Now, I don’t have any kids, but if I did I could fit up to seven of them in the 2017 Acadia.

The new-generation Acadia comes to us with a number of major changes for 2017, and arrives in a slightly smaller package that GMC hopes will expand its appeal with added family-friendliness.

Through a hilarious series of misadventures, I came out west for our first look at the car here in Driveway and ended up on the “lifestyle” wave of journalist previews – because the way it often works at these vehicle launches is that there will be a wave of the more nuts-and-bolts focused “auto” writers that lasts a day or two – followed by a second wave of folks who are more interested in daily practicality.

How many kids you can fit in the car, that type of thing.  (Tee hee. We’re real elitist about it, too, the ‘car guys’, looking down our noses at everybody who isn’t us; but the truth is I love the lifestyle and technology bloggers’ different priorities).

Now, I don’t have any kids, but if I did I could fit up to seven of them in the 2017 Acadia (if I got the Denali model, with its three rows of seats; the vehicle can be had with only two rows in the All Terrain trim).

And, if I did have any delightful toddlers, I’d probably have so many of them that I would always be unsure how many were in the car; always forgetting the kids in the back seat and the neighbors having to break the windows to get them out – but that wouldn’t be a factor with the newest Acadia, equipped as it is with ‘rear seat reminder’ technology, which in all seriousness, is a warning to check the back seats.

Don’t get me wrong, though, I’m not making fun of the available safety features on the Acadia (well, except for the rear seat reminder).

I took one into downtown Vancouver traffic, and up north of the city into Pembroke, and I came to appreciate the pedestrian warning and rear object detection. The Denali trim (GM’s premium level for the Acadia) had the company’s Safety Alert seat in it; which adds a buzzing vibration to the dashboard alerts. It’s freaky the first time you feel it, but it definitely gets your attention.

When my imaginary kids grew up into well-behaved and obedient teenagers (like we all were when were teens, right?) and the time came to lend them the car, I could further torment them with the Acadia’s ‘teen driver’ mode.

It allows a parent to set parameters – like governing the top speed and limiting the audio volume – and also acts as a sort of nanny/fink system whereby you can check the youngster’s driving style via a report card.

The company has changed it enough that the 2017 Acadia can be called all-new this year; having shrunk the overall dimensions to make it a more urban friendly vehicle (the body is 18 cm shorter, and the vehicle lost about 13 kg in overall weight versus the previous generation).

The grille is new, as is the wraparound rear glass and headlamps. The sheetmetal styling is pushed further into GM’s bold-and-chunky mindset, the interior strives for a more carlike and family-friendly environment (including improved access for those forgotten children in the third row).

For the new model year, there are two engines available; a 3.6 litre V6 that has received a horsepower boost over the previous generation (it is now rated at 310 hp, 271 lb.-ft. of torque) and a more economical 2.5L four-cylinder (193/188).

Keyless start and entry are standard, as is a drive-mode selector for dialing in various terrain and driving conditions. The vehicle is also now offered with wi-fi connectivity and a tow vision camera that allows for a better view when backing up with a trailer attached.

All models use a six-speed automatic transmission, and buyers have a choice of 2WD or all-wheel drive powertrains.

The 2017 Acadia breaks down into four trim levels (SLE, SLT, All Terrain and Denali) and starts at an MSRP of $34,995.

Most of my time, though was spent in a Denali model, loaded with the above mentioned safety tech, but an around-view overhead monitor with the backup camera, parking aids, lane-keeping assist and the My GMC app (and of course OnStar, one of GM’s best ideas).

The price might be a factor for anyone considering the high end of the lineup; as the Denali (with V6 and AWD) tips the scales at $54,695. But then, it is all about the children, of course.

wade [dot] ozeroff [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca


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