Ignition - - Front Page - By Lee Bailie

So what does this mean, ex­actly? They shrunk it – and not by a lit­tle ei­ther.

The '17 Aca­dia is seven inches (177.8 mm) shorter and 700 pounds (317.5 kg) lighter than the out­go­ing model.

On the plus side, the Aca­dia is now a much eas­ier ve­hi­cle to park and ma­neu­ver in crowded mall park­ing lots, and av­er­age fuel econ­omy (for V6 mod­els) is about 2 L / 100 km bet­ter.

$62,245 (as tested)

The down­side is it is now smaller on the in­side – cargo space has shrunk by about 1,000 litres) – although third-row seat­ing re­mains.

Built in Saturn's for­mer home of Spring Hill, Tenn., the Aca­dia shares the new C1XX plat­form with the Cadil­lac XT5.

In ad­di­tion to a chas­sis and an as­sem­bly plant, the Aca­dia also shares a 3.6L DOHC V6 en­gine, which fea­tures ac­tive fuel man­age­ment and cylin­der de­ac­ti­va­tion. Power out­put is iden­ti­cal to the Caddy, rated at 310 horse­power and 271 lb-ft. of torque.

One dif­fer­ence be­tween the two, how­ever, is the gear­box. The Aca­dia gets a six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, as op­posed to the eight-speed found in the XT5. While its start­ing price of $54,695 isn't ex­actly cheap, the Aca­dia De­nali comes equipped with a lengthy list of stan­dard pre­mium equip­ment, in­clud­ing a leather in­te­rior, heated and ven­ti­lated front seats, an 8-inch in­fo­tain­ment touch­screen with nav­i­ga­tion and satel­lite ra­dio, dual 8-way power front seats and 20-inch alu­minum wheels.

On the road, the Aca­dia De­nali de­liv­ers a quiet and com­fort­able ride. The handling doesn't seem es­pe­cially sharp, but is ac­cept­able for a mid-size SUV. The steer­ing feels rea­son­ably di­rect and re­spon­sive and, much like the XT5, ac­cel­er­a­tion and power de­liv­ery from the 3.6 is solid, if un­spec­tac­u­lar.

In­side, the Aca­dia De­nali is hand­somely de­signed, very welle­quipped and quite com­fort­able. The de­sign aes­thetic is much heav­ier on pick-up truck in­flu- ences than the XT5, but the De­nali trim does make the Aca­dia feel more lux­u­ri­ous. Not a Cadil­lac, but still pretty luxe for a GMC.

And de­spite be­ing a bit down on in­te­rior space com­pared to its cav­ernous pre­de­ces­sor, the Aca­dia is still spa­cious, and get­ting in and out of the third row is easy.

Com­pared to the XT5, which I drove a few weeks prior, the Aca­dia De­nali holds its own and may make more sense if you're in search of value and aren't as con­cerned about the badge on the front grille.

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