The anti-minivans; Dodge Durango, Ford Explorer, GMC Acadia, Honda Pilot, Mazda CX-9, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota Highlander duke it out
3rd place: 2011 GMC Acadia Denali - 76.7%
Even if the Acadia, part of the trio consisting of the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse, is one of the older vehicles in the lot, its platform, which was launched in 2007, thoroughly impressed the panel.
The Acadia, in Denali trim, was not without faults, though. The first, and most obvious, was its price. At a mind-numbing $65,000, this vehicle is priced in luxury-brand territory—that doesn't work for us. We found the sideview mirrors to be far too small (and of an odd shape) for a vehicle this large. The dashboard also garnered some negative comments for its sometimes random layout of controls and many of these buttons being of a diminutive size.
Another downside, unusual for GM, is its fuel consumption. In our test, it gulped the largest amount of black gold despite an engine that revs at only 1,600 rpm at 100 km/h. We consider this to be a direct result of the car's heavy and wide load. Despite that, the Acadia got the third quickest 0-100 km/h time. An impressive result considering the laboured feeling the driver gets when accelerating.
The Acadia was on the receiving end of more praise. First, it's quite the looker. In Denali guise, the extra brightwork is tasteful and the wheels work. In fact, other than the Explorer, it sported the second most appreciated exterior design. Functional readouts are intuitive; the gauge set is complete and the multifunction navigation screen is straightforward. The Acadia's sound system impressed many members of the jury. Regardless of where you take up residence aboard this vehicle, comfort will be found. In fact, the Acadia provided the best 3rd row, which can seat three passengers.
On the road, the vehicle rides contently and confidently. When loaded, it fared quite well, slotting in behind the Honda and Ford with a well-controlled ride. The drive is generally quiet, the 288-hp, 3.6L V6 providing plenty of oomph, and the Acadia feels connected and predictable. The GMC is surprisingly manoeuvrable and braking distances were short. As a whole, the Acadia was a pleasant place to spend time behind the wheel.
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