By on February 13, 2008

x08gm_ac009.jpgSUVs are evil. Evil I tell you! They represent all that’s bad about America: greed, sloth, gluttony, selfishness, arrogance and environmental indifference. They gargle gas, warm the planet and knock poor little hybrids into next week. More importantly, SUVs cost a fortune to feed and depreciate like packet of condoms. So what’s an SUV-intensive manufacturer like GM to do? Why make an SUV that doesn’t do all that hard-core SUV stuff, spiffy-it-up a bit, and sell it to all the people who love SUVs but hate SUVs. Ladies and gentlemen, the GMC Acadia.

Semi-evil or not, the Acadia sure is a handsome beast. It hits the sweet spot between the overly swoopy Buick Enclave (one of its two ugly Lambda dancing half sisters) and the excessively angular Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot. Though it's not obvious from photographs, the Acadia’s huge. It’s only a couple of inches shorter than its GMC sibling (and competitor), the once-mighty Yukon SUV. To add political correctness, GM removed eight inches of height, giving the Acadia a PC-pleasing passenger-car-like appearance.

x08gm_ac011.jpgLike all three-row CUV’s, the Acadia’s packaging is not without its problems. On the positive side, thanks to GM's "SmartSlide" system, passengers don't have to mountaineer over the second row to get into the wayback. But once ensconced, those poor unfortunate souls are relegated to a how-low-can-you-go seating position. They also face the daunting task of convincing second row passengers to scootch forward and sacrifice their legs legroom– so that the rearmost occupants don’t have to sit like cross-legged Yogi.

While the Acadia’s SmartSlide system offers kid-friendly clambering; the middle seats ride in huge tracks recessed into the floor. What’s the bet crayons, Lego and French fries clog the tracks– impeding the seat's movement and causing expensive damage to the mechanism– faster than you can say “No YOU get the vacuum cleaner.”

Extricating yourself from the rear also lacks fun. The Acadia’s interior designers forgot to include an assist handle for those of us who are too tall to just stand up and walk out.

x08gm_ac007.jpgAesthetically, some genius in the design department decided that plastichrome trim would make the Acadia’s interior look more expensive. It doesn't. The trim around the center AC vents curves onto the top of the dash– right where it reflects the sun into the driver's eyes. The trim around the shifter looks like something from a Wal-Mart boom box. Props for eschewing wood grain or faux carbon fiber, but the overall ambiance doesn’t say $40k vehicle to me.

Questionable materials quality doesn't help the situation, and do much to make it worse. The leather on the test vehicle’s passenger seat was already cracked and showing its backing in one spot. The tambour door on the cubby in the console had all the substance of a sheet of typing paper. The volume control knob on the non-GPS-equipped radio felt like it was connected to nothing whatsoever.

When you turn the Acadia’s key, you hear… practically nothing; I had to look at the tach to see if it had started. Slide the six-speed automatic’s shifter into "D" (or "L" if you want to use the non-intuitive buttons on the side of the lever to swap cogs), and you're on your way. The transmission shifts smoothly on the way up. But when you floor it, the tranny jerks as the autobox drops a couple of gears to propel the 2.5-ton family hauler with some semblance of alacrity.

miamiacadia014.jpgThe Acadia’s not quick but neither does it block traffic; its 275hp 3.6-liter V6 ambles the big rig from rest to 60 miles per hour in just under eight seconds. Because of the CUV's smooth ride and abundant sound insulation, once sufficient speed is attained, it’s a pleasure to putter about town or cruise the interstate. While you’d no more hustle an Acadia than use a MX-5 to move house, the GMC always feels like you're driving something much smaller.

Any illusions in that department are shattered at the gas pump. The GMC Acadia is EPA rated at 16/24. While that’s an improvement on the Yukon/Tahoe’s abysmal 14/19, GMC's three-row machine is no fuel miser– especially when you compare it to Toyota’s RAV4 (21/27).

x08gm_ac008.jpgQuestion: do you REALLY need that third row? If you don’t, face facts: the GMC Acadia offers nothing more than faux rehab for SUV recidivists. (Suck it up and buy a nice $40k car, already.) If you need room for seven/eight, or don’t care a fig about mileage, well, there are still a lot of better choices in the $35k to $45k CUV price range; plenty of station-wagons-on-stilts that provide a similar driving experience without the Acadia's obvious cost-cutting.

Still, the Acadia is a good vehicle that does what its target market (mainly GM loyalists) expects it to do. It's too bad that it's appeal has been degraded by beancounters. If the devil is in the details, it must be Hell being an Acadia.

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87 Comments on “2008 GMC Acadia Review...”


  • avatar
    L47_V8

    I’m a little unsure as to why you compare its fuel mileage to the much, much smaller RAV4. Perhaps comparing it to the V6 Highlander (2WD = 18/24, 4WD = 17/23) might be more in line with its size, though I believe even the upsized Highlander is quite a bit smaller than the monstrous GMC. Still, looking at the Toyota’s numbers, they’re very close to the Acadia’s.

    Anyway, I’ve been in both the Saturn Outlook and Acadia, and I’ve found the interior reminds me of the Saturn Aura’s – which is to say decently styled in most spots, a step up from GMs of yore, but still not class competitive. I don’t know what all the fuss is about. The Lambdas, the Aura, and the new Malibu are better than the craptastic older interiors, but definitely aren’t world-beaters.

  • avatar
    Buick61

    The Rav4′s gas mileage? That comparison opens a can of worms. Didn’t you just criticize the third row in the Acadia? Sitting in the Rav4′s third row is right up there with waterboarding on the CIA’s list of not-quite-torture torture techniques.

    The Acadia has one of the best third rows in the business (up there with the CX-9), and still has cargo space behind it. I think that’ll explain why the MUCH larger Acadia’s mpg is somewhat lower than that of the Rav4.

  • avatar

    L47_V8 I’m a little unsure as to why you compare its fuel mileage to the much, much smaller RAV4. Because for the things that most people use a vehicle like the Acadia, a smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicle like a RAV4 would work just as well. I mean, honestly, how often do you see any three-row vehicle with anyone but kids in the third row — if it's occupied at all. If people are buying large CUVs (including the Pilot and Highlander) because they think they're going to save a lot of gas over an SUV, they need to take a step back and take an honest look at their transportation needs. If they did, they'd see they could get by with a smaller vehicle and save even more gas. (Yeah, and I know what the chances of that ever happening are!)

  • avatar
    L47_V8

    Frank Williams :
    February 13th, 2008 at 9:10 am

    L47_V8
    I’m a little unsure as to why you compare its fuel mileage to the much, much smaller RAV4.

    Because for the things that most people use a vehicle like the Acadia, a smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicle like a RAV4 would work just as well. I mean, honestly, how often do you see any three-row vehicle with anyone but kids in the third row — if it’s occupied at all. If people are buying large CUVs (including the Pilot and Highlander) because they think they’re going to save a lot of gas over an SUV, they need to take a step back and take an honest look at their transportation needs. If they did, they’d see they could get by with a smaller vehicle and save even more gas. (Yeah, and I know what the chances of that ever happening are!)

    I agree 100%, and I’m a huge critic of the massive amounts of gigantic SUVs getting 9 mpg because the lone person in the car (the driver, usually a 110 lb soccer mom) decides she needs to test the 0-60 acceleration at every single stoplight. However, I still think you could’ve picked an apples-to-apples comparison. It could be misconstrued.

  • avatar
    VictoryCabal

    Frank Williams :
    February 13th, 2008 at 9:10 am
    Because for the things that most people use a vehicle like the Acadia, a smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicle like a RAV4 would work just as well. I mean, honestly, how often do you see any three-row vehicle with anyone but kids in the third row — if it’s occupied at all

    So what you’re saying is that instead of comparing the Arcadia to an equivalent vehicle, you decided to compare it to a differet class of vehicle that you feel that people should be driving instead.

    When you review the Buick Lucerne or some other equivalent car, can we expect you to compare the milage to the Toyota Yaris? After all, you never see people using that middle spot in the back seat of the Buick, so the Yaris must be the appropriate car for them. Right?

  • avatar

    VictoryCabal
    So what you’re saying is that instead of comparing the Arcadia to an equivalent vehicle, you decided to compare it to a differet class of vehicle that you feel that people should be driving instead.

    I’m simply making a point that if people are moving to CUVs because they want to save gas over an SUV, there are much more economical CUVs they could buy, including more economical three-row alternatives if that’s what they’re looking for.

  • avatar

    As the owner of a Honda Odyssey, I want to add my support to Frank’s position.

    If you use a CUV’s way back seats for small children and don’t carry big loads, the Acadia/Enclave/Outlook/Traverse will do the job. As will plenty of other three-row CUVs that are better built, more comfortable for the price and get better mpgs. The higher mpg, better value RAV-4 is a valid comparison.

    If you use the third row for adults (or near-as-dammit adults) and/or want/need the carrying capacity created by a long vehicle, you need MORE rear space than the Acadia/Enclave/Outlook/Traverse and all the other three row CUVs can deliver.

    For those applications nothing beats a minivan or, gulp, a full-size SUV (e.g. the Lincoln Navigator)– even though neither of these alternatives represents a significant improvement over the average CUV’s mpg.

    Now if you’re talking “occasional” third row use, well, who am I to argue? In a free market, consumers are free to buy capacity they don’t need save, perhaps, psychologically. Which is, in fact, the entire rationale for the SUV boom. Which is what the CUV is supposed to be reacting against. But isn’t, really.

    I think Frank’s Acadia vs. RAV-4 comparison helps make this point.

  • avatar
    Zarba

    I have to agree that the RAV4 is a bad comparison to the Acadia; they are simply not cross-shopped, whether you approve of it or not.

    We looked at the Acadia when we were buying a new truck for the wife and kids. We liked the vehicle, and it is handsome for a CUV, but the interior bits felt like they were designed (in typical GM fashion) to last as long as the warranty. Very cheap.

    We opted for a Honda Pilot, and it’s a very good vehicle. Not as swoopy as the Acadia, but it feels like it will last, and our experience with Honda products indicates that it will easily go 200K.

