Instead of “go big or go home,” GMC focused on “light makes right” with the second-generation three-row Acadia. It’s an SUV that’s shorter, narrower, and about 500 pounds lighter than its previous incarnation. Despite the smaller size, it has generous interior space, is more fuel-efficient, and handles better than the old Acadia.

Though it’s not as airy inside as the Honda Pilot or Toyota Highlander, the Acadia offers ample room and agreeable seats. The second-row captain’s chairs have plenty of knee clearance, the passenger-side seat slides forward for easy third-row entry, and two adults can fit in the way back with surprisingly good headroom.

Handling is responsive and secure. The steady ride and quiet cabin give this SUV a solid feel, and the easy controls and comprehensive infotainment system are a boon. But the interior finish and feature set aren’t worthy of the price. Forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking are offered only on high-trim versions.

The 310-hp V6 scoots the Acadia to 60 mph in a rapid 6.8 seconds. Power delivery is smooth, but the transmission makes an occasional jolty shift. At 19 mpg overall, fuel economy trails most rivals. (You’ll get one more mpg on the highway if you turn off AWD.) Base front-wheel-drive models have a 193-hp four-cylinder.

Yes, the Acadia is an upscale version of vanilla, but it’s functional and easy to live with.

Read the complete GMC Acadia road test.

A photo from CR's 2017 GMC Acadia Review

HIGHS: Quietness, ride, rear-seat room, controls, easy-to-use infotainment system
LOWS: Lackluster fuel economy, missing some common features, no more luxurious than mainstream competitors
POWERTRAIN: 310-hp, 3.6-liter V6 engine; 6-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
FUEL: 19 mpg
PRICE AS TESTED: $51,585


Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the March 2017 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.