The 2009 GMC Acadia is one of the more carlike "crossover" SUVs, offering a very passenger-friendly interior, carlike handling, and a roomy interior. The Acadia can be specified with front- or all-wheel drive, but there's no two-speed transfer case or four-wheel-drive low range, and as a result, not much in the way of off-road ability. But that's OK because the Acadia's not meant to tackle rutted backwoods roads. Instead of unused off-road capability, the Acadia offers everyday drivability to buyers.
Interior space and well-configured seating are what make the 2009 GMC Acadia especially appealing. A third-row seat is standard, which yields room for seven to eight people altogether (depending on the configuration). The third row's a real third row, too. There's almost 20 cubic feet of additional storage space behind the third row; plus, maximum towing capacity is 4,500 pounds.
The 2009 GMC Acadia comes with a single powertrain, a healthy 288-horsepower V-6 that gets direct injection for 2009, and standard six-speed automatic transmission. Acceleration is good, but the transmission sometimes hunts for the right gear and jostles the Acadia's occupants in the process. EPA estimates give hope for 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway for front-wheel-drive models.
The GMC Acadia's optional AWD system (which can transmit as much as 65 percent of engine power to the rear wheels as necessary) is plenty for snow days or muddy back roads on the way to the cabin.
The base models come quite well equipped, with 18-inch rims, front and rear A/C, stability control, full-row curtain airbags, and GM's OnStar concierge system with "turn-by-turn" navigation assistance. Higher-end models can be optioned up with all the niceties, from a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound stereo to three-zone climate control, a power rear liftgate, a head-up display (HUD), GPS, a two-panel sunroof, XM NavTraffic, Bluetooth, a rearview camera, and backseat DVD entertainment system.
The Bottom Line:
The 2009 GMC Acadia is better-looking than most minivans, and a whole lot more useful than full-size SUVs for passenger duty.