    As for the RAV4, the third row is a joke. We need it for various school activities, and in looking at the available CUV’s, the Pilot was an easy choice. We liked the mazda CX-9, but it’s a brand new vehicle, and I’m not sold on Mazda’s long-term reliability. We keep our vehicles a long time, usually 7-10 years, so this was the deciding factor. And in that regard, the GMC wasn’t even a player.

  • avatar

    Zarba:

    I have to agree that the RAV4 is a bad comparison to the Acadia; they are simply not cross-shopped, whether you approve of it or not.

    Do we know that for a fact? Also, again, Frank is saying that they should be cross-shopped.

  • avatar

    This phenomenon is baffling at best. There is an apparent need for people to have vehicles which seat six in comfort and haul lots of stuff; minivans do this job superbly and are not nearly as effective at blocking sunlight as they prowl down suburban streets. On the other hand, the more plebian station wagon is an excellent choice for those who might wish room for four and space for lots of stuff, including a Home Depot run over the weekend. Either vehicle can be equipped with 4WD for those places where it is necessary, but both the minivan and the station wagon appear to be radioactive from sales statistics.

    Strange that the space efficient minivan and the utilitarian station wagon do not make the appropriate automotive fashion statement today. One cannot blame this phenomenon on the manufacturers, but it would be interesting indeed to understand the psychology behind people buying vehicles which are generally less suitable for their use than either a minivan or a good old wagon.

  • avatar

    The folks I see that do use that third row are construction contractors. Whether they carry as many workers as possible rather than fill up the job site with cars, or stop at the temp agency to collect workers with no cars, I can’t say.

    I do know that a lot of the contractors working in MD drive in from PA – 60 to 120 miles away. Some of their service trucks and vans are crammed with passengers.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    I won’t wade into the RAV4 vs. Acadia argument, but I will stick up for the Lambdas a bit.

    What I think is not appreciated is that 99% of 3-row Crossovers are a joke (inclduing our MDX). The third row is so small that only small children fit back there. But here’s the thing, you the parent still have to go back there every time and install the booster/car seat (where is that damned latch loop, anyhow?). Then you have to pull the seatbelt around the carseat. Then you get out of the car so you can lift your kid so they can get to the ‘way back’.

    You’re not done yet, you still have to get back to the third row so you can fit the seat belt around your kid. Five minutes later, when you arrive at pre-school, you need to reverse the entire process so you can fold the third row back down so you can actually carry something back there.

    The R-class and Lambdas like the Acadia are the only crossovers I’ve seen with enough room to make this process liveable.

    Why not buy a nice Odyssey or Sienna for less coin and better mileage? Well, I asked that very same question. And was told by the little mother of 3 that she wouldn’t be caught dead in a ‘mommyvan.”

    Perhaps we could get one in black and it could double as a hearse.

  • avatar
    VictoryCabal

    Robert Farago:
    February 13th, 2008 at 10:07 am
    As the owner of a Honda Odyssey, I want to add my support to Frank’s position. [snip] I think Frank’s Acadia vs. RAV-4 comparison helps make this point.

    That may be, but I don’t feel that he makes it clear in the review WHY he considers them equivalent, and WHY comparing the milage of the two vehicles fair. The review continaully hits on how big the Arcadia, and then compares the milage to Toyota’s smallest SUV. Perhaps I’m over-sensitive, but the whole graf has a very Thomas Freidman-esq feel to it. Would you compare the Land Cruiser to the Torrent? Why not? They’re both SUVs.

    If you consider them equivalent only because they’re both 3-row CUVs, then state that explicitly.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    I guess it’s “Pick on Frank Williams Day.”

    However, I don’t mind that you pointed out thriftier alternatives (the Highlander, with its smaller cross-section, has a better chance of hitting its highway numbers at speed and, with its lower mass, has a better chance of hitting its city numbers and the third row isn’t waterboarding, it’s just a stress position).

    No, what’s irked me is “The Acadia’s not quick… … under eight seconds.”

    There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s pretty good. This vehicle stops barely short of being a truck. In fact, twenty years ago, it probably would have been noticeably bigger than most trucks. In 1956, it would certainly have been bigger than all pickup trucks. Anything under ten in this weight class isn’t bad at all and if this beast makes under eight, it deserves a certain amount of praise, along the lines of “surprising giddy-up for a trucklet.”

  • avatar

    LXbuilder:

    Right on. To much editorializing about the class of vehicle (largish CUV) in the review.

    While I prefer a wagon surprisingly U.S. consumers don’t. That should not be held against the Acadia. Is it a good large sized CUV?

  • avatar

    I second KixStart’s assessment, 0-60 in under 8 seconds for a big-ass car was surprisingly fast to me. Sure it isn’t quick, for a sports car. For a 5,000 pound monster, that’s rocket speed.

  • avatar
    MPLS

    The Highlander is the apporpriate vehicle to compare to the Acadia. Also, as mentioned in the review, the Acadua gets 25% better than a Yukon so it is indeed a more economical choice. Plus, most people are not paying $40k for the Acadia, they are paying around $30k.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    As SUV’s continue to evolve in a direction that completely abandons their original capabilities, one is reminded of the axiom that a fanatic is one, who upon losing sight of their original goal, redoubles their effort.

    I noticed in the review that there wasn’t a single word about this vehicle’s traction in adverse conditions, let alone any mention of its off-road capability, if there is any.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Perkins, I’m not sure you can say, with confidence, that US consumers don’t like wagons. For the most part, we don’t have much in the way of wagon choices to evaluate.

    Subaru (kinda – you must take AWD)
    Volvo ($$!)
    Matrix/Vibe (nice but small yet tall)
    Focus wagon (dinky and, anyway, a Ford, so forget it).

    Did I overlook anyone? And what don’t we have?

    No Camry wagon
    No Taurus wagon (there is the Taurus X but it’s not a wagon)
    No Impala wagon
    No Malibu wagon (there was the Maxx but not really a wagon, sort of a hatchie-wagon and, anyway, gone)
    No Accord wagon
    No Cavalier wagon
    No Peugeot SW-8 (I think it was a derivative of the 504).

    If you want something like a wagon, you go get something like a Rav (that was our decision) or move into CUV/SUV territory.

    We got along, for a long time, with a Volvo 240 with 3rd seat option. But couldn’t replace it for reasonable with anything similar.

  • avatar

    Perkins : While I prefer a wagon surprisingly U.S. consumers don’t. That should not be held against the Acadia. Is it a good large sized CUV? As I stated in the last paragraph, Still, the Acadia is a good vehicle … [that] has been degraded by beancounters. It's a pity that a vehicle with so much promise was brought down by the quality of materials. I was serious about the bad leather on the passenger seat. It was probably an inch square and right in the middle of the seat cushion. It should have been fixed before it ever left the factory. Combine quality control like that with small but glaring design mistakes (like omitting an assist handle for the third row and the dash trim that reflected the sun into my eyes) and it's obvious that with a bit more attention to detail they produce a world-class vehicle. As it is, though, it's close but no cigar.

  • avatar
    L47_V8

    Frank Williams :
    February 13th, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Perkins :
    While I prefer a wagon surprisingly U.S. consumers don’t. That should not be held against the Acadia. Is it a good large sized CUV?

    As I stated in the last paragraph,

    Still, the Acadia is a good vehicle … [that] has been degraded by beancounters.

    It’s a pity that a vehicle with so much promise was brought down by the quality of materials. I was serious about the bad leather on the passenger seat. It was probably an inch square and right in the middle of the seat cushion. It should have been fixed before it ever left the factory. Combine quality control like that with small but glaring design mistakes (like omitting an assist handle for the third row and the dash trim that reflected the sun into my eyes) and it’s obvious that with a bit more attention to detail they produce a world-class vehicle. As it is, though, it’s close but no cigar.

    Welcome to GM World. For the last 15 years, at least.

    Always promising more than they deliver (not more than they can deliver, mind you – just more than they eventually do deliver). The hype nearly always outweighs the car.

  • avatar

    Larry P2
    I noticed in the review that there wasn’t a single word about this vehicle’s traction in adverse conditions, let alone any mention of its off-road capability, if there is any.

    As it was a bright, sunny, 60-degree day in Atlanta when I drove it, I had no experience with driving it in adverse conditions. Likewise, I didn’t take the FWD tester off road. It’s available with AWD and has 7.4″ of ground clearance, so I’d have to say that its off-road capability depends on where you’re taking it off road and what you expect it to do once you’re there.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Kixstart,
    I don’t think we can blame automakers for the lack of wagons. They built them, but nobody came.

    Examples:
    -Magnum
    -Camry wagon (AKA the batmobile)
    -Accord wagon
    -Taurus

    The large crossovery minivanish things also failed/ are failing:
    -Pacifica
    -Taurus X
    -R-class
    -Rendezvous/Aztek

    If people would prefer to spend $30K for a crossover when a $20K wagon is a better choice, can we really blame automakers for supplying them?

  • avatar
    NN

    The Rav-4 and the Acadia are no more competitors than a Corolla is to a 3-series. Frank’s argument that most people only need the Rav-4 would also suffice to the Corolla/3-series argument. Most people also don’t need tight handling, RWD, brand cache, etc, etc.. They merely want it, just like people want the size, perceived safety, and capabilities of the Acadia. That is why it is a poor argument.

    If we all bought this argument, then we should all be happy driving the lowest means of work transport necessary.

    Also, 16/24 while in and of itself isn’t great, it is excellent for a nearly 5000lb vehicle. As Robert pointed out, minivans don’t do much better.

    Sorry guys, but the objectivity of this review is suspect.

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    KixStart :
    Did I overlook anyone? And what don’t we have?

    The Koreans – the GMDAT built Suzuki Forenza, the just-introduced Hyundai Elantra, and the wagon-ish Kia Rondo. Focus wagon got axed some time ago.

    The RAV4 vs. Acadia argument is not unreasonable, as the American tendency is to buy a vehicle (house, flat screen TV, etc) on the larger side must now weighed against the stagflating economic climate and gradually rising gas prices. Given that and the average household having 2.2 kids (and sometimes have to carry a couple of friends), one could make a case for the average family to choose the RAV4, as Frank has. (That’s if you’re not stupid enough to get the Highlander and the 7 year loan…)

    Being a minivan owner, I’ll admit it is very nice to have a larger vehicle when you need it – we seat our family of 5 all spread out in all 3 rows with room to spare for the frequent Costco runs. We are a bit snug in the much smaller Mazda5 the few times we all have to pile in, but it suffices for local trips. The big additional plus with minivans – you can get the strippers for a lot less then a current Lambda, we’ll see how low the Traverse goes.

