In recent years, the GMC brand has gone through a transformation to broaden its appeal. Some of the biggest changes include the introduction of the new Hummer EV, and the launch of its premium off-road AT4 trim that now covers the entire portfolio and accounts for a quarter of all GMC sales. This week, we were handed the keys to their popular mid-size crossover, the 2022 GMC Acadia AT4, and set out for a full week of evaluation of its appeal in the increasingly competitive off-road-ish crossover segment.
The Acadia was refreshed in 2020, and this update gave it a boxier styling and new LED lighting all around. It is a sleek looking SUV, and the AT4 gets further dress up including black chrome-accented grille, black exterior accents, 17-inch gloss black wheels, and dedicated AT4 badges to appear more rugged than the rest of the Acadia line. Changes are rather subtle and appearance based so don’t mistake them for dedicated off-roaders like the Ford Bronco or Jeep Wrangler. It’s more in line with other rugged SUVs like the Honda Pilot TrailSport and Ford Explorer Timberline.
Two engine choices are available for the 2022 GMC Acadia – a 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder and a 3.6-litre V6 – with the AT4 trim getting the naturally aspirated six-cylinder. Output is rated at 310 horsepower and 271 lb-ft. of torque which is plentiful for any situation. The V6’s seamless power delivery is quite suitable for highway driving and the nine-speed automatic transmission does a good job in delivering power to all four wheels. Max towing is rated at 4,000 pounds which is about average for the class.
Despite being a mid-sized crossover, the Acadia AT4 is quite nimble with reflexes like a compact. We credit this to General Motors’ excellent C1XX platform as we noted similar response in the Acadia’s two twin siblings in previous road tests – the Buick Enclave and the Chevrolet Traverse. Those looking to venture off-road with the Acadia will be aided by the AT4’s standard Traction Select System, Hill Descent Control, and Hill Start Assist systems.
Fuel consumption on the Acadia AT4 is rated at 12.6L/100km in the city and 9.2L/100km on the highway for an average of 10.9/100km. These figures closely matched our observation for the week and the Acadia’s large 82-litre fuel tank means drivers can go up to 800 kilometres without refueling, a bonus for frequent road trippers. Another upside here is that regular grade gasoline is accepted.
Interior space is quite generous in the Acadia AT4 – head and legroom are good in both the first and second row, and the back row has above-average space that adult passengers would not complain too much about. The dual sunroofs are great to let in an abundance of sunlight, but we would have preferred a power operated sunshade instead of the standard manual ones to keep operation easy. Cargo volume is measured at 362 litres behind the third row, and opens to 1,181 litres once folded.
Interior of the Acadia AT4 is rather utilitarian. There is more hard plastic used than we would like to see on the dashboard, but the layout is at least logical with key switches well within reach. The use of a push button shifter over a traditional stalk took a bit getting used to, but we eventually grew to appreciate the additional storage space for our clutter.
Infotainment is delivered through the standard eight-inch touchscreen and GPS navigation is included with the AT4 trim. The system user interface is simple and intuitive, with many features easily accessible through the soft-shortcut keys along the bottom of the screen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity is standard, and the AT4 comes with an upgraded Bose eight-speaker premium stereo system that fills the cabin with above-average sound quality.
Standard driver assistance features on the Acadia AT4 include Forward Collision Alert, Front Pedestrian Braking, Front and Rear Park Assist, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. We would have liked to see the inclusion of Adaptive Cruise Control as standard equipment on the Acadia AT4 to help on longer journeys.
The 2022 GMC Acadia AT4 starts at $48,698 – a $7,300 increase over the base SLE AWD– and ours had the optional White Forest Tricoat paint job ($1,195) and the GMC Pro Grade Package ($2,995) that brings the as-tested total to $52,888. It is closely matched with key competition such as the aforementioned Honda Pilot TrailSport as well as the Toyota Highlander, with the GMC winning the styling contest but falling short on interior appointments.
To sum up, the Acadia AT4 is not perfect, but neither are its competitions as automakers all try various recipes to get a share of these new breed of crossover buyers. This competition is really just getting started, with the 2022 GMC Acadia AT4 getting a leg up through its handsome looks, smooth powertrain, and well-sorted driving dynamics.
First Drive: 2022 GMC Terrain AT4