The Acadia features a MacPherson strut independent front suspension and a new rear setup. It's a compact, state-of-the-art linked H-design. The mounting system is isolated, which helps reduce NVH (Noise, Vibration, Harshness) transmission into the cabin. The stabilizer bars are huge: 32mm in front and 24mm in back, which means we can't wait to drive this CUV.
The dash and instrument panel are cleanly styled, and the audio and climate controls are familiar if you've seen the interior of GMC's new Yukon and Denali SUVs. The navigation system is optional, as is the Bose 5.1 Surround Sound audio. The sliding center armrest is standard, and there's plenty of storage in the doors and center console. My favorite interior feature? The auxiliary jack located at the top right corner of the audio system so I can plug in my iPod, of course!
The front seats are buckets, the second row is either buckets or a 60/40 3-passenger bench, and the standard rear seat is a bench that accommodates three, for a total maximum of eight occupants.
To gain access to the third row, the second row buckets feature (depending on who we asked) Stadium Slide or Smart Slide, which is a one-lever/one-hand operation (the tall lever on the upper part of the seat) that flips the bottom seat cushion up then slides forward along with the seat back. It's easy to operate, and easy to put back in place. A separate lever is used to just drop the seatback for a flat load surface.
The rear seat is useable, even for full-sized adults. The floor is 5.5 inches lower in the back row than in most traditional SUVs, and the cargo floor is about 7.5 inches lower as well, to provide more cargo capacity.
With all seats folded flat, there's a class-leading 116.9 cubic feet of cargo volume. That's more storage area than the Dodge Durango, Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer, and even GM's own Cadillac Escalade. The third-row seats fold down easily, and the head restraints (outboard passenger seats only) fold down and stay attached to the seats so no one will forget to reinstall them.
Behind the third row is a covered storage well to hide belongings. There also are auxiliary radio controls in the rear quarter panel for those ever important tailgate parties.
No need to feel left out of the action in the second row. The back of the center console features auxiliary input jacks, a 12V power point, and a 115-volt input jack. You can play games, watch movies, charge a cell phone and keep your laptop powered. That should stop any sibling squabbling on long trips.
The available DVD-based rear seat entertainment system features a large 8-inch monitor flanked by two auxiliary maplights.
For those who like the sun in the morning and the moon at night, the available oversized dual SkyScape sunroof. It's nice that it doesn't interfere with the rear seat entertainment system, but it only comes with a perforated cover, not a blackout slide, which, according to GMC designers cuts out 95 percent of heat and glare. If you live in Arizona, Nevada, California, Texas, New Mexico and other states that reach oven temperatures in the summer, this should be an option. Blocking out the heat is paramount to a comfortable cabin. I suspect this will be one of the first changes when the 2007 model becomes a 2008. Send us a comment on your impressions of this feature.
The Acadia Badge sits on the rear tailgate as well as the front doors. The bold typeface is indicative of GMC's Professional Grade positioning. The Acadia should bring in first-time buyers to the brand, as well as younger families who might prefer the crossover vehicle to a minivan. An estimated fuel economy rating of 17 city/25 highway should go a long way toward convincing them to give this impressive (at first glance) CUV a go. We'll give a full road test as soon as we can get behind the wheel later this year.