2007 GMC Acadia
By Larry Edsall
On Sale: Early 2007
Expected Pricing: $30,000 to $40,000
You may have heard that vehicles such as the GMC Envoy are being discontinued. Fear not. We've seen its replacement, the GMC Acadia.
Named for Acadia National Park, the pristine island preserve just off the coast of Maine, GMC's new utility will have all-wheel drive to take on adverse weather conditions and enough towing capacity to pull a 25-foot boat or a couple of ATVs or personal watercraft or anything else up to 4500 pounds.
The Acadia features a roomy and versatile interior with seating for as many as eight occupants or a large amount of gear.
We're expecting it to ride more like a large car than a large truck, with more nimble dynamics than was the case with the truck-based Envoy. Indeed, the suspension is independent at all four corners, meaning each wheels and tire can respond to the road independent of the other three. This can provide both a smoother ride and better dynamic control for the driver.
While the Envoy had a truck-based chassis, the Acadia and its cousins, the Buick Enclave and Saturn Outlook, are built on more car-like platforms with the body and frame integrated into a single structure. However, this is a new and purpose-designed chassis, not one based on any current car or minivan.
For the driver and passengers, the new structure also means a roomy interior, and for GMC designers, the architecture provided the opportunity to make the interior more user-friendly.
The interior provides 116.9 cubic feet of cargo capacity, nearly 10 cubic feet more than the current three-row Envoy XL. Even with the third-row seat in its upright position, there's room between it and the rear hatch for 19 cubic feet of groceries or gear. An under-the-floor storage compartment can be removed for cleanup should you spill potting soil or need to remove sand from swimming suits or beach toys.
To make tailgating more enjoyable, audio controls are provided near the rear of the vehicle.
GMC notes that the switch from a traditional sport utility architecture to that of the more modern crossover utility lowers the Acadia's cargo floor some 7 1/2 inches, making it easier to load or unload cargo when the seats are folded flat.
Step-in height to the second row also is lower, and those sitting in the third row won't have their knees in their chests.
Getting into that third row is much easier because the second-row seats feature a new Smart Slide setup that allows them to fold, sort of like a folding chair, and slide up against the back of the front seats, leaving lots of room for reaching the third row.
The third-row seat features a new bolster technology that provides better support for those sitting back there, yet allows the seat to be folded flat for enhanced cargo carrying capability.
The driver and front-seat passenger benefit from a handsome dashboard and gauge display along with clever storage areas.
All occupants benefit from six standard airbags: front and side bags for the driver and front-seat passenger and side curtain airbags that span all three rows. StabiliTrak, the excellent electronic stability control with anti-rollover technology developed by General Motors, is standard equipment on the Acadia.
GMC notes that the Acadia (and its cousins) will have the longest wheelbase and widest track in the category, and those design parameters usually add up to a smooth ride and improved dynamic control. Powering the Acadia will be a 267-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 connected to a new six-speed automatic transmission. GMC says the engine should be rated at 17 miles per gallon in town and 25 on the highway.
That highway mileage is enhanced by a smooth and handsome body design that has the same wind-cheating aerodynamic efficiency as the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 sports car.
The all-new GMC Acadia is expected to be launched sometime in early 2007. Though expected to be introduced as a 2007 model, we view it as a 2008. We're guessing it'll be priced in the $30,000s, with top models topping $40,000, but we really don't know.