When it comes to a Denali, Most Americans think of a Yukon rather than an Acadia. So it was interesting when GMC showed off the Acadia Denali at the New York International Auto Show last year.

General Motors has had a great luck with the Lambda platform – selling more than 200,000 of Acadias, Traverses, Enclaves and to a certain extent now gone Saturn outlooks. With automaker still working through the recession, a brand new platform was not the right solution.

Our test vehicle was a 2011 Acadia AWD loaded with options such as touch screen navigation system and rear entertainment package touching the $50K sticker price. At this price point GMC is really competing with either a Land Rover LR4 or a Ford Flex Titanium both of which will have to compete hard with the Acadia.

Since most of us agree that the General got the design just right with the Acadia in the first place, it would have been an interesting job to add bling aka Denali flavor to it. We think that GMC designers have done an excellent job with the Acadia Denali. There are the trademark honeycomb grilles with gigantic GMC logo on the top grille along with a horizontal chrome stripe on the front bumper. The front end of the Denali makes a bold statement and is definitely to die for if you are a big GMC fan. The rest of the vehicle is pretty similar to the regular Acadia other than the beautiful wheels and chrome moldings. Either way we are sold on the exterior!

Step inside the Acadia Denali and you really figure out what Denali is all about. Real wood inserts on the dash, ambient lightning really set this Denali aside. GMC was also able to borrow the Quiet Tuning technology from the Buick Enclave which makes this Acadia Denali very quiet.

Overall we were very impressed with the list of features on the Denali such as heated cooled seats, dual SkyScape sunroof and ofcourse the touch screen navigation system. GMC engineers have done an admirable job while crafting the Acadia and you really get that luxury feeling once inside the cabin.

The only grief we have about the interior is related to the steering wheel. We have always said that General Motors must do something with the steering wheels. We hate the steering wheels because they don’t flow with the rest of the interior and make the Acadia Denali feel like a Silverado. But that’s one little grief in between all the great things that the Acadia Denali is providing.

The Acadia is very roomy and provides a 24.1 cubic feet of storage when all 3 rows are being used. This number jumps up to 116.9 cubic feet when you stow the two rear rows which is very impressive. We were lucky to receive the Acadia Denali right before our trip and saw the actual storage capacity in the works.

The Acadia Denali has the same 3.6L V6 Engine as the regular Acadia and puts out a nice 280+ horsepower while still providing 16/23 fuel economy. The Denali has an intelligent AWD system that only engages the rear wheels when the need arises. During our trip the DC area was hit hard by the Snow Storm and we were thankful to GMC for providing us the Acadia Denali. We saw a few other AWD vehicles stuck but our family was safe and sound in the Denali and the Denali’s AWD system did not let us down. It was during that period we tweeted that GMC Acadia Denali is “hands down” the best family CUV.

Once back in Atlanta, we looked back at the 1400+ miles we spent with the Acadia Denali and the word impressive would be an understatement. Apart from the truck like Steering wheel, Acadia Denali is a terrific crossover that provides a great and stylish transportation for your family. Whether you are on the freeway or city roads even between a worst winter storm, you can be assured that the Denali will not let you down. And to top it off, all of this comes at a bargain price of around $50K!

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