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toesuf94

Putting an Acadia SLT FWD through my own test...

9 posts in this topic

I just flew into beautiful soggy Orlando, Florida for a convention and decided to rent one of the Lamda trio for the week I am here to see how it handles it's duties day to day. We will be transporting people to the show, 5-7 of them on certain days, as well as showing customers around a few bakeries in the area. Unlike my normal one-person point of view when I rent a car, I want to see how it handles the people and the luggage that goes with them. Also, my wife and I will be considering this truck and the Saturn sibling when her lease is up on our lemon-y unfresh Commander.

So at National I pick up an Acadia SLT FWD in bright silver over grey leather. Pretty attractive combo, but I think it would be a world better with the chrome wheels. I glance at the truck and notice that there are dings here and there and that she has been mistreated already by a few of her renters. Inside, the light grey seats show the dirt fairly well, as it looks ready for a serious bath. I glance down at the easy to read guages and smile - 15,659 miles already - so the abuse should have taken the toll on the car and reared up any shortcomings in the design by now. After all, it has been in a rental fleet, and we all know how easy life in the fleet can be.

First impression: roomy cockpit and everything is where it should be. Feels a bit more comfy, or as comfy as my Tahoe. The mirrors may look nice but the sharp angle really takes away the rear view I want when glancing in the mirror. I adjust them a but higher and it seems to help, but a little more mirror face on such a big truck would be nice. Some controls feel like they were made of a cheaper grade of plastic than the ones in my Chevy, but they work well and the clink clunk of thier movement is not distracting or obscene. Cannot say the same for the turn signal chime from a 1978 LeMans...man is that loud! Best just turn those off when sitting for a long light in the turn lane. Seats are comfy and the tilt/tele wheel make it easy to find the wheel placement. This is a very simular style of wheel adjuster to my old BMW; drop the lever, move the wheel for and aft up and down then relock lever. Simple and effective - something that I wish were on my Tahoe. Score one for the Acadia. Front windows are both express down AND UP! (Cannot say the same for the rears, damned lawyers!!!) Well, at least the fronts are both ways.

The engine is quiet and the truck moves out pretty good. After reading nearly every writer say that they are under powered, I was caught off guard when she had more than I thought she did. While it will not set fire to the asphault with those front wheels, it does scoot pretty good for something this big. The trans shifts without a thunk or a miscue-(well ONCE I caught it looking for the right gear when I dipped into the throttle then backed off quick when the lane was occupied suddenly...like it was trying to pick juuuusssssst the perfect gear for that occasion and the phone rang distracting it for a second. That really has been the only driveline issue I have found and I SURELY caused it. ) The A/C is typical GM perfect and quickly chilled the cabin and the four occupants therein. The only driveline issue I have noticed is in the steering; a slight groan is almost always present when the steering is actuated. Have not checked the fluid level (it's raining) but could just be inherent in the trucks...anyone else ever hear this? For now I have fixed the issue by increasing the volume on the wonderful stereo in the truck. Torque steer is well modulated...non existent actually...and the car...er truck is really easy and fun to drive. It does not feel big or move in a cumbersome manner, and the wheels stay planted over rough uneven pavement without the normal Thwunk that you usually got in an older GM when the suspension met full articulation in either direction. Body roll is well controlled and it is relatively quiet on the road, with good feedback through the wheel and the seat of your pants. It feels almost BMW-esque on the road!

Other impressions: the chrome areas on the thresholds of the five doors have taken a beating in 15,000 miles of hard use. They show dents and scratches in the obviously real aluminum trim pretty easily...you would probably want to be more careful with your own car or hope that the weather tech mats that you buy protect them from the everyday toil of loading and unloading whatever it is you throw in there. (Do renters do this damage on purpose???) With all of this, I am happy to report not a single rattle, sniggle, pop, crack, groan, snick, or other out of place noise is heard in this truck.

After day 1 and over 90 miles of stop and go in town lost like the tourist I am driving, the gas guage has barely wiggled. I leave her parked in the rain impressed thus far.

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Great review, and sounds EXACTLY like mine--of all 3 Lambdas--and is the big reason why we're now going to replace our '04 Suburban with a new Enclave, hopefully this century :rolleyes: Actually, started out on my part thinking the Outlook would be the best fit, and drove one (I had already driven an Acadia and another Outlook), and enjoyed it...then drove an Enclave. First minute, the thoughts of the GMC & Saturn were over, and it was clear the Buick was far and away in a different class--same platform, designs, and all, but the Buick is SO different.

That said...in response to things you brought up:

1) Yes, they are quite quick in FWD form, and seem much more lively (and VERY refined) than some reviews would suggest--the 3.6L cammer engine is a big sweety, and just does marvelously in anything its put in. One BIG factor with the Lambdas seems to be if they have the latest transmission programming or not--very early ones seemed to lag, then there was a fix, followed by another to improve the responsiveness of shifts owners thought were way too lazy...and then in the past month, there was a final release (well, until another is refined and supplied by GM) that most owners are reporting is a great improvement, and the best of all.