  • avatar
    danms6

    SherbornSean:

    Don’t forget the Mazda6 wagon. The next generation looks gorgeous but still no word on when (probably if ever) it will be coming here.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Hmmm… I remember writing about the Roadmaster wagon a month back. This may be a good time to publish it at TTAC.

    I think Frank’s point has credence in a market with $3.00+ gas and an anti-SUV orientation. The Acadia will most likely fall short with those who are willing to cross-shop beyond the normal market segments… which is actually becoming commonplace these days.

    I just had a professor friend of mine buy a RAV4 upon my recommendation. He wanted an SUV with room, but did not want a gas guzzling hefty vehicle. Although he could have afforded the Pilot or Enclave (or Highlander), he went with the RAV4 because it offered the right mix of utility and heft.

    On a side note, I love wagons but they absolutely do not sell these days. The average wagon usually costs about $500 to $1000 less at the auctions precisely because people want to sit high and feel mighty. Oddly enough minivan prices are very heavily dependent on the manufacturers, but with wagons, they all just fall short of the resale values of their contemporary coupe and sedan models.

  • avatar
    phil

    SherbornSean :
    February 13th, 2008 at 11:17 am

    Kixstart,
    I don’t think we can blame automakers for the lack of wagons. They built them, but nobody came.

    i’ll predict that Toyota has made the right move here. they’ve watched this whole “predicament” of wanting utility and improved mileage and they realize that it’s image and style (the lack of) that keep people away from station wagons. toyota has a new vehicle, the Venza, which is sufficiently distinct to avoid the “station wagon” moniker. it has the genetics of many different vehicle types but it might just be the “hybrid” needed to get people into a more logical vehicle.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    NN,

    I think you’re being overly critical and overlooking something important…

    One reason for the Lambdas was the expected market of SUV owners downsizing to escape high fuel costs.

    OK. What Frank is telling that market is, you’re not going to gain much by downsizing to the Lambda. Think about your needs and, maybe, take it to the limit.

    SherbornSean,

    I think the problem with the Magnum wasn’t a dearth of people seeking a wagon, it was a dearth of people seeking the Magnum.

    But, to some extent anyway, I admit, you’re right. Ten or fifteen or whatever years ago, the Camry wagon (Batmobile?) didn’t sell well and it was discontinued. The Accord wagon didn’t sell well and ditto.

    But times change and the time may be right for a good quality wagon based on a good midsize car. Fuel costs are up, people are somewhat nervous about their impact on Global Warming; a good midsize wagon for reasonable $ might play well in this environment.

    But someone has to risk a fair amount of money to find out and I can see where they might not be eager to do that. Of course, if you’re the only one in that previously undiscovered market segment, you get all the business.

    That new Toyota thing (Venza? V-something), that’s almost there. A little bit more sport-uty than I would like but we can just as easily move back to a sedan next time, anyway.

  • avatar
    Rday

    I guess I really don’t see the need for large CUV’s. All wheel drive is nice but costly to own/run. FWD minivans have always served me well and get descent mileage. Snow and Ice have never been a problem and I have driven in South Dakota snow storms. Seems like the SUV/Pickup meets the need of heavy duty towing and the minivan carries the most people/bulky objects. Large CUV’s are just a waste IMO. But americans are know to waste money and energy on their automotive toys/distractions. Maybe when gas hits $4/gal, americans will finally wake up and start conserving fuel and money. But I won’t hold my breath.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    There’s yet another solution to the “We need seating for 8 a few times per year” problem… Take two cars.

    This works well for local trips; your kids plus a few friends to the movies or a birthday outing. We’ve done that.

    It’s also better to have what the Scouts call “two-deep leadership” in those cases, anyway. One parent to hang on to the children that aren’t lost and one parent to hunt down the one that did.

  • avatar
    NetGenHoon

    I just looked up the numbers, 0-60 for my 97 A4 is ~8 seconds when she was new.

    How’s about we all agree to call

  • avatar
    Ashy Larry

    So besides the much smaller RAV4, what are the other CUV’s in the GMC’s price range that are so much better (I ask only becasue with baby #2 on the way, the spousal unit has been making noise about handing me our V70R and ditching my 9-2x)? The CX9? The MDX?

  • avatar
    Pch101

    So what you’re saying is that instead of comparing the Arcadia to an equivalent vehicle, you decided to compare it to a differet class of vehicle that you feel that people should be driving instead.

    That isn’t what he said.

    The premise of the article is that CUV’s appeal to buyers who wish to avoid the perceived excesses of SUV’s, but that CUV’s such as this are so large and inefficient that they don’t consume much less than the SUV’s that they replace, and that there are more efficient alternatives that actually do consume substantially less.

    That’s a fair argument. As we saw during the last fuel run-up, rising fuel prices do tend to encourage shoppers to downsize their vehicles. When the compact market grew during the 1970′s, a lot of those smaller vehicles went into the hands of drivers who had owned much larger vehicles previously. While the automakers and the fans may not think that large and smaller vehicles are comparable, many buyers actually do cross-shop as they decide whether to compromise on size or efficiency.

    As enthusiasts, we would be wise to realize that particularly during transitional periods such as this one, different size classes of vehicles are often cross-shopped and are comparable. It’s not as if most car buyers buy their vehicles the way that they buy their meat — by the pound.

  • avatar
    alex_rashev

    Funny how people complain about the “unusable” back seats. One should try fitting in the back seats of a 944 Porsche, just to be able to appreciate all the leg room, head room, and most importantly hip room that you can get even in the worst of the 3rd row seats these days.

    It’s also funny how GM got the crappiest, flimisiest stereo and HVAC control buttons in the automotive world. I mean, somebody had to have deep hatred for humanity to design, approve, and manufacture these. What’s even funnier is that they get stuffed in everything from Cobalt to Solstice to LaCrosse to 9-3. I bet somebody got a nice fat bonus for saving 26.3 cents on every single car GM makes. I hope they burn in hell, together with the creator of aluminum siding.

    I see Acadia got these crap knobs as well. I’m pretty sure that more than one person will have their opinion of the truck subconsciously ruined as soon as they try to adjust the volume.

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    Kixstart

    what focus wagon? dead for 08.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Another sensible caution might be, “don’t wait to downsize.” If fuel prices spike while you’re caught with big iron and a need to trade/abandon it in favor of something else, the prices on the more fuel-efficient models will skyrocket and the trade on your behemoth will plummet.

  • avatar

    NOTE: This review has attracted a number of flamers.

    While I understand the frustration that some readers feel at the comparison between the GMC Acadia and the Toyota RAV-4, Frank (and others, myself included) have explained the basis for this comparison.

    Readers are free to continue to criticize this choice– in a respectful manner that does not violate our stated posting policy. I will continue to delete posts that violate our prohibition against flaming the site, its authors or fellow commentators. I will continue to ban commentators who do not heed their first and only warning.

    Do NOT respond to such comments. Simply report them to me at robert.farago@thetruthaboutcars.com and I will deal.

    Thank you for your understanding.

  • avatar
    Buick61

    Pch101
    That isn’t what he said.

    The premise of the article is that CUV’s appeal to buyers who wish to avoid the perceived excesses of SUV’s, but that CUV’s such as this are so large and inefficient that they don’t consume much less than the SUV’s that they replace, and that there are more efficient alternatives that actually do consume substantially less.

    That’s a fair argument. As we saw during the last fuel run-up, rising fuel prices do tend to encourage shoppers to downsize their vehicles. When the compact market grew during the 1970’s, a lot of those smaller vehicles went into the hands of drivers who had owned much larger vehicles previously. While the automakers and the fans may not think that large and smaller vehicles are comparable, many buyers actually do cross-shop as they decide whether to compromise on size or efficiency.

    As enthusiasts, we would be wise to realize that particularly during transitional periods such as this one, different size classes of vehicles are often cross-shopped and are comparable. It’s not as if most car buyers buy their vehicles the way that they buy their meat — by the pound.

    Some people actually need the space. Some people have four kids. Some people also need to take said four kids to the grocery store and fit all the groceries behind the last row of seats. For many people the Rav4 is just as useless to them as would be a Lotus Elise.

    “but that CUV’s such as this are so large and inefficient that they don’t consume much less than the SUV’s that they replace”

    These large crossovers DO consume a lot less than large SUVs. The 2008 Sequoia 2WD with the smallest engine gets 17mpg HIGHWAY. HIGHWAY! The 2WD Acadia gets 24mpg highway: 7 miles per gallon better than the Sequoia.

    And what does the 2008 Honda Odyssey get? Same city mpg rating as the Acadia and 23mpg on the highway–one less than the Acadia. Bravo.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    If GM sold these CUVs only to families with 4 kids that must be driven, en masse, to the grocery store, they’d close the line down.

    I can’t think of a single other family in our neighborhood with 4 kids.

    Who do I know with SUVs/CUVs and what’s their family size? Hmmm… two kids. Two kids. Three kids. Two kids. Two kids.

    Prior to getting a minivan, if my wife and I were both home and a grocery run was required, she’d go by herself and I’d supervise the children. No need for an SUV/CUV.

    If I wasn’t home and a grocery run was required, that’s three across in the back and one gets shotgun. No need for an SUV/CUV.

    If I was home and she wasn’t and a grocery run was required, that’s “Helloooo Dominooo.”

    And, as far as I can tell, minivans offer considerably more interior room and more comfortable seating over a CUV/SUV. We get better fuel economy in our Sienna than the Acadia’s rated. Way better than the neighbor’s SUV (2 kids).

    Sure, it’s the buyer’s money (or 7 year loan) and the buyer can and will do whatever the buyer damned well pleases.

    But Frank’s talking to a market segment these things are thought to address and saying, “You’re going to be disappointed.” There’s nothing wrong with that.

  • avatar
    TriShield

    Give GM some credit where it is due.

