-drive versions offering Normal, Snow, Sport and Trailer/Tow options while the AWD variation provides an AWD disconnect that takes it back to being a FWD, in addition to Sport, Off Road and Trailer/Tow modes. 

The All Terrain gets an active twin clutch AWD system which transfers power between the four wheels during wet and icy conditions as well as enhanced hill climb capability while the top-spec, luxury Denali includes continuously variable ride control for the suspension.

Seating is a choice of two or three rows but when folded flat, offers 2,237 litres of cargo room as well as two underfloor storage bins for smaller items. Captain’s chairs in the second row in place of the bench seat are optional but the best news is that the third row can seat two, six-foot adults in relative comfort. All up, depending on spec, the Acadia can house five, six or seven adults. 

Specs

  • Engine: 3.6-litre V6
  • Power: 310bhp at 6600rpm
  • Torque: 367Nm at 5000rpm
  • Transmission: Six-speed auto
  • 0-100kmh: 6.8 seconds
  • Top speed: 184 kmh
  • Price: AED 200,000 

Built in GM’s Tennessee factory, the 2017 Acadia’s interior is a breakaway from the more truck-like GMC offerings with plenty of Euro-look soft leather and timber trim capped by polished chrome and brushed alloy accents.

Additionally the Denali also has a 20-centimetre centre console display that’s hooked up to GM’s OnStar system with 4G LTE connectivity complete with its own Wi-Fi hotspot as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto interfaces.