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The midsize SUV is alive and well and thriving at GMC! That’s my takeaway after spending a week in the hot off the presses GMC Acadia Denali. The Denali is the top of the line luxury version of GMC’s midsize hauler although I have to caution you that mid size as applied to the Acadia Denali is pretty big at 200.8 inches in length. The Acadia is the GMC version of Chevy’s Traverse or the Buick Enclave which are both excellent family haulers. GM gives the Acadia a refresh for 2013 with a new grille, headlights, led surrounds, and exterior appointments. Along with the 20 inch chrome wheels and tires it makes the Acadia a very attractive and distinct looking vehicle.

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Slip into the Acadia Denali and you are struck immediately with how roomy it is inside. It feels almost Yukon-ish with plenty of room in any of the three rows of seats. There is also plenty of ease of access to that third row with the second row of captain chairs. The panoramic sunroof is a big plus on this model giving the kids a chance to see a liitle nature instead of staring at their i pads or videos on long trips. Materials have been upgraded and are among the best in the class and the Denali also gets cool ambient lighting!

The Acadia gets the GM Intellilink entertainment system with Stitcher and Pandora capability voice command and  Bose speakers and maybe one of my favorite things…it can all be controlled from a pod of switches near the tail gate making the Acadia Denali a very groovy accessory for that tail gate party!

It is like bringing a DJ to the tailgate party! Photo Credit Vinnie Richichi

It is like bringing a DJ to the tailgate party! Photo Credit Vinnie Richichi

Safety also a big factor in the Acadia as it comes with a number of improvements including a cross traffic detecting back-up camera.

A wide screen side traffic detection system is one of the safety features on the Acadia

A wide screen side traffic detection system is one of the safety features on the Acadia

Under the hood the Acadia gets one choice…a 288 hp direct injection v6 that is adequate to move the Acadia through traffic. Add the all wheel drive and the six speed transmission and you wont go darting through traffic but with a tow rating of 5500 pounds it will get that boat up the mountain and to the lake with ease.

Four wheel independent suspension and dual flow shocks give the Acadia nice handling characteristics on windy roads and bad weather conditions. It has solid behavior through the curves. While not car like it is above average for the class.

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Price tag on the Acadia Denali I drove which was loaded…$ 47,495 which puts into the luxury class where it holds its own quite well. Gas mileage comes in at 16 city and 23 highway according to GMC. In my testing I averaged a combined 18 miles per gallon. The Acadia gets top safety ratings including five stars from the Federal Government.

Don’t let the three initials fool you. This is as car comfortable an SUV as you can find out there. With superior handling, the ability to pull a house, excellent attention to detail and chiseled good looks the Acadia Denali sits at the top of it’s class and gives you big SUV comfort in a smaller package.

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Get more reviews, news about cars and the people who drive them, interviews and tips on how to get more out of your driving experience all on Drivetime with Vinnie Richichi and Rob Pratte Saturday mornings 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA. Also listen to Vinnie on The Vinnie and Cook Show Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sportsradio 93-7 The Fan.