    If you need to haul more than five people with a 3rd row and must have SUV-styling with car-like driving dynamics and slightly-better than SUV fuel consumption it does not get any better than these Lambdas.

    The 3rd row access is cleverly engineered and at 6ft tall I had plenty of room back there despite a somewhat low bench. In fact I’m pretty sure I could tolerate a day trip back there just fine with nary a complaint. I’d also say it’s better than the rear seats in many passenger cars I’ve been in and it certainly has the majority of SUVs trumped.

    I’m not sure where the RAV4 comparison comes in, that seems odd. The Ford Edge is direct competition for GM’s crossovers and I don’t think people looking for compact SUVs are also looking at fullsize vehicles like these crossovers. Back to the Edge, it does not have a 3rd row seat and it is a huge vehicle. Not only that, the 2nd row access is a squeeze and less comfortable in my opinion than GM’s 3rd row. What is the point of owning something this big if it can’t haul more than five people or lots of cargo?

    The Edge doesn’t do anything better than a normal wagon like the Taurus X does (which has a 3rd row instead of the Edge, weird) and it uses more fuel, so why buy an Edge? It’s pretty clear GM’s entries are much more versatile and make a more compelling family hauler. Especially since children AND adults can actually use the 3rd row. And there’s still plenty of space behind the 3rd row with it in use.

    GM has produced a great set of family haulers and a stylish alternative to minivans (which replace their own failed minivans). I think any of the Lambdas deserve at least a test drive for those in the market.

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    Buick61:
    And what does the 2008 Honda Odyssey get? Same city mpg rating as the Acadia and 23mpg on the highway–one less than the Acadia. Bravo.

    2008 Lambda FWD 16/24 avg 19
    2008 Lambda AWD 16/22 avg 18

    2008 Honda Odyssey w/VCM 17/25 avg 20
    2008 Honda Odyssey 16/23 avg 18

    2008 Toyota Sienna 17/23 avg 19
    2008 Toyota Sienna AWD 16/21 avg 18

    FWIW, Consumer Reports got slightly (1-2 mpm) better numbers overall for their Siennas compared to the Lambda and Odyssey. And like KixStart, I’m in the minivan camp.

  • avatar
    kph

    - Car companies probably make more money with the CUV’s/SUV’s than wagons.
    - Given the existing stigma attached to wagons, it would also take more marketing money and resources to convince people to buy a wagon versus a SUV.
    - The Magnum’s strategy was doomed from the start. Macho guys don’t drive wagons. And moms want stylish, not macho. A large wagon with styling targeted at the appropriate demographic would work a lot better.
    - I have three kids and my wife drives an Odyssey. I agree it’s more practical than an SUV.
    - If we’re going to talk mpg, then enthusiasts are just as guilty. I fit the three kids in their car seats across the back seat of my WRX. But I rarely get better than 20 mpg. Fuel costs are about the same as the Odyssey because the WRX needs premium fuel.
    - Unfortunately, fitting three kids across the back does make it more dangerous for side impacts- the outer kids are squeezed up against the doors a bit more.
    - Despite all that, my WRX is hard to give up. So I suppose I’m just as bad as a mom who refuses to drive a wagon or minivan.

  • avatar
    VictoryCabal

    I can’t speak for others on the thread, but my argument isn’t that there’s no equivalence between the Arcadia and the RAV4 (of course there’s some), and my argument isn’t that many shoppers will won’t find both meet their wants (of course many shoppers would like both).

    My argument is with the way the comparison was made. It just feels sketchy. Like I said earlier, it has the Friedman-esq feel. Like someone has their thumb on the scale. Maybe that’s not fair, but without laying out explicitly why the review is comparing two different class vehicles, it reads like the author is shuffling behind his back. I have no doubt that wasn’t Frank William’s intent, but there it is. Writing that paragraph something like this would have been a lot better:

    Any illusions in that department are shattered at the gas pump. The GMC Acadia is EPA rated at 16/24. While that’s an improvement on the Yukon/Tahoe’s abysmal 14/19 and average for CUVs of this size, GMC’s three-row machine is no fuel miser. Thrifty drivers looking for a CUV with three rows would do well to consider the smaller, and less thirsty Toyota’s RAV4 (21/27).

    It’s a fine distinction, but here the basis for the comparison is explicit. I’m not trying to flame anyone, but I read TTAC for its scrupulous honesty and editorial policy. And it’s because I like TTAC so much that this bothers me so.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    The reason the RAV4 keeps coming up is because this is the one CUV in any size that actually makes a real attempt at being efficient. IMO once again Toyota has hit the nail directly on the head with its 3rd generation RAV4 and they did it just in time to take advantage of rising fuel prices. These things are all over the place in my hood because they do manage to meet peoples needs without any of the unnecessary overkill you find in even Toyota’s Highlander.

    With the RAV4 if you are not a power junkie you can still get a vehicle with AWD and 3rd row seating equiped with a very efficient, yet not too slow 4cyl engine. To add to this advantage you can buy one for under $30,000!

    While the real world usability of the 3rd row seat is debatable the RAV4 does have cargo capacity that is comparable to the majority of much larger and heavier players in the CUV class.

    If folks were comparing the last generation RAV4 to the Arcadia than I would also say there is no comparison, but by increasing the size of the RAV4 to slot right in between the CRV/Escape sized CUVs and the Arcadia/ Pilot sized ones Toyota has managed to make a vehicle that can validly compete in both segments.

    I dont know about the rest of the country but here in NYC and lower Westchester you will find about 4 new RAV4s on the road for every CRV. This is due to Toyota actually making the RAV4 in a size that is more than just “cute”.

    To further increase the appeal of the of the RAV4 Toyota also offers it for sale with a (VERY)powerful v6. You can actually use your RAV4 to haul or tow a decently heavy load without overwhelming the vehicle. Oh, it also rather fast too! There is also a little secret to the RAV4, IMO it is actually the best handling Toyota you can buy today! In SE trim the RAV4 is honestly fun to drive, believe it or not!

    I know many folks here hate everything Toyota but the RAV4 is truly a gem. You should try one out, it might actually change some opinions about Toyota around here.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Some people actually need the space. Some people have four kids. Some people also need to take said four kids to the grocery store and fit all the groceries behind the last row of seats. For many people the Rav4 is just as useless to them as would be a Lotus Elise…

    …These large crossovers DO consume a lot less than large SUVs. The 2008 Sequoia 2WD with the smallest engine gets 17mpg HIGHWAY. HIGHWAY! The 2WD Acadia gets 24mpg highway: 7 miles per gallon better than the Sequoia.

    And what does the 2008 Honda Odyssey get? Same city mpg rating as the Acadia and 23mpg on the highway–one less than the Acadia. Bravo.

    I think that you’ve offered a fair rebuttal with that.

    Allow me to clarify my earlier point. I’m not necessarily agreeing or disagreeing with the entirety of Mr. Williams’ argument, nor do I expect everyone here to agree with him. (This place would be awfully dull if everyone agreed with everyone else.) I’m only pointing out that if we are going to debate his argument, then we should interpret his argument accurately and not misrepresent what it is that he is saying.

    There are many ways to compare cars to one another, and most of them don’t involve a tape measure. I don’t agree with every aspect of Mr. Williams’ view myself, but attacking it as if there isn’t any logic behind it, as some have, is a bit much.

  • avatar
    raast

    Interesting points all.
    If you consistently need to haul 8, your choice is limited. For those buying to keep the kids safe and then end up placing them in the back row, well then visit a scrap yard and look at some rear-end “events”. More crush space is better, kids are safer in the middle row.
    Driving it? It’s fine. It has a LOT of legroom up front. Was in the market for a new vehicle and test drove it and many, many others. Was it outstanding? No. Quality of materials and assembly I’d rate average, but better than past GMs. It wasn’t in the same class as the Hondas I drove from a fit, finish or materials standpoint. Value for the (cdn) dollar finally eliminated it altogether, it’s simply too expensive here for what it is. Resale value is a complete unknown in the long term, CU seems to think it’s promising reliability wise, but that can change real fast.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Speaking of third row seat.

    We Americans rarely used the third row seat except if you are hauling a baseball team, illegal workers that you want to work with you and pay them cheap and legal aliens if you want them to work with you with legal papers and still pay them cheap.

    RAV4 is not cheap on gas. Probably the marketing plan of Toyota for RAV4 is When consumer wants to drive a smaller version of CUV/SUV that you can park any where you want and drives like a car than rather driving a bigger truck that you can’t even drive or parallel park. Except if you are 6’2 and weights 300lbs that would be a different story.

    Simple marketing facts.

  • avatar
    Buick61

    It also should be said that the Acadia seats up to 8. Unless you strap someone to the roof, the “7ish” passenger Rav4 just doesn’t measure up.

  • avatar
    lewissalem

    How much more could it cost to put one brushed nickel piece around the shifter? I see this time and time again, with Chrysler being the worst offender of using plasti-chrome on shift gates.

  • avatar
    Johnson

    Interesting review.

    Frank Williams:

    Exterior: Totally subjective, but I think it’s the best of the Lambdas and a lot better than the boxy imports.

    Semi-evil or not, the Acadia sure is a handsome beast. It hits the sweet spot between the overly swoopy Buick Enclave (one of its two ugly Lambda dancing half sisters) and the excessively angular Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot.

    Totally subjective indeed. Boxy imports? The Toyota Highlander is excessively angular? Are you sure you’re talking about the Highlander, as in the new, redesigned 2008 Highlander? I simply cannot comprehend how the new Highlander can be considered “angular”. The exterior is very smooth and full of curves.

    The Pilot yes, that is angular but that is just about the only “boxy import” out there that competes in the CUV market.

    Would you consider the CX-9 boxy or angular? Or how about the Rav-4?

    The Acadia is the very definition of a box. It has a squared-off rear end, and a rather boxy front end.

    Of course, like you said this is all subjective but I certainly disagree with your view.

    Frank Williams:
    Aesthetically, some genius in the design department decided that plastichrome trim would make the Acadia’s interior look more expensive. It doesn’t. The trim around the center AC vents curves onto the top of the dash– right where it reflects the sun into the driver’s eyes. The trim around the shifter looks like something from a Wal-Mart boom box. Props for eschewing wood grain or faux carbon fiber, but the overall ambiance doesn’t say $40k vehicle to me.

