2013 GMC Acadia at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show

Competes with: Honda Pilot, Mazda CX-9, Ford Explorer, Dodge Durango
Looks like: Acadia gets a new face
Drivetrain: 288-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 with direct injection and six-speed automatic transmission
Hits dealerships: late 2012

GM is updating its GMC Acadia midsize SUV and using it to launch a new front center airbag, something it’s calling an industry first. Originally launched for the 2007 model year, GMC’s seven-passenger crossover gets refreshed for 2013. But we're betting the new face and grille will grab the most attention.

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The sole powertrain remains the direct-injected 288-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 engine it shares with its siblings, the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse. A six-speed automatic carries over as the sole transmission.

Front-end design tweaks besides the new grille include new LED running lamps and updated grille housing. Around back, there are matching taillights, wrap-around rear glass and a new spoiler. Interior updates include more soft-touch plastic, French stitching and red dashboard lighting. SLT models add aluminum trim in the cabin.

Also updated is Acadia’s multimedia system, with revised touch-screen functionality. GMC says the controls for the system, called Color Touch radio, use electrodes to sense the conductive properties of objects, like a finger. Available on the Acadia is the IntelliLink voice-activated multimedia interface. It provides hands-free control of USB-connected music devices and Bluetooth-enabled phones.

The new airbag is designed to protect drivers and front passengers in far-side impact crashes. It positioned on the inside section of the driver’s seat. When the vehicle is hit, the airbag deploys to better protect the person in the seat farthest from impact.

The 2013 Acadia will be built in Lansing, Mich. Look for it in dealerships in late 2012.

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