INTERIOR

While the Acadia Denali's upgraded exterior is apparent, the interior falls a little flat. It looks good, but it's not an up-to-date look. The instrument cluster was blah-looking and seemed outdated in today's world of LCD screens.

My family of four was right at home inside the seven-seater and not just because it came equipped with the optional rear entertainment system (though this is the only feature my kids will remember). In the front row, the leather seats are firm and highly adjustable with lumbar support for both driver and passenger.

The center stack is easy to navigate and doesn't overwhelm with too many buttons and controls. This made operating the radio, DVD player and air-conditioning system easy and confusion-free. Even though the instrument cluster seemed outdated, I was happy to see the head-up display project my speed onto the windshield and my line of vision; this kept me from taking my eyes off the road for speedometer checks.

For the most part, visibility was great from the driver's seat, and the optional backup camera made it even easier to safely navigate busy parking lots. I was not so fond of the second-row DVD screen, which popped down from the ceiling and seriously obstructed my view. While this inconvenience is hard to avoid with entertainment systems in general, there are automakers that have successfully engineered solutions.

I jumped for joy when I first saw the captain's chairs in the second row. In addition to providing easy access to the third row, these chairs also create an invisible barrier between my kids, making it harder for them to annoy/hit/smack/poke and/or spit on each other. A second-row bench is available. Second-row cupholders were located in the doors, which can be hard to reach for younger kids.

The third-row bench seats three and is split 60/40. Legroom is more restricted than in the second row, but the second-row occupants can slide their seats forward to share the wealth. The cupholders also are easier to reach.

    See also:

    Safety System Check
    Now and then, check that the safety belt reminder light, safety belts, buckles, latch plates, retractors, and anchorages are all working properly. Look for any other loose or damaged safety belt syst ...

    Using the Radio to Control a USB Storage Device or iPod
    The radio can control a USB storage device or an iPod using the radio buttons and knobs, and display song information on the radio’s display. (Tune): Turn to select files. SEEK: Press to go to t ...

    Exit Lighting
    The interior lamps come on when the key is removed from the ignition. They turn off automatically in 20 seconds. The lights do not come on if the dome override button is pressed in. ...