CARS.COM — When GMC lopped 7.2 inches of length and 700 pounds of weight off the second-generation Acadia, the SUV went from the plus-size member of its class to a comparative runt. Heck, the 2017 model is even available without a third row, a ubiquitous feature among large crossovers.
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Did that make the new Acadia ripe for our two-row, $45,000 Midsize SUV Challenge? GMC didn’t think so. We asked the brand for an Acadia within our test parameters, but it declined on grounds that the SUV comes standard with a third row. (The third-row delete comes with the All Terrain Package, an option on middle trims that gives GM a loose competitor to the Jeep Grand Cherokee.)
Still, a two-row Acadia joined Cars.com’s test fleet just after the Challenge ended. So we decided to compare it to the winner of the Challenge, the 2016 Nissan Murano — an SUV that’s just 1.2 inches shorter than the redesigned Acadia. We judged both SUVs using the same testing categories and 1-10 scoring of the $45,000 comparison.
Our 2017 Acadia SLT1 had all-wheel drive, the All Terrain Package and other options for a total price of $47,465, which would have made it ineligible by the comparison’s $45,000 ceiling. But it wasn’t far from the winner, an all-wheel-drive 2016 Murano Platinum ($44,070).
Senior editors Joe Bruzek and Kelsey Mays put the Murano and Acadia through back-to-back handling loops and interior evaluations to see if the Acadia is a formidable competitor in two-row, five-occupant form rather than its standard three-row, seven-seat configuration. Here’s how they scored: