Relevance: we all desire it, strive for it, work for it. If you’re not relevant, you’re not relatable, no one will understand you or want to interact with you. While relevance is something you’d imagine only animate objects to possess, it is perhaps the inanimate objects that possess this quality (or lack it) the most.
When was the last time you thought about using an MP3 player? Changing the tape in your answering machine? Taking out your digital camera instead of your phone to take a picture? All irrelevant actions in today’s society.
What am I getting at here? Relevance in the automotive world is key to making sales. If your vehicle doesn’t significantly demonstrate that it has a strong bearing and hold on what consumers want and need in today’s market, you’re toast.
The 2015 GMC Acadia is teetering on the edge of irrelevance, despite tech-y bits and its top-trim Denali get-up. It’s not a bad car, but it’s starting to lack social relevance, and its triplet sibling rivalry doesn’t help it, either.
Placement in the game
The GMC Acadia is not a bad vehicle, not at all. In fact, it’s quite good as a whole. It’s a reliable, roomy, practical family hauler that offers a stupid amount of space in the rear without being the size of a Yukon, which means it’s also slightly better in the realm of gas consumption, too (though not stellar as I only managed to get the final rating down to 14.2L/100km and I was really trying to be savvy).
So, what it comes down to with the GMC Acadia Denali is its placement in the midsize SUV segment. Price-wise, the Acadia Denali automatically makes itself irrelevant: Near the $60k mark, the competition is leaps and bounds ahead of it in terms of design, drivability, and material quality.
Again, it’s not that the 2015 GMC Acadia Denali is a bad car. It’s not. And if you’re loyal to GM, adore American cars, have driven their cars for years and are looking for something bigger than the Terrain and Chevrolet Trax, and the only dealer in town is GMC then the Acadia makes perfect sense. However, from an outsider’s point of view (as in someone who’s not invested in the brand), the GMC Acadia costs too much for too little.
Let me explain; the Acadia Denali is well equipped. It’s decked out to the nines with all the latest technological gadgetry, including premium touch surfaces, Colour Touch Navigation with IntelliLink, head-up controls displayed on the windscreen, Premium Bose speaker system, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and so on.
It’s simply that the up-level-ness of the interior doesn’t fit with the rest of the car and isn’t enough to justify the price as a whole. While the seats are uber comfortable and backseat space is cavernous and perfect for larger families, the drive belies the luxuriousness of it all.
Drive feels laboured
Despite sporting a 3.6L V6 that produces 288 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque, the Acadia Denali feels sluggish and held back. It’s slow and not particularly perky. The 6-speed automatic transmission feels uninterested in its tasks, and steering is vague (but that could have had something to do with the thick winter rubber on my particular tester). And while it sports a four-wheel independent suspension, the Acadia Denali isn’t always the most comfortable, especially on pothole-ridden streets. I wished it would be a bit more comfortable overall.
For the price, I wouldn't want to feel like something was missing, and I did with the 2015 GMC Acadia Denali. On the flip side, this is a good-looking SUV full of masculine and classy lines that keep it relevant in terms of exterior aesthetics -- a big, bold, squared-off vehicle that sports the GMC name proudly. Its siblings (Chevy Traverse/Buick Enclave) are equally appealing, but they aren’t as manly as the GMC Acadia Denali, and I think that’s the only aspect that really sets it apart.
Sibling rivalry at its best (or worst?)
There’s another downfall of the 2015 GMC Acadia Denali: Its biggest competition comes from its parent company’s lineup. The appeal of the Acadia indeed isn’t enough to set it apart from the Traverse and/or Enclave. They all offer similar pricing and amenities, so at that point it really and truly comes down to brand loyalty.
If you’re not loyal to GM, may I suggest taking your $60k elsewhere and spending it on something German and much more relevant in today’s market?