Acadia Noses Out Ford Flex for VSA It turns out the Large Crossover SUV segment has become a very competitive place. The 2010 GMC Acadia won the class nosing out the Ford Flex. The Acadia scored 711 VSA points in its victory to the Flex rating of 704. Acadia won twenty-one of the forty-eight categories. Flex won twenty-two. So, Acadia’s win came by more consistency overall in the ratings.
Solid Performance in VSA Acadia scored particularly well (4.5 or over on a 5-point rating scale) in exterior size, ease of loading and unloading cargo, vehicle’s reputation, exterior color, exterior styling, interior styling, interior fabrics and materials. Acadia also did well in dynamic characteristics like braking, handling and fun to drive. Owners perceive Acadia to be very reliable and dependable, with high quality. Acadia owners say they feel safe in the Acadia and rate its safety features highest.
Acadia’s sister vehicle in the General Motors Lambda Platform – the Chevrolet Traverse – won one of the forty-eight categories – tops in interior storage compartments.
For a complete list of winners and description of the Awards, click here.
General Motors has now completed the launch of its Lambda platform Large Crossover SUVs. The Lambda platform includes vehicles from Saturn – the Outlook, GMC – the Acadia (not ARcadia) and Buick – the Enclave). Eventually, a Chevrolet version will be added as well.
Buick Enclave – First Drive
These are the landmark vehicles that represent the end of the classic body-on-frame V8 powered SUV. They are that good.
I just returned from a driving event for the recently introduced Buick Enclave in St. Louis, Missouri. When I got into the office there was a Saturn Outlook in the parking lot for the AutoPacific and VehicleVoice staff to evaluate. Great opportunity for a back to back comparison of two Lambda crossovers. This story will concentrate on the Enclave – a future story will showcase the Outlook.
First, lets talk about the Buick. This is a vehicle that I have been waiting to drive for two years now. I think I have been to three events where Enclave was a featured subject, but this was the first opportunity I have had to drive it. Why was I looking forward to the Enclave? From my perspective it is a good size, has expressive styling inside and out, and is an example of the latest General Motors platform architecture.
Was it what I was expecting? Yeah, I guess so. First, I had to calibrate myself to the fact that the Enclave is a BUICK and what General Motors was attempting to achieve when they developed the vehicle. They wanted a vehicle with Buick ambiance – expressive, upscale styling inside and out. They wanted a spacious crossover capable of seating seven or eight passengers in three rows of seats. It was to have excellent ergonomics and be very pleasant to drive. It was to be very quiet. Check the boxes and the Lambda design and development team appears to have achieved their objectives.
The Saturn Outlook is a large Crossover SUV based on the General Motors’ Lambda platform. The Lambda platform is shared with the Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia and also with an upcoming Chevrolet large Crossover.
Has GM Nailed Crossover SUV Execution?
First, you might be asking “what is a Crossover SUV”? For years, we at VehicleVoice have been avoiding using the “crossover” word because, frankly, our research shows that consumers are not yet using the term widely. In our eyes, an SUV is an SUV is an SUV. Our chief industry oracle, Jim Hall, always referred to Crossovers as “mongrelhalfbreedbastards”. But, with vehicles like the Outlook hitting the market we’ve decided to use the Crossover moniker.
Basically, a Crossover SUV takes the basic SUV theme and civilizes it. SUV drivers have for decades been asking for more maneuverable, more economical, more easy to live with SUVs. Crossover SUVs are the answer and the GM Lambda vehicles are the latest examples of Crossover SUV design and execution. We think GM has pretty well nailed it.
Pricing Makes Outlook a Persuasive Proposition
The Saturn Outlook XR that we evaluated is a mid-priced model listing at about $33,250. When you check the boxes you really want – like all wheel drive and a navigation system the price slips over $41,000. When you check ALL the boxes and add a moonroof and rear seat entertainment system you can touch $45,000. For a Saturn!
While you might think that is a high price, the base, base, base price of the FWD Outlook XE (the lower model) is about $28,000 including destination. This puts it mid-way between the base price of a Ford Explorer and Expedition. Given that Outlook is about the size of a Chevrolet Tahoe – priced about $4,000 more with a V8, the Saturn looks like a good deal.
General Motors is rolling out three new crossover SUVs that share an all-new, purpose-built platform. GM has called this platform Lambda for internal purposes. The Saturn Outlook and GMC Acadia are on sale now and the Buick Enclave arrives in summer 2007 as a 2008MY vehicle. These crossover SUVs are taking on not only traditional and crossover mid-size SUVs but also full-size SUVs and minivans due to their large size and dimensions (they are nearly as large as the Chevrolet Tahoe). They do not have the towing capability of truck-based SUVs, but do have the other attributes for which buyers go to SUVs, or minivans. They have high seating positions, available AWD, and interiors big enough to hold seven passengers or lots of stuff.
Following the roll-out of the Lambda crossover SUVs, General Motors will kill their conventional minivans (similar to Ford’s strategy of killing the Monterey and Freestar minivans). The Pontiac Montana SV6 is already history and its demise will be followed by the Chevrolet Uplander, Saturn Relay and Buick Terraza. Oh, yeah, Chevrolet will get a Lambda Crossover SUV in the next year or so as well.
AutoPacific and VehicleVoice analysts have been included in the reviews of these critically important General Motors vehicles.
General Motors describes their current state as an interior renaissance, and these products are examples of smart interior thinking. They include a level of interior detail not before seen from the General. As these products were developed with a clean slate, new platform, new interiors, new powertrain, GM took the opportunity to make sure they will be easy to live with.
The second- and third-row folding operations are simple and easy to use and the overall package is terrific. One could buy any one of these vehicles and spend the life of the vehicle discovering all the little things that will add up to a product that enhances and eases daily life. It’s taken GM a very long time to get to such a solid package design, but they have finally succeeded.
Saturn is Focused on Product
The 2007MY Outlook is an SUV/crossover vehicle that is one of the three new entries for the brand this model year. Clearly, Saturn is a major focus of General Motors’ product development efforts for 2007. The Saturn brand had become stagnant with mediocre products like the Ion, Vue and what was the name of that easily forgotten mid-size car. Even Saturn’s renowned sales experience could not make the brand desirable. Now, new products are on tap to save Saturn.
Though its name was confirmed in late 2005, Saturn’s new crossover was first unveiled at the 2006 New York auto show. Sales begin late in 2006, after a fourth-quarter production start. Buick showed its version as a concept ahead of the Saturn or the GMC Acadia, but the Buick Enclave will be the last to arrive. The Saturn and the GMC arrive for the 2007MY. These are the first examples of General Motors’ new Lambda architecture and promise to be a much needed success.
With the Outlook and other new products on tap for the brand, Saturn has the opportunity to revive its image with an expanded lineup featuring some, if not all, exciting and aggressively (for Saturn) styled vehicles. Saturn is finally getting the products it needs, expanding its line up by three for the 2007MY with the Outlook, Sky convertible, and Aura sedan. The Sky is already on sale, though the 260HP Red Line version is new at New York. AutoPacific
correspondents are here in New York to catch the reveal of these new Saturn products in person.