2013 GMC Acadia Denali road test: Roomy and luxurious family hauler

2013 GMC Acadia Denali

2013 GMC Acadia Denali

Perhaps the best way to explain the refreshed 2013 GMC Acadia Denali is simply to report that it’s got more of what it had before.

The roomy top-of-the-line Acadia is a bit more luxurious than its predecessor, its revised styling is more up-to-date and better integrated, the interior is more versatile and it has some added safety features.

GMC Acadia owners will notice immediately the new exterior styling, which includes a revised grille, redesigned lower front and rear fascias, unique body-side moldings, 20-inch wheels, projector headlights and LED daylight running light accents. Overall, the revisions bring the styling more in line with the smaller GMC Terrain.

 GMC Acadia Denali instrtuments

GMC Acadia Denali instruments

Inside, the roomy Acadia Denali test car features soft-touch materials and perforated leather seating in the first and second rows, heated and cooled front seats, aluminum trim accents, a 10-speaker premium audio system, a new IntelliLink infotainment system, rear-seat audio controls, headphone jacks and satellite radio (free for three months).

Sound quality is excellent and IntelliLink enhances the listening experience by integrating smartphone apps such as Pandora and Stitcher

Passengers can also enjoy the panoramic sunroof, with sliding front glass and a fixed-glass rear section.

In addition a rear-seat entertainment system is an available option, but there is a glitch. When the center-mounted screen is lowered it blocks the driver’s view to the rear of the vehicle.

Seating is offered in two configurations. The seven-passenger model comes with two rows of captain’s chairs and a three-passenger, third row bench. The eight-passenger model has bench seats in the second and third rows with 60/40 split seatbacks.

My preference would be the eight-passenger model, primarily because the second-row bucket seats, when folded, leave a gap between the seatbacks that cuts back on cargo space.

In either case, the third row is acceptably roomy for three average-size adults. Entry to the third row is simplified with the Acadia’s “Smart Slide” feature that moves the second-row seat forward, but the back bench still is not easily accessible for grandparents, or anyone else who has lost the elasticity of youth.