The 2013 GMC Terrain Denali shows its offroad stuff. Photo © 2012 by Don Bain

Taking the 2013 GMC Terrain and Acadia Denali models offroad


Last week the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press hosted their first annual 4XFall event, providing the opportunity to test the performance of the highly upgraded 2013 GMC Terrain Denali and Acadia Denali offroad in the historic Gold Rush site of Caribou CO.

Both models are distinguished by new safety features, technology, infotainment capabilities and unprecedented fuel economy with a choice of two engines.

In the 2013 GMC Terrain Denali the biggest improvements come in the form of advanced sensor technology comprised of Side Blind Zone Alert, which displays an alert on the appropriate mirror if a vehicle is in close proximity; Rear Cross Traffic Alert, capable of detecting traffic approaching from either direction behind you as you back out into the street; Forward Collision Alert to alert drivers when they are approaching a vehicle to rapidly (a distance which can be set to preference or ambient traffic conditions; Lane Departure Warning to keep you from wandering off track if drowsy and a rearview camera to reveal what’s behind you beneath your line of sight when backing up – enhanced by proximity sensors allowing Rear Parking Assistance.

We asked what the opportunity the RMAP 4XFall presented to take the 2013 GMC Terrain Denali offroad meant to the brand?

“We think it’s GREAT!” said Kelly Wysocki, who accompanied us on our test drive, representing GMC. “The Terrain Denali is just coming out so it is perfect for us, even though the Terrain Denali is not really an offroad vehicle.”

That said it was a sheer pleasure to drive through the Rocky Mountains, providing a chance to explore some of the vehicles talents. One of these involved the Navigation Info screen, which revealed our altitude as we drove up to Caribou from Boulder. It expressed our height over sea level in yards, but presumably this is something determined is a setup screen.

It also registered how many satellites were available for GPS triangulation - if there are more than three the positioning is getting pretty darn precise. In the Rocky Mountains outside of Nederland, we were continually receiving information from four to six orbital viewpoints, implying the system is most accurate where it's needed the most - off the beaten track!

The model we drove last week was equipped with the 3.6-liter DOHC V6 SIDI with VVT. This engine delivers 301 hp at 6,500 rpm and 272 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,800 rpm. The resulting tow capacity is 3,500 lbs while getting an estimated 16-mpg city and 24-mpg highway rating from the EPA.

The standard 2.4-liter 4-cylinder SIDI with VVT engine produces 182 hp at 6,700 rpm and 172 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,900 rpm. It can tow up to 1,500 lbs and delivers a surprising 20-mpg in town and 29-mpg on the open road – not at all bad for a vehicle weighing in at around 5,000 lbs.

Torque News friend and colleague Aaron Turpen observed that, “180 hp is not underpowered, just no fun.”

Certain folks would define saving money as they do something that has to be done anyway as great fun. The others would simply buy high-powered trucks or sports cars. It's all a matter of perspective.

The 2013 GMC Denali is for people concerned with comfort, safety, versatility and capacity – not fun, per se. It rather provides them with a sense of security and peace of mind, especially when their teenage son or daughter is driving.

Meanwhile, the 2013 GMC Acadia Denali is meant for people who need seating for up to seven, while still valuing the same comfort, safety, versatility, capacity and optimal accessibility to third row seating. The Acadia has two captain’s chairs in the second row separated by an aisle, making third row access as easy as it gets.

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