2) The steering groan--that very likely was what it was. Being in several Lambda owner's forums, it seems like a LOT of 2007 model owners have experienced groans or other weird sounds, in addition to just finding ps fluid puddles, all traced back to a bad steering pump. Not every 2007, but seems like a pretty big chunk...without hearing much about the same for 2008's as of yet.

The combination of how beautifully the Lambdas drive, how large they are, the 3.6L engine, the pricetag & features, etc. are why one is now in the cards for us, definitively. Are on our 2nd full-size GM ute, and for a while there, talk was that the momma loved the new '07s the most of all and wanted a new one, but a Tahoe/Yukon to downsize a bit, for her next vehicle. Still likes them, but already hates lugging around the 3rd seat as it is now and refused to ever deal with such an archaic design again, when she uses the function of removing/folding it so much; as always, still ghasps at the $40k+ pricetag of the full-size utes, when equipped just lightly; and had been told by my father (who pays for her gas) "yeah...no more gas guzzlers"--the Suburban is actually not bad here, but still, for a daily driver, is a bit over the top and not economical.

Also, since I know you have an '07 Tahoe, another interesting factoid--when I drove the first Acadia, a $31k FWD model with cloth, I also drove a $50k Yukon SLT 4wd back to back with it. LOVED the Acadia and was just stunned at the cargo/people space and features, and how it just soared down the road with aplomb--with a pricetag under what so many sedans are. Then out with the Yukon, and while I liked the higher and slightly larger seats a bit more because that's what I'm used to, I just wasn't THAT impressed for $50k. All the same great ride, handling, and quietness I've become used to with our '04, but MUCH more solid and even quieter...still, for the pricetag, couldn't hold a candle to the Acadia in driving dynamics & value. But, one is a real truck, and the other not, so there are clear differences that still give each a specific purpose, and I accept that. Just couldn't stomach writing the check for a Tahoe/Yukon, given my uses, in comparison to a Lambda--but still enjoy all.

Edited by caddycruiser
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Acadia in the cadillac forum... :scratchchin:

**Snaps fingers**

2 hench men (moderators) quickly drag this topic to another forum...

Edited by Newbiewar
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Acadia in the cadillac forum... :scratchchin:

Maybe the Acadia is just that good? :)

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Great review, but why is it in the Cadillac forum? ;)

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^^It's not now...then again, I never noticed it was in the first place, if even.

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update DAY TWO: Just spent the day going all over the fine city of Orlando at .5 mph with 5 adults in the Acadia. Tourist traffic here is such fun, and you really need to be ready to bob and weave. The truck handles the moves with grace and confidence. Really does the in town commute really well. Noticed on the info screen that she is averaging 20.3 mpg - that is 6 better in town then the Tahoe...hmmm. In today's prices, that saves a lot of money on the daily drive. Today's drive took us to Universal Studios, and upon our escape I had a short juant on the highway for one exit. On the highway she is such a smooth truck and merges easily and without too many odd noises - wish GM could put the soundtack of a BMW inline 6 in the Bose sound system that works with the throttle...or even a Northstar V8...the power is enough especially when you consider the mileage.

With that said, I miss the power of the Tahoe though. The truck feels sluggish with everyone on board, and the trans seemed to want to shift a lot to try to keep up. Perhaps the trans reprogram would solve this and have it hold the gear a little longer. Holding that lower gear would keep the engine from lugging and giving that sluggish feel. A couple of things have me really thinking about one of these over the next Tahoe though: the back seats seem a lot easier to get in and out of than the Tahoe, and the fold flat third row should be standard equipment in every GM sport utility they make. Easy to fold and reset...even in the rain with a wet bumper, my pants did not get wet against the bumper. That is great engineering right there! Something else: It sure is easy to park- it feels smaller - even though dimensionally there is only a few inches here and there between the two. I think it is the sightlines over the hood and at the corners. I still hate the mirrors though. :rolleyes:

Only other complaints have to be the chrome trim around the shifter is loose, and when you toss it into gear, it tends to fall all the way down to Low. Pretty minor in all.

Overall, really an easy to live with car/truck. She gets pressed into serious taxi duty tomorrow with 6 on board. I will keep posting if you guys are interested.

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Are you still in Orlando?

Let me know if you wanna get together.

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Sounds great and I'm VERY glad to see the kind of real-world mileage numbers you're reporting, from a broken in unit. That seems fairly typical, despite a few getting worse, and is a great improvement for sure.

My mother seems to hover right around 14.5'ish in her daily drive to work and back (about 2 miles each way), and highway is about 18-19'sh in the Suburban. Has a load of power, though, so it's never been a huge complaint. The improved numbers of a Lambda should help more sell my father, though...

And YES, the seating/whole rear cargo/people area space difference is the big kicker in the Lambdas vs. the cramped and inconvenient Tahoe/Yukon. Their seats are higher and seem a bit larger, but the BOF with live axle & its bounce room really kill things.

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