First Look: 2013 GMC Acadia And Acadia Denali

By Brandon Turkus

February 08, 2012

GMC unveiled its refresh of GM’s Lambda-platform, with the 2013 Acadia and its upmarket brother, the Acadia Denali. Both vehicles feature revised front and rear fascias that draw inspiration from past GMC concepts (we see a lot of the GMC Granite Concept, particularly in the front end).
The revised interior on the Acadia is a welcome sight. The cabin looks to feature less plastic, with an aluminum center stack and wood accents. Denali models feature even more stylish design, with perforated leather seats, even more aluminum trim, and a leather-and-wood steering wheel. GM’s Color Touch Radio will be standard, while the IntelliLink connectivity system will be available. That means Pandora streaming with a compatible Bluetooth phone, as well as voice control of devices connected through the USB interface. Denali models add heated and cooled seats, a dual-pane panoramic sunroof, blind-spot monitoring, and cross-traffic alert.
Mechanically, the Acadia and Acadia Denali carry over the 3.6-liter, 288-horsepower V-6 from the 2012 car. Power will still be sent to either the front or all four wheels via a new version of the HydraMatic six-speed transmission from last year’s car.
The 2013 Acadia and Acadia Denali should go on sale towards the end of 2012.
Please scroll down for the official press release from GMC.
2013 Acadia Evolves the Original Three-Row Crossover
Updates in design, technology and safety improve consistent seller
New exterior design highlighted by signature LED lighting
Refined interior with soft-touch materials, accent stitching and ambient lighting
Rear vision camera standard; industry-exclusive front center air bag available
CHICAGO – GMC today unveiled the new 2013 Acadia and Acadia Denali at the Chicago Auto Show, highlighting a new exterior and safety features including the industry’s first front center air bag.
Acadia, which launched in 2007 as GMC’s first crossover and defined a segment that has since surged in popularity, had the best sales in its five-year history in 2011. The Denali model, added in mid-2010, broadened Acadia’s appeal to luxury customers with its combination of functionality and style.
“With an award-winning combination of space, capability and fuel-efficiency, Acadia epitomizes GMC’s ‘never say never’ attitude,” said Tony DiSalle, U.S. vice president of GMC Marketing. “For 2013, our engineers and designers applied that same attitude to developing the new Acadia.”
Acadia retains the interior functionality popular with families, including the SmartSlide seating system, which allows easy access to the third row for both seven- and eight-passenger seating configurations. Likewise, both the second and third row still fold flat for class-leading maximum cargo space, including the ability to carry 48-inch-wide sheet goods, such as drywall and plywood.
Confident design
First impressions are everything, and the 2013 Acadia was developed to make a strong one. A chiseled, three-bar grille sits prominently in the new, more upright design.
Diffused LED running lamps lend a premium look to the Acadia and are standard on all models, regardless of whether standard projector beam or optional HID headlamps are selected. New taillamp detailing reflects the advancements up front.
The new Acadia gets other subtle exterior design updates, including wrap-around rear glass and a new rear spoiler. New 18-, 19- and 20-inch wheel patterns complement the vehicle’s lines and stance.
The Acadia’s refined interior uses upgraded soft-touch materials, with French stitching that adds a tailored look and red ambient light flowing across the dashboard. SLT and Denali models get aluminum accents on the center console, doors and dash.
Industry-exclusive safety
The redesigned Acadia will be the first vehicle on the market with GMC’s new front center air bag system, created to protect drivers and front passengers in far-side impact crashes where the affected occupant is on the opposite, non-struck side of the vehicle. It deploys from the inboard side of the driver’s seat and positions itself between the driver and front passenger.
"While no restraint technology can address all body regions or all potential injuries, the front center air bag is designed to work with the vehicle’s other air bags and safety belts to collectively deliver an even more comprehensive occupant restraint system," said Gay Kent, GM executive director of Vehicle Safety and Crashworthiness.
Standard on the Acadia Denali and available on other models are Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert systems. These systems use radar to watch spots the driver may not be able to see – and provide visible and audible warnings to help prevent collisions.
Every Acadia model also comes standard with six months of OnStar’s Directions and Connections service, which includes automatic crash response, turn-by-turn navigation, roadside assistance, emergency services link and remote door unlocking. OnStar’s RemoteLink smartphone app allows for remote vehicle status reports, extended locking and unlocking capability, and remote start functionality to distance limited only by cellular phone service, rather than the few hundred feet of the standard key fob.
Technology leader
The 2013 Acadia’s redesigned infotainment functions feature capacitive touch controls that use electrodes to sense the conductive properties of objects such as the touch of a finger.
GMC’s Color Touch Radio – first introduced on the 2012 Terrain – is standard in the Acadia. Available IntelliLink allows customers to seamlessly integrate their smartphones for hands-free calling through the audio system and Bluetooth streaming of popular internet radio favorites Pandora and Stitcher. IntelliLink also allows voice control of USB-connected iPods for easy access to stored music.
Other audio system features include HD radio capability, a photo viewer and a standard rear-vision camera with dynamic guide lines that will display on the high-definition screen.
Mechanically, the 2013 Acadia benefits from a next-generation Hydra-Matic 6T70 six-speed automatic transmission with better shift response and improved drivability.
Acadia’s most-popular options, including rear-seat entertainment, a Dual SkyScape sunroof and a trailering package, continue to be available.
Exclusive Denali returns
Acadia’s popular top-of-the-line Denali trim represents 30 percent of sales, so a high priority was placed on adding premium amenities and refining Denali’s signature design cues. New or redesigned exterior additions include:
New, three-dimensional polished grille
Redesigned lower front and rear fascias
Body-color lower cladding and rocker moldings, rear fascia and fender flares
Unique body-side moldings with chrome accents and Denali badges
Dual flow-through chrome exhaust outlets integrated into the rear fascia
20-inch machined wheels
Inside, Denali adds standard comfort and safety features, including:
Perforated leather seating and Denali-specific Cocoa Dune upholstery color
Leather-wrapped steering wheel with wood inserts and power tilt/telescope
Aluminum trim accents
Heated and cooled front seats
Accent lighting in footwells and lighted sill plates with Denali logo
Color Touch navigation
Side Blind Zone and Rear Cross Traffic Alert
Dual SkyScape sunroof system, with sliding front sunroof and fixed rear section
All-wheel drive
“When designing the new Acadia, we considered the contemporary shapes and materials GMC buyers expect from many products they buy,” said Dave Lyon, executive director of design. “The Denali’s attention to detail is the ultimate demonstration of this approach.”
GMC capability
All 2013 GMC Acadia models are powered by a fuel-efficient, 3.6L direct injection V-6 with variable valve timing, producing 288 horsepower (215 kW) and 270 lb-ft (266 Nm) of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard, while the added control of all-wheel drive is available. Maximum towing capacity is 5,000 pounds (2268 kg).
The 2013 GMC Acadia and Acadia Denali will be built at the Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant in Lansing, Mich. Pricing, availability and more details will be announced closer to the vehicle’s on-sale date in late 2012.
GMC has manufactured trucks since 1902, and is one of the industry's healthiest brands. Innovation and engineering excellence is built into all GMC vehicles and the brand is evolving to offer more fuel-efficient trucks and crossovers, including the Terrain smaller SUV and Acadia crossover. GMC is the only manufacturer to offer three full-size hybrid trucks with the Yukon, Yukon Denali SUVs and the Sierra pickup. The new Sierra Heavy Duty pickups are the most capable and powerful trucks in the market. Details on all GMC models are available at, on Twitter at @thisisgmc or at