    Questionable materials quality doesn’t help the situation, and do much to make it worse. The leather on the test vehicle’s passenger seat was already cracked and showing its backing in one spot. The tambour door on the cubby in the console had all the substance of a sheet of typing paper. The volume control knob on the non-GPS-equipped radio felt like it was connected to nothing whatsoever.

    Some good points. So where are all those people who were yelling from the rooftops about how great the interiors are in the Acadia and the Outlook? I certainly did not believe the hype then and I definitely do not believe the hype now. The interiors are an improvement over the old GM interiors, but let’s be serious here; virtually anything would have been an improvement over GM’s old interiors. While an improvement, the new interiors from GM are still NOT class-leading.

    Typical of GM to make the interior only look good, instead of actually being good. It’s as if the trim around the vents was purposely placed there reflect the sun into your eyes. GM supporters sure like to critisize Toyota , but you won’t something silly like that on Toyota’s interiors. The silver trim/accents found in many Toyota interiors these days are not very reflective even with the sun shining on it. Also chrome trim in Toyota interiors is strategically placed where it will seldom reflect the sun. As they say, it’s all in the details. GM it seems continues to ignore the details while Toyota continues to sweat the details.

    I’m also dissapointed, but not surprised that GM never put an assist handle for the third row.

    Then there is that engine cover; it’s got the be the ugliest engine cover I’ve ever seen, and that is saying a lot. Sure it might seem like a small detail, but GM has a habit of not bothering with the details and all these small details add up. This engine cover, the trim around the vents, lack of a third-row assist handle; were I in the market for a large CUV all of these things would add up and would ultimately discourage me from buying an Acadia.

    L47_V8:
    I don’t know what all the fuss is about. The Lambdas, the Aura, and the new Malibu are better than the craptastic older interiors, but definitely aren’t world-beaters.

    Exactly. This is just another typical case of GM providing more hype for a vehicle than actual substance, and GM’s minions proudly sharing that hype with everyone they talk to. It’s a common misconception that GM’s new interiors are world beaters or class leaders. The lack of little details alone cements this fact.

    MPLS:
    Plus, most people are not paying $40k for the Acadia, they are paying around $30k.

    I doubt it. The Acadia starts at slightly over 30K, and it quickly goes up from there once you start adding any options. AWD is not included in that base MSRP.

    Ashy Larry:
    So besides the much smaller RAV4, what are the other CUV’s in the GMC’s price range that are so much better (I ask only becasue with baby #2 on the way, the spousal unit has been making noise about handing me our V70R and ditching my 9-2x)? The CX9? The MDX?

    The Highlander, for one. You might also consider the Pilot, which is getting a redesign very soon. The exterior of the new Pilot is supposedly quite ugly, but it’s supposed to make up for that with a very roomy and functional interior.

    Buick61:
    These large crossovers DO consume a lot less than large SUVs. The 2008 Sequoia 2WD with the smallest engine gets 17mpg HIGHWAY. HIGHWAY! The 2WD Acadia gets 24mpg highway: 7 miles per gallon better than the Sequoia.

    Oh please, that’s just a silly comparison. For rougly $1000 more, you can get the MUCH more powerful and more efficient 5.7L V8 in the Sequoia. In fact Toyota itself says that it estimates most Sequoia sales will be those with the 5.7L engine. To compare, over 70% of Tundra sales so far have been with the 5.7L engine. The 4.7L is inefficient and outdated, and with an SUV as big and heavy as the Sequoia, it’s a no brainer to choose the 5.7L instead with more power and better fuel efficiency for only 1K more.

    To add, the Sequoia is a much more capable vehicle overall than the Acadia. The Sequoia weighs over 1000lbs more than the Acadia, so it will obviously get lower mileage simply due to physics. But since you brought it up, let’s dig deeper with the Sequoia versus Acadia comparison. A 2WD Sequoia with the 5.7L has an MSRP of 35K, not that far off from the Acadia’s MSRP.

    The Sequoia offers more interior room *and* an even roomier and more comfortable 3rd row than the Acadia. The Sequoia is a very capable vehicle off-road. The Acadia simply cannot match the Sequoia when it comes to going off-road. The Acadia can barely go off-road. Then there is the issue of towing. The Acadia has a max towing capacity of 4500lbs. The Sequoia offers anywhere from 8800lbs all the way to a class-leading 10,000 lbs towing capacity. Need to haul 8 people AND tow a large boat? Sorry the Acadia won’t be able to do that, but the Seqouia will. Going camping, off-road, or somewhere in the mountains on a ski trip? The Acadia will struggle in those conditions and may not make the trip, but the Sequoia would do all of those tasks easily.

    The Sequoia beats the Acadia in almost all interior dimensions, most substantially on shoulder room and hip room in all three rows.

    Yes the Acadia gets better fuel economy and is a bit cheaper but the Sequoia makes up for it with far more capability and a roomier, more comfortable interior.

    TriShield:
    The 3rd row access is cleverly engineered and at 6ft tall I had plenty of room back there despite a somewhat low bench.

    How do you figure, if the third row lacks an assist handle?

    Lastly, I will say that it is indeed better to compare the Highlander to the Acadia. The Highlander gets better fuel economy, can seat up to 7, and the interior is not as cramped as some people believe. Yes it is true the Acadia has a roomier third row than the Highlander, but surprisingly the Highlander has better headroom and legroom in the first two rows than the Acadia does. So the questions that a potential consumer in the CUV market would ask themselves is: does one absolutely need 8 passenger seating, or would seating for 7 suffice? Does one need a great third row or would you rather have better leg and headroom in the first two rows? Does one need more cargo capacity or better fuel economy?

    There is also an interesting point to be made, and that is the Highlander (with the tow package) has a max towing capacity of 5000lbs, higher than the Acadia. The Highlander also has a separate-opening rear glass hatch, so you can put little items in the rear without opening the entire rear hatch.

    Last but not least there is the fact that the Highlander is cheaper. Apart from a smaller third row and less cargo capacity, the Highlander does everything the Acadia can do and does most of it better. It’s faster, more fuel efficient, cheaper, and arguably more is a more flexible vehicle than the Acadia with features such as the rear glass hatch.

    An argument can also be made about the Highlander having a better interior.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    OK, so the Arcadia can actually seat 8 passanger!
    But now you have a 5000lb+ (with 8 passangers) and a now underpowered 275hp v6 with a torque peak north of 4000rpm. Anyone trading in a Tahoe or Expedition will be soley disappointed in the on the road performance of a Arcadia with a decent load. Remember we only have passangers and have not added any cargo yet.

    In the real world an Arcadia is NOT a true 8 passanger vehicle, Like all the other CUV it is simply a jacked up car. If you need to transport 8 passangers in any kind of comfort (drving performance included) you need a Full sized SUV.
    It Ok, with 8 passangers you deserve one!

    This bring us back to the real world usefulness of the Arcadia. Like the rest of the CUV crowd this is a 6 passanger vehicle at best. Like most 4000lb+ mini-vans its v6 is overwhelmed with anything more than 4 adult passangers. Considering these facts it is rather easy to cross-shop a Arcadia with a RAV4.

    Now if GM had had the good sense to offer up the transverse 5.3 v8 as an option the Arcadia would be an interesting proposition in this class with a unique option that the competition lacks. GM could have advertised this thing a the CUV that is actually capable of doing a REAL job.

  • avatar
    Buick61

    Johnson: You missed the mark entirely. I was responding to the assertion that PCH101 made, “but that CUV’s such as this are so large and inefficient that they don’t consume much less than the SUV’s that they replace” The Acadia is more efficient than the BOF SUVs on the market. And comparing the Acadia to the Sequoia is somehow more absurd to you than comparing it to the Rav4? Right.

  • avatar
    Johnson

    Buick61:
    You missed the mark entirely. I was responding to the assertion that PCH101 made, “but that CUV’s such as this are so large and inefficient that they don’t consume much less than the SUV’s that they replace”

    The Acadia is more efficient than the BOF SUVs on the market.

    And comparing the Acadia to the Sequioa is somehow more absurd to you than comparing it to the Rav4?

    Point taken.

    As for the whole Rav-4 comparison, I can see where Frank Williams is coming from, but I don’t agree with the comparison and I have nothing really to comment regarding it. Although it might make logical and economic sense to get a Rav 4 over an Acadia if you seldom used the third row, the fact is that American society always like things to be “bigger” even if they’re trying to be smaller. To put it in other words, even when Americans are concerned about conservation or being more efficient, they would rather have things “big”. This is deeply ingrained in American culture; that everything be big, brash, bold and “vast” and last but not least full of convenience and comfort. That’s one reason why I find the criticism of Toyota’s effort to be “American” quite funny. Toyota is only trying to offer products more in-line with American culture, so I can’t really blame them for it.

    That is why I compared the Acadia more to the Highlander, which is direct competition to the Acadia.

    Getting back on topic, the Acadia and Rav-4 are at the very least the same “type” of vehicle, as in car-based unibody vehicles. The Sequoia is a totally different type of vehicle, with a body on top of a frame. So yes I would say your comparison is a bit more “absurd” than Frank’s comparison.

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    As it was a bright, sunny, 60-degree day in Atlanta when I drove it, I had no experience with driving it in adverse conditions. Likewise, I didn’t take the FWD tester off road. It’s available with AWD and has 7.4″ of ground clearance, so I’d have to say that its off-road capability depends on where you’re taking it off road and what you expect it to do once you’re there.

