2011 Acadia Denali: You want it? You got it

20 Dec 2010 | 2,356 views | No Comment
Rarely has a vehicle satisfied so many needs--and done so with grace and elegance--than the 2011 Acadia Denali.  Whether it was traveling through knee-high snow, heading to a concert, or even lugging, of all things, a huge sofa, with the back hatch door closed, the Acadia Denali rose to the occasion.  We all were continuously surprised by what we could ask of such a luxurious, almost decadent car, and still have it meet our needs.      The Acadia, the Chevy Traverse and the Buick Enclave all share the same platform, but their ambiances are all dramatically different--and thank goodness, they all look different, too.  The Traverse, to us, means sporty, fun driving with a large dose of family flexibility. Buick's Enclave is decidely upscale with lots of nostalgic, lovely reminders of Buicks gone by.  But the Acadia, espcially in its Denali form, is unabashedly luxurious, though in a low key, never shouting way.  Our white diamond tricoat Denali had a base price of $45,220,  which included dual exhausts with chrome tips, antiloick brakese, stability and traction control,  plenty of air bags, OnStar, fog lamps, roof rails, power liftgate, chrome wheels, full power, equipment, a second row skylight, leather seating, heated and cooled seats, power adjustable eight way drivers seat with memory, four way adjustable power passenger seat, captain chairs in the middle row, seven passenger seating,  all wheel drive and a host of other items. Nothing is left to chance here. The Denali offers some features that set it apart from the other Acadias, however.  If you get a Denali, you will get unique body treatment  that includes the front and rear fascia, grille, wheel flares and side moldings, chrome 20 inch wheels, with black chrome accents, along with  xenon headlights, additional sound insulation, illuminated sill plates, the "SkyScape" power front/fixed rear dual sunroofs, a head-up display, perforated leather upholstery, heated/ventilated front seats and a leather/wood steering wheel.     Power comes from a 3.6 liter, 288 horsepower V-6 which gets 16/23 miles per gallon, with an estimated annual fuel cost of $2,367 based on 15,000 miles and  $3 a gallon gasoline. Outside, the Denali is all about understated elegance.  While it isn't ground breaking, it is softly aerodynaic, substantial looking, and yes, even a bit stately.    Inside, it's the same story. There's tastefully applied materials, soft hued wood, and hugely comfortable seating all around  This is one SUV you don't want to miss for a long distance trip.  Ride and handling are all predictable and mannered, thanks to features like the variable assist steering. But you're going to be somewhat disappointed if you're expecting brisk, sure footed-cornering as you might get in one of the more performance oriented  crossovers because the Acadia is a heavy, somewhat cumbersome vehicle. What really shocked us, however is when we could get a long three cushioned sofa into the Denali with no problem whatsoever. The maximum cargo capacity is 117 cubic feet with the second- and third-row seats folded down. If  all three rows are occupied, there's  24 cubic feet of luggage space. Because of its size, getting around crowded city streets can be an issue, with rear visibility somewhat compromised and the sheer size of the Denali means that parking can be tricky even with a parking assist system.      Still it's nice to drive a vehicle which can do just about anything and do it in style, like the Acadia Denali.

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