2017 GMC Acadia Denali AWD


The “Jamsa” brand, as it is pronounced in Turkish is part of my childhood memories.

GMC’s history in Turkey is much more prevalent than many of us think or imagine. People of my generation who were born in late fifties and early sixties will remember the military trucks in national parades. When I was at the primary school, my mother took me to August 30th (Victory Day) and 29 October 29th (Day of the Republic) parades with tens of GMC trucks filling Vatan Caddesi, the big boulevard in Istanbul. Following the Korean War, United States donated a bunch of these trucks to the Turkish Army. Even if these trucks are gone long ago, the fact that GMC has produced about 600,000 trucks for the American army in the Second World War reveals its importance in producing commercial and professional vehicles.


The name GMC was created as an abbreviation for “Grabowski Motor Company” by Mark Grabowski as the founder of the company. Although very few can remember or even know his name today, General Motors foresaw the bright future of this company in 1909 and only eight years after its foundation. GMC today, is mostly known with its full-size (Sierra) pickups, a derivative of their Chevrolet (Silverado) cousins. GMC has significantly differentiated itself from Chevrolet in the last four years and has expanded its market segment into the SUV segment with Acadia and Terrain. GMC also survived the 2008 crisis when GM killed two iconic brands, Pontiac and Oldsmobile. Today Grabowski justifies GM’s decision as a well performing brand of “professional grade”.

Almost all GMC models are a derivative of the Chevrolet cousins, but differentiate themselves by addressing more professional cuts with the brand “professional grade” slogan. On the other hand, models like Terrain and Acadia are out of traditional commercial vehicles.

We tested the Acadia, GMC’s representative in the very competitive mid-size SUV market.

In its first-generation GMC Acadia, debuted in 2006 as a 2007 model was a cousin to Chevrolet Travers, Buick Enclave and the now-extinct Saturn Outlook. These vehicles were big or oversized crossovers GM created while leaving the minivan segment.

In its second generation, the Acadia is an entirely different vehicle. It is smaller in size, yet more dynamic and fun to drive. Now, it is a big player in the midsize SUV segment and competes with established players like Ford Explorer.

Engine & Driving Impressions

We tested the top of the line Denali version with the 3.6L V6 engine delivering 310 horsepower. With 271 lb-ft of torque and a six-speed automatic transmission, the vehicle never feels under-powered. With active fuel management, cylinder deactivation (reduced to four) and capability for AWD, this SUV feels much more like a car than its predecessor. Our average fuel consumption was just north of 14L and was significantly higher than the “official” combined fuel consumption of 11.3L. Nevertheless, I asked myself why GM did not opt for a more modern and efficient 8-speed transmission.

To me, the magnetic suspension makes the biggest difference in ride comfort. With some exaggregation, I would say it floats on the road surface like a boat.









In the last ten years, like almost all other OEM’s, things at GM changed significantly. The quality of interior both in material and workmanship is ages better. The dashboard and the instrument cluster, a balanced outcome of digitalization and conventional displays, is very easy to use and navigate. In the Denali version with six leather seats, comfortable long journeys are not a problem except the limited trunk space when the third row is used. However, whoever is not fully satisfied may consider the bigger Yukon or even Yukon XL.

One unique and trailblazing feature is “Rear Seat Reminder,” designed to avoid those tragic instances when a child or pet is left in a hot vehicle. It is activated when the second-row doors are opened before the vehicle is started. Then, once the vehicle is turned off, an audible reminder in the form of five quick horn blasts sounds – It has the potential to save several innocent souls and should be adapted by other manufacturers.



With a model portfolio of SUV’s from Terrain to Acadia and Yukon, GMC is well equipped and prepared on a SUV-hungry market. And the brans new Acadia will only strengthen GMC’s market position.

If you are looking for a mid-size SUV, you will most probably short-list this vehicle.

The Specifications

Type of vehicle: Mid-size SUV
Engine: 3.6L DI, DOHC, V6 W/VVT
Transmission: 6-speed, automatic
Price (base/as tested): $54,695 / $62,845
Destination charge: CAD 1,700
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L/100 km): 13.3 city; 9.5 highway;11.6 combined
Optional features

Technology package: (Adaptive cruise control, automatic front braking, surround vision $1,975

Skyscape dual-panel sunroof: 1,685

Continuously variable real-time damping suspension: $1,395

White frost tricoat paint: $1,195

Engine block heater: $100

Total Price as Tested: $62,845

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, Basak McKars

Test vehicle was provided by GMC Canada (via BHG Media Fleet)

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