The GMC Acadia AWD SLT-1: Taking Road Trips to a Whole New Level


So if you’ve read anything I’ve written about road trips, you’re probably familiar with Lucille, the Jeep that mostly runs…except if I have somewhere important to go. Named after the popular Kenny Rogers’ song, which starts with the words, “You’ve picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille…†she’s not known for her comfort, or style, or actual working parts.

The reason I mention this before writing my first car review is because I need to explain that some things I mention—like any technology made after 2009—gets me really excited. And while some of you may be used to things like satellite radio, Android Auto phone, heated seats and temperature control FOR EACH SEAT (clutching at my pearls, here), it is all new to me.

A chicken sandwich and fries are on the table.
We love a new car! And maybe we’re a little weird about it.

Meet the 2019 Acadia AWD SLT-1

GMC was kind enough to offer to let me drive their new 2019 Acadia AWD SLT-1 from Pittsburgh to western North Carolina for a visit to dad’s house combined with a girls’ getaway week. Joined by my sisters Jen and Holly, we set out to see what it was like to travel in style. And now we’re ruined for road trips, having discovered that the Acadia takes traveling to a whole new level—one that I don’t think we can live without.

A chicken sandwich and fries are on the table.
So lovely and cool on the left. An arid desert on the right.

Not too Hot, Not too Cold, It’s Just Right!

Let’s start with the temperature-controlled seats. Every seat has its own complete ecosystem, programmed by the person sitting there. Since I am usually driving in shorts in a tank top while my sister is wearing three layers of clothes, sometimes gloves and always a large Russian-style hat, much of our road trip conversation is usually arguing about whether I’m trying to freeze her to death, or how hard it is to drive while dying of dehydration.

The fact that we could be comfortable for the entire eight-hour drive was no less than miraculous. And when we found that the Acadia had not one, but TWO sunroofs, it was just icing on the proverbial car cake. Jen loves nothing more than to take pictures of clouds. So instead of blocking my view with her camera, WHILE I’M DRIVING, she could just stare up at the sky, snapping away. It was nirvana.

Speaking of the sunroof, Holly, who is an avid knitter, loved the natural light and managed to complete two socks during the drive, putting her well ahead on her Christmas list and earning the Acadia a thumb’s up from the creative fiber community.

All the Bells and Whistles

A chicken sandwich and fries are on the table.
Nothing like a car sing-a-long with satellite radio! You can tell how much we played with it by the fingerprints.

Now that I know what it’s like to have a vehicle with a back-up camera, side mirrors that flash when a car is in your blind spot, WiFi, push-button start and a crystal-clear navigation screen showing maps in a size I can read, I’ve realized just how much I’ve been missing. And having satellite radio and optional phone plug-in so that you can even get a station—or use your own playlist—driving through the West Virginia mountains is a lifesaver. A girl can only hear so much bluegrass.

I also appreciated being able to get my phone calls through the console; another feature that makes it so much safer to drive when you’re winding through the mountains and your 89-year-old father is calling to ask when you’ll arrive despite the fact that you told him what time you left. Because as he says, “It’s a dad’s job to worry.†Truth be told, he had a whole lot less worrying to do with us in this vehicle.

So How Does It Drive?

A chicken sandwich and fries are on the table.
See that road way up to the right? That’s our route. Don’t mind Holly; she’s just bonding with nature.

We travel through a lot of mountains on our route, which includes I-79 South from Pittsburgh to 19 South through West Virginia, to 77 South through Virginia and North Carolina until we head west. Part of the route includes a six-mile hill climb of more than 1,500 feet, leveling out at Fancy Gap, which reaches 3,100 feet of elevation.

And the Acadia did not disappoint! This is the first time that I’ve made this trip and not felt every minute of the climb. The Acadia had all the power it needed and I didn’t feel, as I sometimes do on these roads, that I was going to have to get out and push the car to the top. The shifting was effortless. And the speed remained stable, even though we were climbing rapidly and rounding lots and lots of sharp curves.

A chicken sandwich and fries are on the table.
It’s a climb, but it’s so worth the view.

We traveled up the Blue Ridge Parkway while in North Carolina, and again, the mountains were no match for the Acadia. The only drawback for me as a Jeep driver is that the big car couldn’t hug the curves like Lucille, and I had to really watch my speed on the downhills as the Acadia tended to get moving a lot faster than I expected.

A chicken sandwich and fries are on the table.
Taking a little break on the Blue Ridge Parkway. No wonder they’re nicknamed the Smoky Mountains!

Storage Space for Days

My dad also got to cruise around in the car with me, and I love that its design made it easy for him to get in and out of the car, and that he was surrounded in comfort for the entire drive. The easy tilt-up seating and the massive amount of storage space made it super easy to stock him up on everything he would need after we headed home—and did I mention how much I LOVE the remote-activated back door? So nice not to have to put packages down to find a key.

A chicken sandwich and fries are on the table.
So much room for storage and an easy-open back hatch. Now we’re spoiled.

Admittedly, neither of us knew what some of the fancy buttons did, but given time and the manual, I’m quite sure we would have been able to become almost as smart as the car.

You Seriously Want to Drive This

So what are some of the features that make the Acadia so special?

  • Three rows of seating, including second-row captain’s chairs or split-folding bench, offering greater flexibility with curbside seat sliding and tilting forward capability
  • Teen Driver standard on all models
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone projection capability (this completely rocks!)
  • GMC 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot
  • All three rows offer USB charge ports for compatible electronic devices
  • 8″ diagonal GMC Infotainment System1 with Navigation
  • Rear Seat Reminder
  • The base price starts at $30,195. (The model we drove sells for $42,295)

And did I mention that it’s gorgeous, too?

A chicken sandwich and fries are on the table.
If only we could have run away together. Permanently.

 

Author’s Note: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a loaner for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience—which was awesome! You can find out more about the GMC Acadia at www.GMC.com.