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Denali is the top-notch performer in a 2014 GMC Acadia

Denali is the top-notch performer for the GMC Acadia
Denali is the top-notch performer for the GMC Acadia
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2014 GMC Acadia Denali FWD

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When it is a Denali trim level in a GMC vehicle, it is fully expected to be a top-notch performer with premium level amenities, a driving experience that exceeds expectations and a ride that offers luxury features and convenience for every member of the family.

2014 Acadia Denali features wrap-around glass in rear
GMC

The 2014 GMC Acadia Denali three-row (up to 8-passenger) crossover SUV, in either front-wheel (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD), meets that standard.

We take every opportunity to drive a GMC Denali trim-level vehicle that we can, first because it is a GMC which sets the General Motors standard for a rugged yet gentrified vehicle and also because a Denali always adds that bit of extra in the form of more standard features and functionality that you often pay extra for elsewhere.

Now before we talk about our recent week-long test drive of the Denali, we would remind you that the 2014 GMC Acadia comes also in four lesser trim-levels that contain the same rugged and powerful engineering along with a solid drive and comfortable ride experience without some of the Denali standard features.

The other Acadia trim levels are SLE-1 and -2 beginning at an MSRP of $34,335 for front-wheel drive (FWD) and topping out with the SLT-1 and -2 with the SLT-2 MSRP at $41,485 for the FWD. All models offer both drive configurations with the AWD pricing about $3,000 more.

The power train for all GMC Acadia models, including the Denali, is the 3.6L V-6 VVT direct injection engine that produces 288 horsepower with 270 lb.-ft. of torque delivered to the road through the Hydra-Matic 6T75 six-speed automatic transmission for both FWD and AWD vehicles. It features automatic grade braking, shift stabilization and precise shift control, as well as hill start assist.

This power train delivers FWD fuel economy of 17/24 mpg City/Highway with an expected average of 19 mpg. When properly equipped, all of the Acadia models can handle a 5,200 tow.

Our test vehicle, a 2014 GMC Acadia Denali FWD in the seven passenger configuration (two Captain’s Chairs instead of the second row bench), had a base price of $46,675 (before delivery) and came clad in a brilliant Crystal Red Tintcoat color set off nicely with the very handsome, Denali only, Cocoa Dune interior.

The 2014 Acadia Denali features signature design cues including a monochromatic exterior highlighted with accents like body-side moldings with chrome accents, the distinctive Denali badges, dual flow-through chrome exhaust outlets integrated into the rear fascia, High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps and 20-inch machined aluminum wheels (with chrome wheels optional).

On the inside, Denali is all about premium look and feel with perforated leather seating and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with mahogany inserts. Denali-specific aluminum trim and accent lighting in the footwells and sill plates add to the interior ambiance, while heated and cooled seats front and heated rear, provide an extra level of comfort.

Technology in Denali also adds to the premium experience highlighted by the very nice Color Touch navigation system, with super high definition resolution, that allows the driver to use a wide range of functions from the touch screen infotainment center that include music, maps, Bluetooth, and weather to name a few.

Denali also features Side Blind Zone and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, hill-hold assist braking technology, Forward Collision Alert (FCD) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW), a front center airbag system to protect driver and passenger from hitting each other in a side crash, StabiliTrak electronic stability control, a rear view camera system and an adjustable heads-up display.

Acadia Denali is said to also feature an exclusive interior acoustic package that makes it the quietest model in the Acadia lineup which it probably is, but when comparing the Acadia Denali SUV to our cabin experience in the new 2014 GMC Sierra pickup trucks, we found the pickup truck to be touch quieter.

We like getting in and out of the Acadia Denali with is low entry/exit height at the front (18.9-inches) and rear doors (19.8-inches). With wider rear doors and GM’s exclusive Smart Slide second-row seat feature, entry to the second- and third-row seats is very easy. Our Acadia Denali had the Captain’s Chairs in the second row which allowed easy pass through to the third row – or you could use the Smart Slide feature.

Another advantage of the Smart Slide feature is to be able to adjust the second row seat in relation to the front seat to allow necessary legroom for second row passengers.

Other standard or optional features include power liftgate, outside heated power-adjustable/power-folding mirrors with integrated turn signal indicators, aluminum accents on the center console, doors and dash, tri-zone automatic climate control, a unique three-prong household type power outlet, remote vehicle start (think snow and ice in the mornings), eight-way power adjustable (with recline) driver and passenger seats, steering wheel controls and a SkyScape two-panel sunroof.

And did we mention storage space? The Acadia has 24.1 cu. ft. behind the third-row seat and maximum available storage behind the first row of seats of 116.1 cu. ft.

Our 2014 Acadia Denali FWD added the enhanced Navigation and Rear Seat Entertainment Package for $2,240 and, with the special Crystal Red Tintcoat ($495), had a delivered price of $49,410.

For a bit of additional functionality for work or play we might suggest adding the new Wi-Fi Mobile Connectivity option for $595.

And, if wheels are your thing, GMC is offering three different 12-spoke and 6-splitspoke Chrome Wheel packages for a mere $3,530 more.

However you buy a 2014 GMC Acadia, you are sure to be getting one really fine and capable SUV, but if you go with Denali, you take it up a notch for sure.