2011 GMC Acadia Denali Brings the Bling

Glitz and glamour are no longer reserved for the Cadillac bunch.

Denali packages have been offered on GMC Sierra pickups for years and bring a certain sparkle to the lineup. That sparkle is being spread.

The “Professional Grade” division of General Motors has added the top-of-the-line Denali trim package to its Acadia crossover utility vehicle.

Acadia is GMC’s larger-than-mid-sized CUV that is made for families who want the capacity of a big ute but not the heft usually associated with frame-based models such as the Yukon. The Acadia is unibody construction, powered by a slightly more fuel-efficient V-6 engine and is offered in front- or all-wheel drive.

Three rows of seating provide room for up to eight although Denali places captains chairs in the second row and three having to cram in the very back to achieve full occupancy limits is something I don’t wish on my enemies.

With the Denali package our recent 2011 tester featured a very attractive body color appearance package finished with some handsome chrome wheels (and a custom automotive journalist fender rub). The vehicle is very stylish, very upscale and, in my opinion, would better be served with the royal crest of the Cadillac badge on the grille instead of the GMC logo.

Acadia is a very comfortable and stable ride. When it first appeared on the horizon a few years back I found it one of my favorite new vehicles. Since that time it has been named a “best buy” and picked up a driver’s choice award. The 288hp engine mated to the six-speed automatic gearbox is a nice arrangement and with the AWD running gear this would be a great choice for many families despite their zip code.

Pricing begins at $35,140 for the very base FWD model but we got a bit of sticker shock when our Denali AWD tester arrived with a pricetag reading north of 50 grand. To be fair, the vehicle does have just about every amenity known to man thrown in and has received top marks in crash safety. Fuel economy of 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway is on par with its competitors (Pilot, Highlander and CX-9) as well.

Should you find yourself wanting to stay with a domestic product but cannot stomach the guilt of not paying European prices, check out the new Acadia Denali.

Categories: Autos, Reviews

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