Driving Impressions

The overriding thing that struck me was how small the Acadia feels when you drive it. Make no mistake, this is a big vehicle, but it doesn't feel that way, and that's a good thing. It's easy to judge the Acadia's width and length, so it was easy to squeeze into small lanes in city driving. Parking was also pretty effortless for such a long, wide car.

Some flaws did pop up on the highway. For starters, the side mirrors are a bad shape to be of much use. The top section of each mirror slopes down, really pinching your vision. The mirrors also seem to be too narrow to give a good panoramic view — which is what's needed in a large vehicle.

Also, the window sills are high, which created a weird blind spot in the next lane. Any small cars zooming by on the right (as small cars are wont to do in Illinois) are invisible for a second. The more I drove the more I adjusted to this blind spot, but better mirrors would solve the problem altogether.

The drivetrain is a solid — if not spectacular — performer. The 3.6-liter V-6 engine and six-speed automatic do a nice job of moving the Acadia from a dead stop and a decent job of passing on the highway.

Same goes for ride and steering: Both aspects fit the type of car the Acadia Denali is trying to be. As used by GMC, the term "Denali" doesn't mean performance. It's a luxury trim, so the ride is soft. At times on the highway, the Denali felt like it was floating along. The steering isn't vague, but it is light, both on the highway and in parking lots.

None of these things are bad, but if you're the sort of driver who enjoys a more engaged driving experience, the Acadia Denali is likely to disappoint. Most luxury car shoppers, however, probably won't find anything objectionable about the Denali's road manners.

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