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It’s always pleasing to see an American-made vehicle that meets or exceeds expectations. Although the U.S. auto industry still has plenty of ground to make up before it can go head-to-head with its foreign competitors, vehicles like the GMC Acadia are helping to narrow the gap.

The Acadia debuted two years ago and continues to receive solid marks by most industry observers who have test driven this family-friendly model.

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The folks at GM have a winning combination with the Acadia, a full-size crossover that features three rows and seats eight passengers. With the drop in popularity of mini vans, the Acadia is a suitable option if you’re a person who happens to frequently drive in people-transportation mode.

The 2013 Acadia is one of three by GM sport utility vehicles (the other two are the Buick Enclave and Chevy Traverse) that share the same platform and running gear.

The Acadia, which is lighter than many truck-based SUVs because of its unibody architecture, delivers in a number of ways. It not only provides for a high volume of passengers, it offers tremendous cargo space as well.

Also part of the package with this SUV is it handles well, has a smooth and quiet ride around town, has a towing capacity of 5,200 pounds, yet also is pretty efficient on gas (17-24 mpg).

One more reason to like the Acadia – it ranks extremely high in all safety categories. And that’s reassuring to know for a vehicle that will frequently be transporting plenty of kids.

The Acadia is available in five trims (SLE-1, SLE-2, SLT-1, SLT-2, Denali). The Denali is the premium SUV and goes for a premium price as well ($45,945). The Acadia base model is priced at $34,050.

2013 GMC Acadia

  • Performance: 3.6-liter, V6, 288 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate range: 17-24 mpg
  • Price: $34,050 to $41,200
  • Warranty: 3years/36,000 miles; drivetrain 5 years/100,000 miles; roadside assistance 5 years/100,000

The Acadia has undergone a modest redesign for 2013. The front and rear styling is new. Probably the most noticeable exterior change is the large front grille. The cabin has upgraded some materials and a few standard features have also been added to the 2013 package.

The Acadia  weighs nearly 5,000 pounds and features an engine that is compatible with its bulk. All Acadia models have a 3.6-liter, V6 that is equipped with 281 horsepower (the Denali has 288 hp) and 270 pound-feet of torque.

It would be nice to have the option of a V8 since the Acadia has three rows of seating and often carries a heavy load. A six-speed automatic and front-wheel drive are standard, but all-wheel drive is optional.

The roomy cabin is applauded for its layout and also for its attractive two-tone color, which is even classier in the Denali because it features wood grain accents. The instrument panel is not only accessible, but also fairly easy to master. The Acadia interior does include some low grade plastic, but overall is very pleasing for the driver and its passengers.

There’s no complaint with how the Acadia handles. It drives well around town and is nimble for its size. The steering and good visibility gives the driver a feeling of confidence. Despite its size, the Acadia is also not a problem to park.

The Acadia is a spacious vehicle that will serve large families very well. It offers sufficient power, comfort, and isn’t a gas guzzler.

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