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

For the record, the 2013 GMC Acadia Denali offers 24.1 cubic feet of space behind the third-row seat  and a maximum of 116.1 cubic feet with the back two rows of seats folded flat. Entrance through the rear hatchback is made easy with a power liftgate.

As to drivability, the 2013 Acadia Denali remains basically unchanged — and that’s not a bad thing. This three-row, 4,850-pound crossover is not only comfortable, it offers a satisfactory blend of ride and handling.

GMC Acadia Denali cargo space

GMC Acadia Denali cargo space

As before, it gets by with a single 3.6-liter, direct-injection V-6 engine that produces 288 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. It is available with front-wheel or all-wheel drive and is able to tow vehicles up to 5,200 pounds. A revised six-speed automatic transmission handles the gear changes.

Acceleration on the all-wheel-drive test vehicle was adequate, if not exhilarating. The V-6 engine runs smoothly, but can feel strained when the Acadia is headed up a hill with a full load of passengers and/or a boat or horse trailer tagging along behind.

The V-6 engine does not offer much of a bonus in fuel mileage. It drinks regular-grade gasoline, but I managed only 16.5 miles per gallon in a week of light-duty driving. The EPA estimates fuel mileage between16 and 23 miles per gallon, with a combined average of 18 mpg.

Nevertheless, the overall effect of the drivetrain is satisfactory in almost all situations.

Acadia Denali second-row seats

Acadia Denali second-row seats

Compared with a traditional, truck-based sport-utility vehicle, the crossover Acadia offers a supremely comfortable and quiet ride supplied by four-wheel independent suspension enhanced with new shock absorbers. The power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering is reasonably precise and the four-wheel-disc  brakes are up to the demands of a heavy vehicle.

Base price of a well equipped 2013 GMC Acadia Denali with all-wheel drive is $47,945. Add navigation and a rear-seat entertainment system ($2,240), white diamond tricot paint ($795) and delivery charge ($895), and the suggested retail price jumps to $51,805.

All in all, the 2013 GMC Acadia Denali is a comfortable, upscale utility vehicle ideally suited for the needs of a growing family that requires everyday practicality, roomy flexibility and lots of comfort and convenience features for those occasional long-distance trips.