• Sign in
  • |
  • Sign up

New Car Review

2014 GMC Acadia Denali: Real World Review

RELATED READING
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs Infiniti cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION
2014 GMC Acadia

author photo by Doug DeMuro

If you're looking for a well-equipped family cruiser, we understand the appeal of an SUV from a luxury brand. After all, you get top-of-the-line features, all-weather capability and luxury-badge appeal. But for shoppers who aren't interested in the cachet of a luxury brand, the 2014 GMC Acadia Denali offers an excellent alternative to the current crop of luxury SUVs. We spent a week behind the wheel to find out how it delivers.

High-End Equipment

Everyone who rode in our Acadia Denali test car enjoyed the crossover's high-end features. For instance, not only is there a remote starter, but the feature automatically turns on the heat and the heated seats when it's cold outside. That means the cabin is warm and toasty when it's time to get in -- a major benefit for shoppers in cold climates.

We also loved the Acadia's navigation and infotainment system. We realize it isn't exclusive to the Denali model, but the system's ease of use still contributed to an overall feeling of luxury. Same goes for the automatic rear tailgate, though some drivers found the operation a little too slow.

Interior Not Quite There

While we appreciated the Denali's equipment, we didn't enjoy the interior materials as much. The problem is the Acadia's cabin can't match luxury SUVs such as the Lexus RX or BMW X5. It's hard to change that fact, even with Denali trim. Yes, Denali models include leather seats and nice wood accents, but there's still too much hard plastic on the doors, and the leather upholstery isn't as nice as we'd expect. It may seem like quibbling, but considering the Denali's base price of more than $46,000 with shipping, many shoppers will expect top-end materials.

Powertrain Acceptable, Fuel Economy Isn't

Our staffers had mixed opinions about the Acadia's 3.6-liter V6, which makes 288 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. While some feel it's clearly the right engine for the job, others disagree and say it feels taxed. Regardless, everyone was impressed with the standard 6-speed automatic for being both smooth and responsive.

We ran into a larger problem with the Acadia's gas mileage. Around town, our test vehicle struggled to get about 12 or 13 miles per gallon -- a low figure, especially for a V6-powered crossover. We think the main culprit is weight, as the Acadia Denali weighs in at a whopping 4,850 pounds with all-wheel drive. As a result, we strongly suggest skipping all-wheel drive unless you live in an area where it's absolutely required.

Our Take

Overall, the 2014 GMC Acadia Denali delivers precisely what you'd expect: It offers a budget-priced alternative to luxury SUVs from other automakers. Of course, with the budget price comes cost-cutting, especially in the cabin. Is it worth it? That's for you to decide. But if you don't need the badge and you don't mind a few low-rent plastics here and there, the Acadia offers an excellent combination of standard equipment and family-hauling capability.

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2014 GMC Acadia 2WD SLE
Used 2014 GMC Acadia
$29,545
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2010 GMC Acadia 2WD SL
Used 2010 GMC Acadia
$15,994
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2012 GMC Acadia 2WD SLT
Used 2012 GMC Acadia
$25,500
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 GMC Acadia AWD SLE
Used 2015 GMC Acadia
$37,850
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Close 
2014 GMC Acadia Denali: Real World Review