    Well here in Ontario we have had a few feet of snow recently. As I was clearing snow off the driveway the other day I noticed one of these new fangled Acadias trying to negotiate the unploughed street. I don’t what tires it had (I am assuming factory all season radials) but it kept getting stuck and at one point it lodged itself firmly against the curb. The driver left his vehicle, walked back to his house to get a shovel. While he was gone an old FWD Corsica with radials passed the Acadia going through the same snow as did a Sunfire, an Elantra, a Montana, a Fusion and a Jeep. A group of people including myself gathered to help the driver and with a lot of pushing and shoving the Acadia broke free only to get stuck again a few meters down the street. This time the driver managed to get it out and as soon as he turned the corner onto a street that had been cleared all was fine. Cars of all description continued to make their way through the deep snow and then another one got stuck, this time a Pontiac Torrent. The pushing and shoving restarted and we soon got Mr. Torrent on his way. At this point we all suddenly got the same idea and fled the scene in case any more GM off-road, AWD (yes both were in 4WD when they got stuck) vehicles came along. Later that afternoon I had to move my son’s 20 year old civic to get my wife’s car out. The street was still not ploughed and I completely forgot about the troublesome snow bank. It all came back to me when I reversed out of the driveway and stopped in the middle of it. Smooth move ExLax! I was stuck fast in a snow bank in a car with old all season radials and less than 4 inches of ground clearance! A few ‘rocking’ motions later I was out and away. This little true story proves little but it does beg the question of why these so-called SUV’s/CUV’s could not negotiate a bit of snow, after all, in Canada a lot of people buy these vehicles because they don’t want to get stuck in the snow.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    Kixstart:

    Without reading all of the posts (got to get back to work), I agree with your first post. I thought that the obvious comparison to the RAV4 was that they both had marginally usefull third row seats, and were therefore comparable as far as they fullfill the same requirements for the people who want a third row seat vehicle.

    Regardin your second post, I believe that Mazda made a wagon variant of the Mazda6, but it may have just been a hatchback Mazda6.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    OK that’s it. You’re all in trouble now.

    1993 lime green Ford Taurus wagon just purchased from Carmax for $400. Seats 8 (really), big 3.8L V6 engine strong enough to someday blow it’s own gasket, third row with authentic high quality vinyl, ABS, CD player pre-tuned to pseudo-religious PTL station, 2 speaker premium sound, a seven foot roof rack, and enough parts in the boneyard to feed China for a year.

    If we are going to complain about comparing apples to oranges here, get ready to deal with the kumquats.

    Oh, it also gets better mileage than the Acadia or RAV4. So there. Looks sexy too!

  • avatar

    For what’s cross-shopped, you can get some idea by looking at the “most frequent comparisons” lists TrueDelta supplies to TTAC. For the Acadia:

    1. Saturn Outlook

    2. Buick Enclave (so much for brand differentiation)

    3. Mazda CX-9

    4. Honda Pilot

    5. Acura MDX

    6. Hyundai Veracruz

    No compact SUVs in the list. Maybe they should be. But then some people would have us all in Honda Insights.

    On the reliability front, the 2008 Lambdas have had half the repair rate of the 2007s, making them a bit better than the average.

    http://www.truedelta.com/latest_results.php

    Still very early, of course. But as these vehicles age, TrueDelta’s research will closely track them.

  • avatar

    1993 lime green Ford Taurus

    Looks sexy too!

    Does not compute. Does not compute.

  • avatar
    jimmy2x

    I have to fall in the camp that finds the Acadia/RAV4 comparison a bit of a stretch. If the entire point is gas milage, fair enough. Otherwise, I just can’t see it. RAV4 FEELS small inside and the general tackiness of the interior is readily apparent.

    I am researching for an Acadia type vehicle and am cross-shopping against the MDX, Highlander, CX9, 4Runner and possibly the Murano. We all have different needs and what is important to me, may not matter to others.

    Have actually driven the Acadia and really liked the following:

    1. Front heated seats with 3 settings and the ability to heat the back of the seat only. If you have a dicey back this is a very nice feature.

    2. I found everything (knob-ology) easy to find and all lighted.

    3. Yes, I found the transmission hunted a bit, but not enough to be an issue in normal driving unless you live in very hilly areas.

    5. Given the size of it and being long past my hooning days I found the acceleration to be just fine.

    6. Actually liked the look of the black interior especially the lack of plood. Maybe just lucky but did notice any reflections. Will look harder next time.

    7. I found the front leather seats to be very comfortable. Its unfortunate that Frank’s seat had an issue but have not seen this reported in Edmunds consumer reviews or popular Acadia message boards.

    FWIW, have not owned any GM product since my ’56 Chevy, so I have no axe to grind here. I do feel that, as consumers, we might be better served if comparisons are made to the general class of vehicle that it is intended to compete against.

  • avatar
    Johnson

    Michael Karesh:
    For what’s cross-shopped, you can get some idea by looking at the “most frequent comparisons” lists TrueDelta supplies to TTAC. For the Acadia:

    So according to your list, the Acadia is cross-shopped with BOTH the Enclave and the Outlook? Why I am I not surprised. This was predicted by to happen by quite a few people.

    What will it take for GM to get it through their heads to STOP the countless rebadging?

  • avatar
    Skooter

    Is Mr. Williams sure he drove a GMC Acadia? I recently sat in/drove both Enclave and Acadia. Both interiors were gorgeous. Especially the Enclave. And the Enclave is ugly? What are you looking at? I’m sure you were in a different vehicle.

  • avatar
    L47_V8

    oboylepr :
    February 13th, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    As it was a bright, sunny, 60-degree day in Atlanta when I drove it, I had no experience with driving it in adverse conditions. Likewise, I didn’t take the FWD tester off road. It’s available with AWD and has 7.4″ of ground clearance, so I’d have to say that its off-road capability depends on where you’re taking it off road and what you expect it to do once you’re there.

    Well here in Ontario we have had a few feet of snow recently. As I was clearing snow off the driveway the other day I noticed one of these new fangled Acadias trying to negotiate the unploughed street. I don’t what tires it had (I am assuming factory all season radials) but it kept getting stuck and at one point it lodged itself firmly against the curb. The driver left his vehicle, walked back to his house to get a shovel. While he was gone an old FWD Corsica with radials passed the Acadia going through the same snow as did a Sunfire, an Elantra, a Montana, a Fusion and a Jeep. A group of people including myself gathered to help the driver and with a lot of pushing and shoving the Acadia broke free only to get stuck again a few meters down the street. This time the driver managed to get it out and as soon as he turned the corner onto a street that had been cleared all was fine. Cars of all description continued to make their way through the deep snow and then another one got stuck, this time a Pontiac Torrent. The pushing and shoving restarted and we soon got Mr. Torrent on his way. At this point we all suddenly got the same idea and fled the scene in case any more GM off-road, AWD (yes both were in 4WD when they got stuck) vehicles came along. Later that afternoon I had to move my son’s 20 year old civic to get my wife’s car out. The street was still not ploughed and I completely forgot about the troublesome snow bank. It all came back to me when I reversed out of the driveway and stopped in the middle of it. Smooth move ExLax! I was stuck fast in a snow bank in a car with old all season radials and less than 4 inches of ground clearance! A few ‘rocking’ motions later I was out and away. This little true story proves little but it does beg the question of why these so-called SUV’s/CUV’s could not negotiate a bit of snow, after all, in Canada a lot of people buy these vehicles because they don’t want to get stuck in the snow.

    I can’t speak to this particular circumstance, but I live in mid-east part of the country (an hour or so due south of Pittsburgh, PA), and have yet to get stuck despite quite a bit of snow. We don’t have feet, granted, and we don’t have many snowfalls per year, but we often get ~10 inches 3-4 times per winter. I’ve passed 4WD SUVs that were stuck in my ’96 Galant (didn’t even have ABS, let alone anything else), and recently in my ’02 Diamante (it has ABS, as well as traction and stability control, which I turn off for snow driving) on stock-sized Goodyear TripleTreads rain tires. My guess would be it goes down to driver skill and/or the over-assisted traction control systems put into nearly every car these days. If one didn’t know to turn the traction control off (as many people, such as my mother, thing traction control helps you gain traction – though as discussed in the Prius thread a few days back, it’s actually a liability in snow driving more often than not), or if they drove a car in which they couldn’t disable traction control (such as in many GMs and Toyotas), I could see just about anything getting stuck, regardless of how many wheels are driven.

    If it’s snowing, I hop into my Diamante, turn the traction control off, watch my speed, and stay out of the icy ruts created by other vehicles. I’ve yet to have a snow-induced wreck or get stuck in any way, and we have hills here that nearly immobilize most cars if even a slight snowfall occurs – as well as road crews that accomplish nothing until many hours later.

  • avatar
    L47_V8

    Johnson :
    February 13th, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    L47_V8:
    I don’t know what all the fuss is about. The Lambdas, the Aura, and the new Malibu are better than the craptastic older interiors, but definitely aren’t world-beaters.

    Exactly. This is just another typical case of GM providing more hype for a vehicle than actual substance, and GM’s minions proudly sharing that hype with everyone they talk to. It’s a common misconception that GM’s new interiors are world beaters or class leaders. The lack of little details alone cements this fact.

    Case-in-point: the Buick Lucerne. Recall all the hype about it having a Lexus-rivaling interior? Even the bathroom-friendly hardcopy auto rags fawned over it in their first tests.

    I work in the rental car industry, and as such, have been in quite a few Lucernes for varying periods of time, including nearly every trim level (base CX to loaded CXS V8 and every CXL combination in between). My mother owns what can be described as the Lucerne’s indirect predecessor – a 2001 Oldsmobile Aurora 4.0. The Lucerne – even in CXS trim – drives worse, rides in a more floaty manner, has a vastly cheaper interior, and generally isn’t even the equal of a seven year old, less expensive Oldsmobile. The second-generation Aurora was even panned for having a cheapened interior compared with its direct predecessor – a car which was designed more than 15 years ago and shared interior bits with the Oldsmobile Achieva, of all things.

    I was also thinking, as I sat in a 2008 Grand Prix rental the other day, of how the new-for-2004 GP was supposed to beat the Accord and Camry on interior design and materials quality. Where’d that ever go?

    My point: it’s the same tired, old song and dance from GM.

    Note to GM/Bob Lutz: simply saying your interior is competitive isn’t enough. It actually has to be, y’know, competitive.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Skooter, you’re missing the point. Value wise none of these cars really compare with a 1993 Ford Taurus GL Stationwagon.

    Now if you’re talking about a 1994 Toyota Previa All-Trac LE S/C with 154,000 miles that I bought for $500, then you would have a valid point.

    I bought this ugly Morkmobile a couple weeks back and let me tell you, it’s one strangely screwed up little bastard.

