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2007 GMC Acadia

ted laturnus The Globe and Mail

Introduced in 2007, the GMC Acadia was one of the first of a new breed of crossover vehicles designed by the company to increase General Motors' presence in this quickly growing market segment. It was also virtually identical to the Saturn Outlook and Buick Enclave.

The Acadia could be had with either 2WD or AWD, accommodated up to eight people, and was powered by a new, made-in-Canada, 3.6-litre V-6 engine. Size-wise, it was somewhere in between GMC's Yukon and Envoy and came in two trim levels: SLE and SLT.

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As GM executives noted at the time, the new Acadia had to walk a fine line between fuel economy and size. It couldn't be too large, or else fuel economy would go out the window. On the other hand, it had to be roomy enough to carry passengers, groceries, kids, dogs and all the other stuff people schlep around on a regular basis. Fuel consumption was purported to be 13.5 litres/100 km in town and 8.9 litres/100 km on the highway for the AWD version, which made the Acadia a little thriftier than the Envoy, but not by much.

The V-6 engine found in the Acadia featured dual overhead cams, four valves per cylinder and GM's variable valve timing system. Eventually used throughout GM's lineup, it developed 275 horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 251 lb-ft of torque at 3,200 rpm. Transmission was a six-speed automatic only and the AWD version had a variation of GM's Versa-Trak system - full-time all-wheel-drive, in other words, with slippery road conditions being the main concern here, as opposed to off-road ability. All things considered, this engine was the drivetrain's strongest feature.

To get into the very back of the Acadia, the second-row seats tilted and slid forward with GM's SmartSlide feature, but things were still a little snug in the third row. Still, once everything was folded up and tucked out of the way, the Acadia featured a completely flat floor, and interior elbow room was decent.

Three recalls for this vintage of the Acadia are on file with Transport Canada and the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The first concerns a possible wiring flaw in the circuit board for the windshield wiper fluid heater. It could overheat and eventually burst into flames. This is an issue with many GM products and affects a wide range of the company's products. The second recall also involves the windshield wipers; in this case, snow buildup could cause the wiper linkage to become detached and the wipers will stop working. Owners are advised to fully clear the windscreen after a snowfall before putting on the wipers - after parking the vehicle outside all night, for example. The final recall affects the front airbag deployment; in some cases, the front bags won't work because of a faulty module.

A whopping 72 technical service bulletins are on file with NHTSA for the 2007 Acadia and they cover just about every area of the vehicle. Some examples: a wonky rear power tailgate, shifting issues with the transmission, stiff steering in wet weather, an unreliable heater motor, batteries that mysteriously lose charge, and power door locks that unlock automatically when the vehicle is shifted into Park.

No real surprise then that the Acadia gets a failing grade from Consumer Reports. With the exception of the engine, virtually every area of this vehicle has a glitch of some kind, according to the magazine, and, although things do improve in '08 and '09, it still gets this organization's worst rating for '07. Some comments from owners: "Buy the extended warranty!," "Good handling, quiet ride," "limited rear visibility." Transmission issues of one type or another are a constant complaint here.

It also gets a less than stellar ranking from marketing research form J.D. Power. The best this organization can give the Acadia for vehicle dependability is a below-average rating. It does get good marks for overall style, performance and design, but low marks in just about every other category.

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From its base price of about $36,500 in 2007, the Acadia has dropped to the high teens to low $20,000 range. Expect to pay about $1,000 more for the all-wheel-drive model.

2007 GMC Acadia

Original base Price: $36,495-$39,495; Black Book: $20,375-$24,125; Red Book: $15,025-$18,725

Engine: 3.6-litre V-6

Horsepower/Torque: 275 hp/251 lb-ft

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Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Drive: Front-wheel/all-wheel

Fuel Economy (litres/100 km): 13.5 city/8.9 highway; regular gas

Alternatives: Honda Pilot, Dodge Durango, Ford Explorer, Ford Edge, Buick Enclave, Saturn Outlook, Toyota Highlander, Toyota 4Runner

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