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2007 GMC Arcadia

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San Francisco: While the GMC Acadia looks like a traditional SUV, itís actually a car-based crossover vehicle. The solid unibody construction is rare on such a big vehicle. Plus three rows of roomy seats make the Acadia almost as spacious as a full-size SUV, but thankfully it comes without the sloppy road manners that typically mar vehicles this size.

Of all the cars in the world, my favorites are the tiny two-seaters that feel like metal mosquitos. It doesnít matter if theyíre uncomfortable, cramped, impractical and powered by small rodents. Theyíre fun. And thatís all that counts.

So, as you can imagine, Iím usually unhappy when I have to drive a full-size SUV, even a big, expensive one that looks like something youíd see on MTV with the Go-Go girls dancing on it.

Usually these big SUVs are built on truck platforms that jiggle and shake as they move down the road, exactly the opposite of what I want in a vehicle. They feel like theyíre built in several big sections, all of which are held together by rubber bands. And how could a sports-car guy possibly enjoy driving something that feels like that?

When I started to drive the GMC Acadia, I expected it to have that jiggly, sloppy, flabby feeling thatís so common in the giant SUVs. Itís certainly big, with an imposing, cathedral-like presence and a cabin that seems to be designed for NFL linemen. But it didnít drive at all how I expected.

Actually it felt like GMC had put a Volkswagen Golf on growth hormones. The whole thing seemed to move in one piece with the kind of solidarity you rarely find in small SUVs and never, ever, feel in big ones. It didnít shake. It didnít jiggle. It didnít shimmy. The secret to this carved-from-granite feeling is in its design.

Unlike most big SUVs that have flimsy bodies mounted on a thick truck-like frame, the Acadia is built with unibody construction just like a compact car. It feels like itís built in one piece, because it is.

The concept isnít new, but itís rare on this scale. Itís more common on vehicles like the Ford Escape or Nissan Murano. Itís especially rare for GMC, a company that advertises its vehicles are tough, capable and  ďprofessional gradeĒ, but not necessarily refined.

The Acadia, though, is refined. Thanks to its super-stiff, car-like construction, and itís disturbingly quiet. Even when itís going 70 miles an hour on a country road, itís silent enough to freak you out. Thatís the good news.

The bad news? Well, I realize itís become a clichť with General Motors, but the interior still feels a tad plasticky, especially in such a premium vehicle. Itís dramatically better than the GM interiors of a couple years ago, but some parts still feel cheap in what would otherwise be a fairly luxurious SUV.

That brings up another sore spot: the price. If you think of this as a regular family vehicle, itís too expensive for many buyers, with the cheapest model carrying a sticker price just 10 bucks shy of $30,000.

Adding things like all-wheel drive and luxury features quickly drives the price even higher. My test vehicle rang up at more than $44,400.

Granted at that price, and with that level of equipment, the Acadia becomes more of a luxury SUV than a people hauler. The GMC tester came with a navigation system, rear-seat DVD player and other features that added nearly $7,000 to the list price.

But it does have one thing going for it. It drives well enough, so that even I, Mr. Sports Car Purist, can like it.

What was tested? The 2007 GMC Acadia AWD SLT-2 with a base price of $37,370. Options on the test vehicle:  Navigation system ($2,145), sunroof ($1,300), aluminum wheels ($695), DVD system ($1,295), premium paint ($395), heads-up display ($350), rear cargo area audio controls ($150). Price as tested including a $735 destination charge: $44,435.

Why avoid it? Itís expensive, with a nearly $30,000 base price. And some parts in its interior feel cheap for such a premium vehicle.

Why buy it? With a car-like unibody design, it drives far better than most big SUVs. Itís refined, roomy and silent.  By Derek Price  © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

 

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Byline:  Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Column Name: Acadia brings new dimension to crossovers
Topic: The 2007 GMC Acadia AWD SLT-2
Word Count:  773
Photo Caption:  The 2007 GMC Acadia
Photo Credits:  GMC Acadia Internet Media
Series #:  2007 - 53


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