This looks so much better than the outgoing model…

You got that right; the previous generation Acadia was showing signs of age and it needed to catch up with the others in the midsize SUV segment and fast – and it sure has. This one, which sits between the compact Terrain and full-size Yukon, looks way better than ever; I can’t take my eyes off that new front end with a chrome-trimmed grille. It’s a million times better than the predecessor and looks so much more sophisticated and smarter. The squared off and flared wheel arches and wraparound rear side windows with dark D-pillars are nice touches too. It doesn’t just have an attractive exterior – the cabin is luxurious and it is very well appointed and, it has superb ability in all sorts of terrain too.

Which is why they called it the All Terrain, right?

Yep. This one features enhanced off-road capability, as the photos prove. It has a new 3.6-litre V6 mated to a six-speed automatic that is more powerful and efficient than the previous model and offers more than 1,800kg of trailering capability. It has 310 horsepower yet drinks just 11.7 litres per 100km and is quite frugal thanks to direct injection, variable valve timing and cylinder deactivation.

And, it can kick up a storm too…

It sure can. It packs a new drive mode selector so you can change the chassis and powertrain to whatever the driving conditions require and at the heart of it all is an advanced all-wheel drive system with active twin clutch which is said to enhance traction – and I wouldn’t argue against that. I was very impressed with the way it handled the rough stuff out here in the desert. The All Terrain mode works with the AWD system and it doesn’t put a foot wrong.

Looks like you had a lot of fun out there. But, how can you tell this trim apart from the others?

That’s easy; the badge at the back and the sides says ‘All Terrain’…

Ok smarty pants, how else?

It also has a body-colour grille surround, black chrome trim and unique wheels compared to the rest of the lineup. Also, the interior is designed just for five passengers - nope, this one doesn’t have a third row but you get covered storage bins in the rear cargo floor instead. Oh, and the headrests say ‘All Terrain’ as well but really, it’s when you venture off the beaten track when you realise that this is an all-terrain vehicle.

It’s pretty good on the road too…

It really is. With a MacPherson strut front suspension and five-link rear, the ride is very smooth and very comfortable. It soaks up all the road imperfections with ease and has a rack-mounted electric power steering system with a light wheel which makes maneuverability easy, especially when it comes to parking. And with all manner of safety systems such as New Front Pedestrian Braking, Forward Collision Alert, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert and Front and Rear Parking Assist, you could drive it with your eyes closed…

Tell me you didn’t…

Of course I didn’t, and neither should you because that would be dangerous of course - and you’ll miss all those looks of admiration from others on the road as this one glides past. It really is a good looking vehicle with a comfortable interior, loads of kit and impressive performance.