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2017 GMC Acadia promises better living through downsizing (pictures)

GMC's second-generation Acadia midsize crossover SUV aims to prove that better things come in smaller packages. It's lighter, more efficient and has more tech, but is it better?

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Chris Paukert
2017 GMC Acadia Denali
1 of 42 Chris Paukert/Roadshow

2017 GMC Acadia Denali

The second-generation Acadia's sleeker bodywork clothes a much smaller, much lighter chassis.

2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali

The Acadia's wheelbase has shrunk by 6.4 inches, and overall length is shorter by 7.2 inches.

2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali

This is the top-spec Denali model, with its own unique chrome trim and larger six-spoke alloy wheels.

2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali

The Denali's most obvious design cue is its "dimensional" chrome grille.

2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali

New for 2017 is an available hands-free liftgate that opens with a wave of a leg.

2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali

High-intensity discharge headlamps come standard on the Denali, while lesser models make due with halogen illumination.

2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali

Eagle-head taillamps seem to be getting more and more common on SUVs.

2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali

The second-generation Acadia's biggest -- and most needed -- change was inside, and the new dashboard and cabin offer welcome improvements in both technology and aesthetics.

2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali

The Denali model receives a larger digital display in its gauge cluster than base models.

2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali

Front seats are easy to get in and out of and were comfortable for a day of driving, though not the most supportive for twisty roads.

2017 GMC Acadia Denali
22 of 42 Chris Paukert/Roadshow

2017 GMC Acadia Denali

It's a bit surprising to find a new GM vehicle released with an automatic using just six forward speeds, but it's a time-proven and well-behaved gearbox.

2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali

This all-wheel drive Denali V6 has various modes that influence everything from throttle mapping to transmission shift points, steering heft and suspension firmness.

2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali

Rear-seat climate control is standard on the Denali.

2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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2017 GMC Acadia Denali
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