2014 GMC Acadia Denali AWD SUV

2014 GMC Acadia II

I recently had an opportunity to test drive the new 2014 GMC Acadia, courtesy of Weld County Garage in Greeley.  The Acadia name is derived from a French area of northeastern North America that includes parts of Canada and Maine.  The vehicle was the Denali, GMC’s finest, another name of a North American destination – specifically, the highest mountain peak in America.  It is located in Alaska, and has a National Park that carries its name.

GMC  has been building the Acadia since 2006, and introduced an extensively updated version for the 2013 model year.  The 2014 I drove also had two new standard items, forward collision alert and lane departure warning.  The M.S.R.P. of the Acadia was $52,835, and it included 20” chrome-clad aluminum wheels ($600), a navigation/entertainment system ($2,240), and Crystal Red Tintcoat paint ($495).  The DVD entertainment system was for the rear occupants, two of which could sit in individual bucket seats, a popular setup when children are passengers.  Thus, my test car was for seven passengers, and all second and third row seating could be folded flat, producing 116.1 cubic feet of cargo capacity.  Additionally, 4’ x 8’ material can be loaded in the Acadia.  The Cocoa Dune leather looked like chocolate soft serve ice cream, and the two front buckets were powered, heated, cooled and comfortable.  A two-panel sunroof was overhead, and the stereo was a 10-speaker Bose unit with satellite radio.  Of course the Denali had power mirrors/windows/locks and tilt/telescope steering column with leather trimmed wheel.Acadia Interior

Ride on the highway is a hallmark of the Acadia, a vehicle that weighs 4,850 lbs.  Wheelbase is 118.9”, length is 200.8”, width is 78.9”, and height is 72.6”.  The new design that was rolled out at the Chicago Auto Show earlier this year involved a new, brawnier grill, sculpted front fascia, and a redesigned liftgate.  LED daytime running lights are up front in a distinctive “necklace” design, as are projector beam fog lights.  The 20”, six-spoke chrome-clad aluminum wheels are fitted with P255/55R20 Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza all-season radials, and chrome door handles and roof rails close the deal on a beautiful vehicle. Acadia Wheel

Denali power comes from a 3.6 liter, DOHC, direct injected V-6 (288 hp/270 lb. ft.), and an automatic 6-speed automatic transmission delivers it to the all-wheel drive train.  EPA mileage ratings are 16 city/23 highway, and a 22 gallon gas tank is on hand.  Zero to 60 mpg acceleration time is reportedly 7.04 seconds.  The transmission, in typical GM fashion, is silky smooth.

My wife and I rolled over to Ft. Collins for some breakfast in the test vehicle, and once again she expressed surprise at the sumptuous GMC ride quality.  I agree, and think the Acadia Denali is a quality choice for the full-size crossover SUV shopper.   Acadia Painting

Learning the Lay of the Land in GMC’s 2014 Terrain

Terrain at Hungenbergs I

My most recent test was of the 2014 GMC Terrain, courtesy of Ryan Green over at Weld County Garage.  Ryan is the internet manager there and has been employed at “The Garage” for eleven years.  He tossed me the key fob and dealer license plate; immediately my wife Ruth and I were off on a road trip to Nebraska.

GMC has produced the Terrain since 2009, when the mid-size crossover SUV was introduced as a 2010 model at the New York International Auto Show.  The vehicle shares its drivetrain and platform with Chevrolet’s Equinox, but has styling that is substantially different than that of the Chevy.  It’s been a hit, selling almost 100,000 units last year, with the General Motors twin products leading all manufacturers in this segment.

The Terrain that Ruth and I made the trip in was the SLE-2, with upgraded cloth upholstery in black and beautiful extra-cost ($495) Carbon Black metallic paint.  M.S.R.P. came to $30,890, including freight ($895), power sunroof ($900), and chrome alloy wheels/door handles/mirrors ($795).  The tires mounted on those chrome, five-spoke wheels were Michelin Latitude P235/55R18 all-season radials.Terrain Wheel

Power for the SLE-2 is provided by a 2.4 liter, DOHC 4 cylinder engine with 182 horsepower and 172 lb.-ft. of torque.  The transmission is a six-speed automatic with overdrive and manual shift mode.  The EPA fuel economy ratings are 22-city, 32-highway, and 26 mpg overall.  I checked out the fuel mileage on my trip back from Hastings (392 miles) and calculated 33.75 mpg in gentle highway driving.  My test Terrain was a front-wheel drive model with an 18.8 gallon fuel tank.

