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GMC Acadia: The First Full-Size Crossover

Back in April the Saturn Outlook was introduced at the 2006 New York Auto Show, and VehicleVoice contributors and AutoPacific staff brought you up to speed quickly (click here). Now we’ve got the chance to bring you the first look at its sibling, the GMC Acadia.


Unveiled this week, the 2007 Acadia arrives at dealers later this year. Though GM could be said in some ways to be bringing a me-too car-based SUV to the market, as it arrives after the Chrysler Pacifica, Ford Freestyle, Mercedes-Benz R-Class, and Audi Q7, to name a few, the Acadia and Outlook offer seating for eight and a tow rating of 4500 pounds. Though the Acadia may be perceived as a mid-size SUV product, it in fact throws a shadow more near a full-size SUV like the GMC Yukon than a mid-size SUV like the GMC Envoy or the Pacifica. As Jim Hall, AutoPacific’s Vice President of Industry Analysis points out, the Acadia, and its Outlook sibling, is the first full-size crossover SUV.
While Acadia can’t tow as much as the truck-based GMC Yukon or Ford Expedition (both updated for 2007), it can carry more stuff and presumably will give a more comfortable riding experience. Perhaps most important for the real world, Acadia has more space even with the third row up than either car- or truck-based SUV competition. At 19.7 cubic feet behind the third row, Acadia has room for eight (depending on seating configuration) and room for their luggage. (Click here for by-the-numbers comparison of Acadia, Yukon, Expedition, R-Class, Pacifica, and Audi Q7.)
Acadia will be offered in front- or all-wheel-drive versions, with only one powertrain to choose. This is a 267HP 3.6L DOHC 24v V6 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Though 267HP sounds good, the Acadia is large and heavy, with AWD models weighing in about 4900 pounds.

GMC Acadia and Its Siblings
Compared with the upcoming Buick Enclave (so far seen in concept guise only, view image) and the Saturn, the GMC gets a more aggressive SUV face and an interior with a more technical than warm feeling, both factors in keeping with the GMC brand image. All three get optional leather and refined interiors.



The GMC and Saturn share much sheetmetal rear of the A-pillar, including front doors and tailgate, though taillights and exhaust pipes are different. Roof racks are the same. From straight side view, the long length and relatively short height (compared with traditional SUVs) of the Acadia bring to mind the Ford Freestyle proportions. Because the Acadia has a traditional D-pillar while the Outlook has a wraparound look from its rear three-quarter to rear windows, the Acadia’s rear is more reminiscent of the VW Touareg, while the effect on the Saturn is more like that of the Saab 9-7X. The Saturn and GMC have mirrors of the same shape, but the GMC gets integrated turn indicators.


Inside, the GMC and the Saturn share some interior structures and basic layout, but have different upper HVAC vents, different trim materials. In keeping with GMC’s Professional Grade image, the Acadia sports a more technical look, with darker leather and brushed aluminum look trim and accents, while the Saturn gets wood accent trim. The third row seats three, but the second can be ordered as two captain’s chairs or a 60/40 split bench. Whether captiain’s chairs or the bench, the Acadia gets GM’s Smart Slide feature. This system, which can be operated with one hand, allows the seat bottom to flip up while the seatback slides forward, reducing the amount of space the compressed seat takes up. Second-row seats adjust fore and aft.

Solid Convenience and Safety Packages
The Acadia is competitively equipped. Safety includes traction, stability, and roll mitigation all bundled into StabiliTrak, four-wheel ABS, six standard airbags (driver/front passenger, two head curtain side impact airbags that protect all three rows, and seat-mounted side-impact airbags for driver and front passenger). A power liftgate is available, as well as parking assist, remote start, heated mirrors, large sunroof and a rear skylight, rear-seat DVD entertainment, DVD navigation, and a heads-up display.

Production in Michigan
The Acadia will be built alongside the other Lambda variants at GM’s new Delta Township, Michigan, plant. The plant begins production of the Saturn Outlook first, then the GMC, and then the Buick Enclave.

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