    For starters… you have a 4-cylinder, supercharged, All-Wheel Drive minivan that seats seven. Eight if you go to the boneyard and get a $50 bench. The Previa gets better fuel economy than anything mentioned, probably has a better stereo system (Best Buy gave me two wrong connectors so far), actually goes faster if you put a brick on the accelerator, and is so advanced…. most people can’t even find the engine.

    The 2nd Row Leather Seats apparently swivel back and forth which makes it fun for the kids and gin rummy players. Oh, and the car handles like it’s on…. um…. well… it’s probably better than most other minivans of that time.

    On a serious note, none of these models mentioned really compare with an Odyssey or Sienna. At least to me, I just don’t see where the value is. Then again, I’m the type of fellow who prefers Jaguar XJ’s and W116′s so the pulse of the SUV loving public is probably well out of my understanding.

    I can understand why someone would buy a Hummer. It’s design and driving experience is well outside the proverbial box and dare I say it, fun. But the overwhelming majority of SUV’s strike me as 30 different shades of mediocrity designed by people who have a greater love for market studies than they do cars.

  • avatar
    labrat

    As an owner of an Acadia for one year (almost to the day) and 16,000 miles, I feel compelled to give a second opinion. I also promise not to mention the RAV-4.

    Exterior – A good looking vehicle. Nice proportions, nice curves that make it look smaller in person than it actually is.

    Interior – I find the material quality to be class competitive (better than the standard GM fare). It’s not Audi, nor is it priced like one. The color contrasts are nice and the shapes are pleasing. Gauge illumination looks very nice. The center stack looks good and the audio and climate controls operate intuitively. The third row will accomodate my 6′ frame, but the low cushion compromises comfort slightly (who really has a fantastic 3rd row?). My only complaints are the aforementioned center chrome A/C vents that reflect sunlight around noon (I’ve only experienced this a couple times, but it’s annoying as hell when it happens), and the unpleasantly textured standard (non-leather wrapped) steering wheel. With all seats folded down, it is nearly as roomy as a minivan, and much roomier than all other CUV’s on the market, including the Mazda CX-9, which I view as its closest competitor. We seldom use the third row, but have on several occasions filled this thing up to the hilt with cargo, so this was a consideration in the purchase decision.

    Drivetrain – The 3.6 liter V-6 has decent but not overwhelming power. Most published road tests put the 0-60 time between 8-9 seconds, the best I’ve seen is Car & Driver at 8.1. I feel this is sufficient for a 4900 lb beast. The 6 speed auto shifted jerkily when we got the vehicle, but a quick trip to the dealership for a reprogramming fixed this. It now works smoothly, but seems eager to upshift (a nod to fuel economy).

    Handling – Surprising good. The cornering is relatively flat, and I’ve taken turns much faster than I should have without a lot of drama. There is no float in the suspension. The ride is quite good. Try a racetrack manuever and it will fall to pieces like the 2 1/2 ton pig that it is, but most reasonable inputs are met with pleasingly predictable responses.

    Towing – We tow a 3800 lb boat/trailer and the task is handled adequately. A little more torque here would be nice, but the 6 speed made the most of the engine output. This was another reason we selected this vehicle, as most other CUV/minivans only tow 3500 lb.

    Overall – We are very pleased with this vehicle. There have been no problems in our time with it. Other than the few minor quibbles I mentioned, it has been a very satisfying and reliable vehicle.

  • avatar
    Johnson

    L47_V8:
    I was also thinking, as I sat in a 2008 Grand Prix rental the other day, of how the new-for-2004 GP was supposed to beat the Accord and Camry on interior design and materials quality. Where’d that ever go?

    My point: it’s the same tired, old song and dance from GM.

    Note to GM/Bob Lutz: simply saying your interior is competitive isn’t enough. It actually has to be, y’know, competitive.

    What happened with the 2004 Malibu that GM said would be competitive with the Camry and Accord? It became a fleet queen. If I were a betting man, I would be in Vegas right now betting that this new 2008 Malibu would end up a fleet queen as well.

    Then there is the Impala. Didn’t GM say the Impala would be competitive with Honda and Toyota products?

    Or how about the Cobalt, that GM said was going to bo competitive with the Civic and Corolla?

    We can keep going here, there are countless examples of GM providing more hype than actual product, and yes this DOES include their newest products as well.

    Like you said, same old song and dance from GM.

    There was so much hype about the Acadia/Enclave/Outlook and what do sales look like? The three models combined *barely* outsold the Highlander by itself.

    Wagoner recently stated that he “thinks” GM can increase marketshare for 2008. I hope TTAC keeps this in mind and does a story at the end of 2008 on how wrong Wagoner was. Who here honestly thinks GM will increase it’s marketshare in 2008? GM has very little new product for 2008, meanwhile there are some significant new/redesigned models that the competition has coming. Toyota has the very significant new Matrix and new Corolla for 2008, for example.

  • avatar
    Johnson

    labrat:
    Towing – We tow a 3800 lb boat/trailer and the task is handled adequately. A little more torque here would be nice, but the 6 speed made the most of the engine output. This was another reason we selected this vehicle, as most other CUV/minivans only tow 3500 lb.

    Except the new Highlander of course, which tows up to 5000lbs. It can tow more than most other CUVs/minivans and it will also tow more than your Acadia.

    By the way, I am curious as to how real-world fuel economy has been, and what about any rattles or trouble spots in the interior?

    Are you satisfied with the switchgear?

  • avatar
    MPLS

    Johnson:

    MPLS:
    Plus, most people are not paying $40k for the Acadia, they are paying around $30k.

    I doubt it. The Acadia starts at slightly over 30K, and it quickly goes up from there once you start adding any options. AWD is not included in that base MSRP.

    Nobody pays stick forer this or any GMC vehicle. On ebay as well as locally brand new base model Acadia’s start at $27k and a SLT2(leather, DVD, moonroof., etc) are at $36k. I live in the midwest where people still tend to buy from Detroit so thes are the highest prices GM can possibly garner.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    stupid vehicles. as a class.

  • avatar
    labrat

    Johnson: “Except the new Highlander of course, which tows up to 5000lbs. It can tow more than most other CUVs/minivans and it will also tow more than your Acadia.”

    True, but the Acadia meets our towing needs. But the Highlander has significantly less cargo capacity, which is a big deal to us.

    “By the way, I am curious as to how real-world fuel economy has been, and what about any rattles or trouble spots in the interior?”

    The fuel economy is a bit of a disappointment. We’re getting about 16 mpg city. Most of our day-to-day miles are put on by the wife who takes a lot of short around-town trips. It does seem to get better over time, but I would like for it to be closer to 20 mpg. At least it runs on regular. There are no rattles or trouble spots in the interior.

    “Are you satisfied with the switchgear?”

    Yes.

  • avatar
    umterp85

    Johnson : “There was so much hype about the Acadia/Enclave/Outlook and what do sales look like? The three models combined *barely* outsold the Highlander by itself.”

    Well…same goes for the Ford Edge which almost outsold all three Lambda’s combined. Like Frank, I think the Lambda’s are a little on the big side. We only have 2 kids so saw no need for three rows and the extra 1.5 feet of exterior length—thus we chose the Lincoln MKX over the Acadia. BTW—earlier poster talked about the second row room in the Edge / MKX—-the big and comfortable second row IS one of the primary reasons we chose the MKX—no kids kicking the back of my seat !

  • avatar
    SCMTB

    Late to the comment party but…

    I need to comment on the “need” for a third row in almost any vehicle outside of a van/bus.

    My wife, when we were looking for a new vehicle three years ago insisted that we should get a vehicle with a third row. We have one child who will be three in a month and we are having NO more (doctors can work wonders with a knife). She thought we needed it for when family came into town with their kids, etc. I argued that it was a ridiculous expense – vehicle would cost more, have higher insurance costs, and fuel mileage would probably be lower than some of our possible choices that didn’t have a third row. Of course it narrowed our choices considerably considering that we both wanted a manual tranny, and if we really wanted/needed that feature we should just get a van (of which she or I will NEVER do). She finally bailed out on the idea. My primary arguement was “how many times in a given year will you REALLY need this feature and can we substitute it with a rental, etc.”? This falls into the reasons I purchased a two-wheel drive 2000 Passat GLX with a manual tranny. When I was shopping (I lived in Colorado at the time) I asked myself how many times I REALLY would like to have all-wheel/4motion and I figured that it would be six or seven times a year. I ski all the time and in spite of this I never had a problem getting up there. And as those who live in Denver know, Denver isn’t all that bad for snow. The 4Motion required an auto (which I did NOT want) and costed about $1500 more based on recollection. So it was at least $3k more with lower fuel mileage and a slower car. There was no way this was worth it. Along the same lines my wife wanted to finish the basement in our house for when the family came out to see us. When I told her it would cost about $25k to do so and when I clued her into the fact that our in-laws/family DIDN’T come to visit she gave that idea up as well.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    SCMTB, your post epitomizes why all the vehicles with 3 rows, 4 wheel drive whatevers, 250+ hp family sedans, and 17 inch tire economy vehicles, are nothing more than an absolute waste.

    By the way, I just got a 1998 Passat with only 80k on it for $1000. Very nice ride.

  • avatar

    I just wonder if the new Chevy Traverse version has better material inside. I know it has a real GPS as an option at least.
    GM seems to be getting better every day.
    They might have use the time to improve quality.
    And the newest version (Chevy) might benefit..

    But how does it dive. All you say about the drive is that the engine is quiet?
    How about real life MPG?

  • avatar
    jcp2

    I guess third row haters don’t deal with carpooling small children. Ours gets opened up whenever we share carpool and childcare duties with our friends, which is about twice a week. 2 car seats + 2 boosters = 3rd row. Also needed when either mother/mother-in-law/sister-in-law comes to visit alone, as they are not comfortable driving in a strange environment. If child #3 becomes a reality, then daily usage of 3rd row for sure. Where I live, families with more than 2 kids are not uncommon.

  • avatar
    thorter

    Just my personal experience. We replaced our 2004 Toyota Sienna with a 2007 Saturn Outlook (FWD)(sister SUV to the Acadia). We perceive the 3rd row to be as roomy as the Toyota with better interior trim pieces than our Sienna. The interior trim pieces kept falling off in the Toyota and it also had too many recalls. The gas mileage is SAME for us (I believe EPA rating is the same for both too). We like the Saturn much better than the Sienna minivan and after owning the Outlook for 10 months the leather shows no sign of wear. I also took a trip with 8 adults and there were no complaints about the room for the short day trip (1 hour each way). One friend actually commented on the strong acceleration (I do have a somewhat heavy foot though).

