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Published on Sat, Aug 13, 2011

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

2011 GMC Acadia Denali
2011 GMC Acadia Denali

The hottest Jimmy from the makers of the Industrial Grade line of trucks and SUVs By John-Fredrik Wright Take the name of the first national park east of the Mississippi. If you don’t know it, a hint might be the name (Acadie) given to the lands in a portion of the French colonial empire in New France in Northeastern North America (including what is today the state of Maine). Add another national park, this one in Alaska and the home of North America’s highest point. Sprinkle a little GMC into the mix, and what do you get? You guessed it—a GMC Acadia Denali. With a double-national park name like that, this must be the best car to tour the American National Parks in. And you know what? It might actually be just that. For this is a very comfortable ride. Not only are the seats extremely relaxing with plush leather and the ability to both heat and cool your rear, the ride itself if smooth as silk. What a cliché; let’s say that it is as smooth as the water flowing in the streams of Acadia National Park. Fortunately, it is not only the front two passengers who get to indulge in Denali-ness, the two rear captain seats do their part to keep the second row happy. Are they equicomfy? Maybe not, but then again I’m bias; I always enjoy the view from up front more. There were no complaints from my passengers who thoroughly enjoyed the rear two seats.

2011 GMC Acadia Denali

Where you might get some resistance, especially if your passenger is a full-grown adult, is from the third row. Lacking enough people to have an excuse to force somebody to sit in the farthest rear seats, I had to try it out. I have to say, I am definitely not unhappy about the comfort back there, but it might not be my first choice. For children, the space will do just fine, and I assume that the occasional adult can sit there for the shorter trips. GMS slaps the Denali name on their top-of-the-line cars, usually fully tricked out with every feature you might wish for. Beyond all those neat features, the Denali also gets a little different styling in comparison to the non-Denali Acadia. The front, namely both the upper and lower grill, sees more chrome, which gives it a very classy look, setting it apart from the somewhat, but not totally, bland regular Acadia. The GMC Acadia Denali fits nicely in my standard-sized two-car garage. Even while representing two whole national parks, the Acadia does not feel that huge. It’s big (thankfully the back-up camera does a great job at helping with parking this beast), but it ain’t that big—allowing for ample space inside, but without looking like a Suburban. Or should I say Yukon XL in GMC-speak? Moving this beast forward is a pretty powerful 3.6-liter engine, with 288 horses and 270 pound-feet of torque at a low 3400 RPM under the hood. It does a great job, and the transmission does a great job keeping the motions fluid. The Acadia Denali rolls a little while cornering, but not more than what is to be expected in an SUV. When I first got into the Acadia, I was coming from a sports-coupe, but as my review-week of the Acadia neared its end, I could still feel the roll. This is a big vehicle, but GMC has done a good job at keeping it in line with what are reasonable SUV/crossover driving characteristics.

2011 GMC Acadia Denali

The drive is nice and quiet, unless you unleash the Bose stereo system upon you ears. This should suffice for most, as the system seemingly puts out mega-watts of musical power. Other convenient features include a really smart detail: The right outside mirror tilts down then you put the car in reverse, helping you avoid the curb while parking. Interior-wise, the Acadia Denali does not offer the usual silly umpteen number of cup-holders that one might find in many SUVs or trucks. The Acadia, instead, chooses a more classy approach, offering 2 cup holders per seat for the driver and passenger; on in the center console and one in each door. The rear seats have their own, so this should not be the root of any fights back there either. Further adding to the road trip readiness, the TV monitor system for the rear passengers is always appreciated. Furthermore, if your trip takes you to a tail-gate party, you can control the music in the car using the conveniently located switches in the trunk space. Open the powered tail-gate and viola!, you are set up for festive times behind your car. The GMC Acadia Denali is a great crossover. Although I’d go so far and say that this is more an SUV than a crossover. It’s big, yet not too big. Stylish, and functional, with all the great features expected from a Denali. Pack it full of whatever your favorite activities require and then head out. Out on the open road, preferably towards a National Park. Maybe in Maine, or why not Alaska?

2011 GMC Acadia Denali

For more information about GMC products, go to Link opened into new tab: SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2011 Acadia FWD Denali Price: $43,220 (base) $48,125 (as tested with navigation/rear view camera and entertainment system) EPA fuel economy rating: 17 mpg (city) 24 mpg (highway) Engine size and type: 3.6L V6 Horsepower: 288 @ 6300 RPM Torque: 270 lb-ft @ 3400 RPM Transmission type: 6-speed automatic Hydra-Matic 6T75 Drive configuration: Front wheel drive (AWD available) Steering (type): Variable effort power steering Suspension (front and rear): Front and rear independent suspension Brakes: 4-wheel antilock brakes, 4-wheel disc Dimensions: Length: 201.1 in Width: 78.9 in Height: 72.8 in (with roof-rails) Curb weight: 4720 lbs

2011 GMC Acadia Denali

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