Terrain Interior

The interior of the Terrain has seating for five and 31.6 cubic feet of luggage space behind the 60/40 second row seating.  That volume is doubled when the second row seating is folded down.  For and aft sliding and reclining capability is a feature of Terrain’s second row bench seat.  The front buckets were supportive for me and worked well on the extended journey from Nebraska.  A Pioneer 8-speaker premium stereo was on hand in the Terrain with satellite radio, an Intellilink system (Bluetooth, smartphone integration, Pandora, etc.) with 7” screen, tilt/telescope, power mirrors/windows/locks, and cruise control.

Highway driving was excellent in the Terrain, with guidance, ride, and wind noise all acceptable.  Handling is nimble, and I particularly liked the electric power steering.  Since I am fond of Terrain styling and felt comfortable driving the machine, I’d have to say that the reason they are so popular is evident to me.  Were I to be in the market for a mid-size crossover SUV, the Terrain would be a candidate for my purchasing dollars.

Terrain Painting

2014 GMC Sierra SLT 4WD CrewCab

2014 Sierra II

    Late last year General Motors introduced the new GMC Sierra at the North American Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan.  The GMC production models are just now showing up at dealer showrooms and Ryan Green, the internet manager at Weld County Garage in Greeley, made a Fire Red 2014 GMC Sierra SLT available for me to test this past week.

General Motors has been producing pickup trucks since 1930 with the dual brands of GMC and Chevrolet accounting for 575,000 units sold in 2012.  For the 2014 model year, the products have been re-designed with sheet metal and drive train improvements.  The V-6’s and V-8’s available in the GMC Sierra now feature direct fuel injection, variable valve timing, aluminum blocks, and cylinder de-activation for economy.

The unit I tested was equipped with the 5.3 liter, 355 horsepower EcoTec3 V-8 with 383 lb. ft. of torque.  Best-in-class EPA fuel economy ratings for the vehicle were 16 city, 22 highway, and 18 overall (26 gallon fuel tank).  Mated to the V-8 was a six speed automatic transmission with a rear axle ratio of 3.42.  The four-wheel drive test truck had active electronic Autotrac with a four position rotary dial for traction selection to the left of the steering wheel.

GMC V-8My wife Ruth and I headed for the Eaton area to take some photographs and she almost immediately exclaimed “Wow, this rides like a car!”.  Indeed, GMC has managed to greatly improve the cabin noise and isolation situation with items such as new cab mounts on the 2014 Sierra – hydraulic at the rearmost position.  As attested to by my wife, ride was fine in the Sierra, and plenty of technology is on hand, including five USB ports, 12v outlets, a 110v outlet, and an SD card reader.  The transmission selector has been located on the steering column because GMC feels busy farmers and businessmen like room in the console for clipboards, markers, PDA’s, etc.

I photographed the Sierra near Fagerberg Farms on Weld County Road 31, and the red pickup looked terrific in the field with its chrome plating on the 20” six-spoke alloy wheels, side steps, and door handles.  This new model’s bold styling has been updated without taking too much risk with what has been a nice-looking truck all along.  And this 2014 design spent more development time in a wind tunnel than any GMC in history.  My test Sierra was a crew cab, and sales of this configuration account for about 60% of overall production.

GMC Interior    The $50,035 (M.S.R.P.) GMC was loaded with equipment including moon roof, navigation with 8” touch screen, IntelliLink system, Bose stereo, satellite radio, and many other items that would typically be expected in a luxury pickup.  Some features were unexpected, such as foot wells in the rear bumper for climbing aboard, a power sliding rear glass, hill descent control, and 2” of additional legroom for rear seat passengers.  GMC has definitely stepped it up with the introduction of the new Sierra.