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2013 GMC Acadia

By Paul A. Eisenstein

On Sale: Fall 2012
Expected Pricing: $33,000 - $46,000

Those who think American buyers have largely migrated to small cars and crossovers might be wise to check the sales numbers for General Motors' truck brand, GMC. Its line-up of "professional grade" products is giving Chevrolet a run for the money, never mind the competition.

In fact, the big GMC Acadia crossover had its best year ever, in 2011, and GMC officials are betting they'll do even better in the months ahead when they roll the 2013 Acadia update, along with the highline Acadia Denali, into showrooms.

Revealed at the February 2012 Chicago Auto Show, the full-size, seven-passenger crossover SUV gets a relatively modest makeover for 2013, with an emphasis on safety and infotainment technologies.

The most immediate, visual update to the 2013 GMC Acadia is the use of a more upright front end with a chiseled-looking new three-bar grille that wraps around the classic GMC logo. The LED daytime running lamps are new but the primary headlights remain projector bulbs or optional high-intensity discharge headlights. The intended effect is to move away from the soft-roader appearance of the outgoing Acadia and make it seem more of a trucker's truck.

The 2013 Acadia remake also gets new 18- and 19-inch tires. And the rear end features new taillights and spoiler and wraparound glass.

Inside, the crossover adopts a more refined look to better distinguish it from its down-market sibling, the Chevrolet Traverse. There are more up-market materials and finishes, including aluminum accents and French stitching, with new red accent lighting.

On the safety front, the 2013 GMC Acadia scores an industry first with the optional new front-center airbag system designed to protect the front occupant on the opposite side of the vehicle in the event of a side collision. Meanwhile, the crossover also gets new blind-spot detection technology and Cross-Traffic Alert, which spots oncoming vehicles when backing out of a parking spot. A rearview camera will now be standard gear on all 2013 Acadia models.

On the infotainment side, the 2013 Acadia now features standard Color Touch radio controls, and GMC's IntelliLink system allows a customer to sync a smartphone for services such as Stitcher and Pandora. It even can be used to extend the range of the remote key fob for remotely starting the vehicle to warm it up or cool it off.

A 3.6-liter V6, producing 288 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, remains the sole powertrain option, though the driveline adopts an updated version of the 6-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission.

Prices are yet to be announced but officials said the 2013 GMC Acadia will go on sale late 2012, at the same time as the 2013 Acadia Denali.

The Denali designation has proved to be a significant drawing card for GM's truck brand. Among other details, the Acadia Denali gets a unique, polished three-dimensional grille, redesigned front fascia, 20-inch wheels and a new power tilt/telescope steering wheel. It also gets interior upgrades, including perforated leather heated and cooled seats.

Despite last year's unexpected surge in demand, GMC clearly needed to update the Acadia in today's crowded and competitive market. The 2013 version should better meet the brand's professional grade mandate.


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