They did all the really hard work last year and so for 2018, GMC put its feet up when it came to updating the Acadia. It was totally redesigned in 2017 but rather than grow bigger and heavier as is generally the case with new models, it went the opposite way and became substantially smaller. It dropped 318kg in weight too compared to the previous-generation (which ended up staying in the fleet for a decade) and this was a great move because it didn’t just help improve its fuel efficiency — it also became far more nimble and easier to manoeuvre around town thanks to the shrunken dimensions. Slotting in between the compact Terrain and full-size Yukon, the Acadia has to be one of the most versatile crossovers in the market.

For 2018, this truck-based family hauler doesn’t get any ground-breaking changes but it keeps on truckin’ with a few minor updates. You know what they say, if it ain’t broke...  So what’s new for this model year? Well, the All-Terrain trim is now available on both SLE and SLT model Acadias and can be had with five-, six- or seven-passenger seating configuration. Oh, and a tyre-fill alert which monitors how much air is pumped into an underinflated tyre is now standard. That’s yer lot — but what else do you really want from this premium crossover which can be gussied up or dressed down and offers a refined ride and bags of tech and kit? A new Blue Steel Metallic paint option and heated steering wheel? Ok, you get these too.

 

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Photos: Stefan Lindeque

Aside from that, it’s the same as the 2017 model year but there’s nothing wrong with that for you still get a handsome, practical and robust vehicle that the entire family will enjoy.

I’m a fan of the All-Terrain’s clean yet macho looks; from the squared-off wheel openings that convey a tough, truck look to the fancy bright work on the muscular body, it will certainly get its share of attention on the road. The chrome-trimmed grille (with a body colour edge) is so much better than that of the predecessor while the wraparound rear side windows with dark D-pillars looks smart. Around the back, the large taillights are separated by a section of chrome trim and the twin exhausts tips round it off nicely.

As for the cabin, our tester accommodates just five passengers but instead of a third row it has covered storage bins in the rear cargo floor and when you drop the second row you get a whopping 2,237 litres of cargo room. It also packs an impressive range of standard equipment such as five USB ports, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot, and a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system. It’s loaded with the latest active safety features too from Front Pedestrian Braking, Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking, Following Distance Indicator, IntelliBeam automatic headlight high-beam control, Surround Vision camera system, Safety Alert Seat, Forward Collision Alert, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert and Front and Rear Parking Assist.

 

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Photos: Stefan Lindeque

And when you take it off road, you don’t need the ‘All-Terrain’ script on the headrests to remind you that this really is an all-terrain vehicle. It can easily tackle the trails thanks to the potent 3.6-litre V6 (mated to a six-speed auto) that delivers meaty power throughout its rev range. It produces 310 horsepower and 367Nm of torque while the advanced All-Wheel Drive with a twin-clutch engineered for optimal performance in a wide range of slippery conditions ranging to wet to ice and loose surfaces provides optimal traction in every situation. And with a drive mode selector that includes 4×4, All Terrain, Sport, and Trailer/Tow, there’s almost nowhere you can’t go with this.

Even though it’s much the same as last year’s All-Terrain, it has some neat touches that add a bit more curb appeal. It’s ideal for those who want a spacious, premium crossover that doesn’t just easily handle the rough stuff — it positively welcomes it. Looking for a noticeable upgrade from Chevrolet’s offerings? Look no further.