The 2019 GMC Acadia has big families in mind. The three-row crossover SUV, new for 2017, seats up to seven occupants and shares some running gear with the Chevy Traverse.
A new Black Edition appearance option has been introduced for the 2019 model year. Available for the SLT trim level, the package includes 20-inch machined aluminum wheels with black accents, plus a black grille, headlight and taillight details, mirror caps, and roof rails.
In addition, new 17-inch wheels are available for the All Terrain option package, offered on SLE and SLT trim levels. The All Terrain package features five-passenger seating with distinct interior accents, dark chrome trim, a body-color grille surround, and cargo management system.
The 2019 Acadia is available with either a 4-cylinder engine or a V-6, and with standard front-wheel drive or extra-cost all-wheel drive. The non-turbocharged 2.5-liter base engine makes 193 horsepower and 188 pound-feet of torque.
Strong and quiet, the optional 3.6-liter V-6 develops a respectable 310 horsepower and 271 pound-feet. Standard in the Denali edition, it’s available for all models except the base SL. Both engines mate with a slick-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission.
Seven airbags and a rearview camera are standard, but active-safety features are largely limited to high-end models. A standard rear-seat detection system can remind the driver if a child or pet might be in the back seat.
Driver Alert Package I, optional for SLE-2 and standard on SLT-1, includes blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alerts, and rear parking sensors. Picking SLT-2 or Denali brings Driver Alert Package II, adding low-speed automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warnings, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, and active lane control.
Crash-test scores excel, with two exceptions. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2019 Acadia â€œGoodâ€ ratings in every category other than headlights, which were deemed “Marginal.” With specific optional equipment installed, front crash protection was rated “Superior.”
On the federal government side, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2019 all-wheel-drive version five stars overall, and for frontal and side impacts. Oddly, the front-drive Acadia received a four-star overall rating.
Prices do not include the $1,195 destination charge.
SL ($29,000), the base front-drive model, contains the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, along with 17-inch alloy wheels, seven-passenger seating, leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless entry/start, three-zone automatic climate control, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Start/stop technology is standard. All-wheel drive is unavailable.
SLE-1 ($32,800 with front-drive, $34,800 with all-wheel drive) includes satellite radio, a compact spare tire, carpeted mats, and LED daytime running lights.
SLE-2 ($35,200 with FWD, $37,200 with AWD) gets an eight-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats, 18-inch wheels, and a power liftgate.
SLT-1 ($38,000 with FWD, $41,100 with AWD) includes perforated leather-appointed seats, a power front passenger seat, Bose audio, auto-dimming mirrors, blind-spot monitors, and rear cross-traffic alert. The new Black Edition package costs $1,450 additional.
SLT-2 ($41,900 with FWD, $43,900 with AWD) upgrades to V-6 power and includes 20-inch wheels, a memory system, heated outboard second-row seats, and front and rear parking sensors.
Denali ($45,500 with FWD, $47,500 with AWD) comes with the 3.6-liter V-6, as well as 20-inch polished aluminum wheels, a distinct grille, Driver Alert II package, hands-free power liftgate, 8.0-inch screen with navigation, bright roof rails, and heated and cooled front seats.
The Acadia’s enticing curves complement its more mature, attractive design elements. It’s masculine, but it’s not audacious. The optional All-Terrain appearance package adds an extra level of ruggedness; its squared-off wheel arches convey a more truck-like look.
Large taillights are separated with a chrome element. All-Terrain and new Black Edition packages hold back on glitz, whereas the chrome-laden Denali revels in it.
Promising good space for four adults, the refined â€“ if somewhat tame â€“ cabin highlights the generally comfortable Acadia experience. Up to seven passengers fit, despite the crossover’s somewhat narrow footprint.
Front- and second-row seats are comfortable, but some passengers will feel snug if every space is occupied. Second-row access is easy, but the center position is a tight squeeze.
Third-row seats won’t satisfy most adults. Even some youngsters might feel cramped.
Most Acadias can be fitted with dual captain’s chairs in the second row, replacing the customary bench, reducing capacity to six people.
Cabin trimmings please the eye, with ample use of soft-touch materials. High-dollar SLT and Denali models don’t seem quite as posh as their sticker prices suggest. Forward vision is good.
With its third-row seat backs up, the GMC Acadia manages only 12.8 cubic feet of cargo space. Maximum capacity totals 79 cubic feet.
The 2019 Acadia rides and handles like a competent family crossover SUV should: comfortable, composed â€“ even bordering on spry. Whether easing around town or out on the road, families can expect a fairly frugal, capable experience.
Ride comfort is a strong point, as the Acadia’s independent suspension absorbs road imperfections with ease.
Acadias handle quite well in everyday driving, helped by nicely-weighted steering. The driver faces a thick four-spoke steering wheel. Models with V-6 power feel a tad heavier up front. The 4-cylinder’s performance sets no records, but the optional V-6 engine provides more compelling muscle.
With all-wheel drive, a mode-select knob engages sport, towing, or off-road. Switching between two- and four-wheel drive can help save fuel on good-weather days.
All-wheel drive won’t deliver strenuous off-road capabilities, though. The AWD system aims more for smooth and confident behavior in bad weather.
Fuel economy ranks average for a family crossover. With front-drive, the base Acadia is EPA-rated at 21/26 mpg City/Highway, or 23 mpg Combined. All-wheel drive drops those estimates slightly, to 21/25/23 mpg.
As expected, the V-6 is thirstier. The front-wheel drive V-6 is EPA-rated at 18/25 mpg City/Highway, or 21 mpg Combined. All-wheel drive reduces figures to 17/25/20 mpg.
Both engines run on regular gasoline. In 4-cylinder Acadias, stop/start technology can shut down the engine while idling.
The 2019 GMC Acadia is a solid, capable crossover for families that need third-row seating only rarely. Build quality is high and front seats are comfortable. The optional V-6 packs a considerably greater punch than the standard 4-cylinder. As is often the case, the most valuable safety features tend to be included only on expensive models.
Driving impressions by Andrew Ganz, The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.