  • avatar

    We perceive the 3rd row to be as roomy as the Toyota with better interior trim pieces than our Sienna.

    The published dimensions of the Sienna vs the Outlook show that while the overall length is the same, there is a huge difference in the 3rd row legroom as one would expect in a minivan which has been disguised to look like an SUV. Passenger volume in the Sienna is about 20 cu ft more than the Outlook, also as a result of the SUV-like “styling” of the Saturn.

    A Consumer Reports comparison doesn’t actually favor the Outlook’s reliability, although it’s very good for a GM model.

    It seems apparent that there are lots of people who want and use the room of a minivan, but the long hood/short interior minivan design of the three-row CUV makes little sense for those who would use the third row or want added cargo volume.

  • avatar
    Orian

    I’m a little late to the party on this review, but the wife and I have a mini-van. With two toddlers, they sit in the second row for a couple of reasons. The first is we don’t have to mess with getting to the third row (the older kids are just fine back there and can navigate the narrow path between the two second row seats easier), and the second being they are small enough in their boosters not to kick the crap out of the back of our seats.

    If you have enough kids to fill both rows (like we do every other week) you wouldn’t put your car seat/booster seats in the third row IMHO.

  • avatar
    jenneil624

    I just want to say that I cross shopped a RAV4 and an Enclave/Acadia/Outlook. My wife and I agreed that we wanted a third row for occassional short trips with my in laws (just around town) instead of having to take two cars. We have two young children and so the car seats use up the entire second row. However, after thinking about it, we realized that the RAV4 (V6 of course) was smaller, faster, more fun to drive, and more economical than any of the Lambda triplets. (I must admit that I prefer the Acadia and Enclave interiors to the Toyota however.)
    For a ten or fifteen minute drive around town, the third row seat in the RAV4 is big enough – especially for my wife who is only 5 feet tall.
    Unlike many people, we wanted the SMALLEST vehicle that met our needs and desires.
    I also want to add that I have no negative feelings about GM.

  • avatar
    andy777

    Like so many others in tis class, a pointless vehicle.

  • avatar
    LK

    Okay, I’m a little confused…GM came up with the Lambda SUVs because nobody would buy their craptacular minivans, and one of the primary complaints is that they’re large and get minivan-like fuel mileage? That’s a shocker…GM replaced their minivans with something similar and (hopefully) more marketable. Their minivans weren’t all that great, and it’s hard to look at the Lambda SUVs and not see them as a huge improvement.

    I still haven’t been able to figure out why people get so upset over the whole SUV craze…what is it with these folks and SUVs? Heck, minivans are just as wasteful and “evil” as SUVs…yet you rarely hear people railing against minivan owners. Maybe everyone should just drive a Prius – heck, they’ll fit 9 people just so long as they’re small and don’t mind being knocked around a bit.

    While I’m obviously exaggerating for effect, my point is that no matter what vehicle you drive you could actually get away with something smaller and more fuel-efficient. Perhaps SUV owners are victims of fashion, and minivan owners are victims of convenience…but let’s face it, *all* of us drive more vehicle than we need. They say that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, and from where I’m sitting that’s all I can see. Heck, I have a 30+ mpg 4 cylinder sedan as my daily driver, and yet there are people out there who would say that I’m still wasteful because I don’t carpool. Or, maybe I could drive one of those little scooter things…it’s only 10 miles to work, and I probably wouldn’t freeze my face off in the winter. If I wasn’t handicapped I suppose I could ride a bike to work…though maybe the neighbor kid could pedal me to work, and I could sit on the handlebars.

    What happened to just buying what we want? Should the guy buying an M3 feel guilty because his car gets worse mileage than a Prius? Should we criticize the guy in the Prius because he doesn’t carpool or ride the bus? The problem with being holier-than-thou is that there’s always someone out there holier than you.

    Okay, I’m off my soapbox…I just don’t see why we need to justify our vehicle decisions, or why we would expect other people to justify theirs. I have 5 different cars & trucks right now, and I have the same reason for buying all of them – I wanted to.

  • avatar
    jrocco001

    I shopped the RAV4 and 2007 Acadia together….for about 1 second.

    The RAV4 was definitely appealing due to its fuel economy, but size-wise simply did not meet our needs. And I’ll emphasize needs, not preferences. Even a small family needs not only seating room but room for a lot of cargo. I’ve not regretted the decision – the Highlander and Pilot were not options at the time – the Highlander was quite a bit smaller in the last model year, and both it and the Pilot were due for a new 2008 model so I did not consider the 2007s. If I were shopping today I would certainly consider them as well, but have no regrets with the Acadia. It runs well, is quiet and smooth, gets excellent fuel economy for its size/class, and has plenty of feaures at a fairly cheap price (I’ve never stepped into a Honda or Toyota dealership where I can get $3000 in incentives and 0% financing). From an subjective standpoint, its also a lot nicer looking IMHO than the other two.

    I’d personally give it a 4 out of 5 – the interior could be nicer, yes, but its not that bad (and frankly better IMHO that the RAV4s, if we’re going to make that comparison). I agree with the nits mentioned here – not having a handle on the third row and the chrome details inside reflect too much sunlight were obvious oversights.

    When you can pay essentially the same price for a top-of-the line RAV4 or SLT2 Acadia, it was obvious to me where the value was.

  • avatar
    cotton girl

    Wow, ya’ll are a tough crowd. I test drove an Acadia and fell in love with it!! The only reason I didn’t buy was because they weren’t willing to come down enough on it and I didn’t want to spend that much money right now. Those things are selling like crazy around here, so apparently I’m not the only one that really likes them.

    BTW, I did also look at the RAV4 and hated it with a passion. The seats were horribly uncomfortable, it rode really rough, and I felt like I was snuggling with the front seat passenger because it was so narrow. I tried to make myself like it because of the better fuel mileage and cheaper price, but it was just too icky for me.

    I ended up with a Ford Edge. Plenty of room for my 2 kids in carseats, and my german shepherd fits nicely in the cargo area. Only gripe about it is I keep hitting my head getting in because it’s so much shorter than I’m used to.

  • avatar
    ChuckthisTruck

    Spot on review I’d say. Today for the first time ever (I’m in my late thirties) I went to a GM dealership intent on buying an Acadia. Those I saw from the outside just reeked of quality……………….but then I removed her dress. Not just plastic, but the cheapest of plastic. Everywhere. Wasn’t it in the 80′s that car makers moved to the padded dash? Evidently GM missed the change because the huge hard plastic dash in this thing, ah, clinging around the cheapo gauge panel is not even in the Rav 4 class, we’re talking $9,999 Nissan Versa here. The carpet is the 3rd tier run stuff. It’s the same grade used UNDER my 4Runner seats – it’s not to be used in exposed areas and it would be ridiculous to keep clean. The vehicle I drove was a demo $44K SLT-2 so I was assuming it would be well dressed-up inside. It wasn’t. It was lots of jewelry hung on an ape.

  • avatar
    davexpert

    I realize this review is more than a year old, but just wanted to make a few points that haven’t been made (or haven’t been made enough).

    For us, choosing the Acadia was an easy choice – based on our preferences and lifestyle:

    1. 2-2-3 configuration. This was huge for us… having the second row captain chairs make the third-row bench seat much more manageable. Now, our older children can easily get in and out of the car (and to the back) while we strap in the baby. Same goes for adults. Many competitors were knocked out of the running due to the middle bench seat configuration. This might add a passenger to your overall capacity, but any parent hauling a few kids (and their friends) will tell you “mountaineering” is no fun, especially if one kid is pretty small and needs help.

    2. Towing… mentioned a little bit in the previous comments, but when comparing the Acadia to a minivan or something smaller like a RAV4, this can be a deciding factor if you regularly tow a boat or trailer. Sure, it’s not going to tow a huge load – but the 4500 lbs capacity suits us just fine – and saved us from having to get a large SUV (Tahoe, Yukon, Navigator, Sequoia) and enduring its thirsty tendencies at the pump.

    3. Mileage. The Acadia gets minivan-like mileage but has the aforementioned capabilities/configuration of a Yukon.

    4. Price point. The Acadia can be as expensive/more expensive than its counterparts, but we just bought and at the supplier pricing going on for the (few) remaining 09s, we got a nicely equipped one with DVD, rear-camera, AWD, etc. for under $36K, and with 0% for five years. Very tough to find a deal like that with any other competitor.

    I think Frank did a good job with the review, criticizing the Acadia where it deserved it. I, too, wish GM would spend the cash on the interior and keep it at its price point – if only… but it would have a real world beater.

    BTW, I’m told the 2010s have the “visibility package” standard in all trims, along with power liftgate. So that’s nice.

    Will be interesting to see how the new GMC Terrain competes, as it seems like it’s going to replace the Envoy and Torrent.

  • avatar
    skitterbug

    I’ve been working in car rentals for several years and I was curious to know where you people are finding Toyota Rav4′s with a 3rd row of seating…personally I’ve never seen one.

    The Acadia is a customer pleaser from my stand point, and one of my SUV’s. My customers actually complain if they get a vehicle such as oh say a prius.

    The gas mileage isn’t great but if you’re looking to buy something the size of the Acadia you are all ready aware of that. They are looking to move people, things, and probably haul trailers and such.

    I can understand wanting to save the environment and everyone wanting to be all granola and stuff, but in all reality when Mt. St. Helens blew it released more toxic chemicals and pollution into the air then over 10 years of daily SUV exhaust for the whole planet.

    Generally people hate mini van’s, wagon’s not so much but they still aren’t very popular. Basically the Rav4 is a horrible vehicle to compaire the Acadia to. People are looking to see if it is a reliable vehicle that won’t break down, not be guilt tripped into buying something that is more economical. Why don’t you go pick on the rap stars driving Hummer H3 stretch limo’s and in all reality probably only get about 3 miles to the gallon. There is an obvious need for something like the Acadia or it wouldn’t be on the market.


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  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States