Having received a clean bill of health following its 20,000km service last week, I decided there was no better time than now to put the Acadia’s off-road credentials to the test.
As you’ll no doubt be aware, the GMC isn’t a serious off-roader; our handsome Denali tester is more of a family-friendly mid-size SUV with third-row seating — but it has been blessed with all-wheel drive. Having been impressed by the Acadia All Terrain that I tested last year, I kind of expected our long-termer to be able to cope with weathered trails with heavy ruts with ease. And so it proved.
It confidently tackled the testing terrain without getting bogged down or stuck — and this was before I engaged all four wheels into action. It was doing just fine with the torque being sent to the front but with the additional traction the all-wheel-drive system proved the Acadia to be pretty capable. My only gripe is the instrument cluster doesn’t show which mode you have activated via the Traction Select system (in total, it has five drive modes — 2x4, 4x4, Sport, All Terrain and Trailer/Tow). When this GMC was redesigned last year, one of the major talking points was its weight loss; it had dropped an astounding 318kg, and now with a potent 310 horsepower 3.6-litre V6 for company, the Acadia can tackle the rough stuff with aplomb. Just be wary of is its lack of ground clearance; as the front end sits pretty low you can’t be too gung-ho when you venture off the beaten track or that attractively styled bumper will be nursing all sorts of cuts and bruises. You have to take the bumps and ruts a bit carefully or you risk damaging the nose but as I said, this isn’t an extreme off-roader — though when the road ends it doesn’t feel out of place and gamely kicks up lots of sand and ensures thrills aplenty.
It probably won’t spend much time on the trails but when the opportunity presents itself for you to give the AWD function a go, you won’t be left feeling disappointed in the slightest.