- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 10, 2007

Many of the so called crossover vehicles are laughable. I understand the status of the minivan and the sport utility vehicle are becoming blase. But come on now folks, a lot of these so called crossovers are nothing more than a minivan in disguise.

However, there are changes coming to the crossover category. As new vehicles are being developed, they are emerging with their own characteristics.

Such is the case with the GMC Acadia.

I wasn’t prepared to be impressed when I received the invitation to drive an Acadia.

The idea of a crossover being a glorified minivan has changed, although this GMC carries on with the practicality and versatility that made minivans so popular. The Acadia just makes it more fun and less of a hit to the physique. Based on GM’s European Lambda platform, the Acadia is stiffer and more ridged than minivans have been. How this equates back to the improvements with this vehicle? By reducing flex and bending that are the gremlins of squeaks and rattles that drive engineers to the asylum. A ridged platform also allows the suspension engineers to develop a better suspension system.

So, this is how GMC has been able to make the Acadia a better performing vehicle through the twisting back country roads while giving it a ride that coddles its passengers. During my drive through the mountains of Santa Cruz, Calif., the Acadia tracked true around wide, sweeping turns as well as it did through the many quick left, right, left S turns. The Acadia was equally surprising on California’s wonderful freeways full of expansion joints that can set some vehicles to bucking like a bronco on the PRCA rodeo circuit. The Acadia smoothed out the jouncing, reducing the vibration to a minimum.

The exterior is as expected, a cross between a minivan and a sport utility vehicle. However, GMC has taken the Acadia and given it its own personality. You can see the computer influence in the design. As you have seen in those special-effects movies, it is as if they magically morphed a minivan and a sport utility into one vehicle. This crossover provides all the versatility, functionality and comfort everyone hopes for in a vehicle.

The Acadia sits low enough to the road to provide easy egress and ingress as well as giving the vehicle excellent road-handling manners. Yet, the height is high enough to facilitate respectable ground clearance in case you encounter slightly rough terrain. This isn’t an off-roader by any means, but if it is outfitted with all-wheel drive, you can still venture off a paved road. Just don’t go too far.

The change to crossover vehicles befuddles me a bit, call a minivan and minivan and a sport utility a sport utility. But, with the way buyers are looking discouragingly at those vehicles, a morphing was necessary. I think that GMC and the Acadia have done the job well and it will fill the needs of many owners while allowing them to feel better about their choice.

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