The new-look Acadia appears to be more svelte and smoother than the chunky styling it replaces.

GMC was once the truck division of General Motors, selling only commercial vehicles, and eventually consumer pickups. Like many other brands, it eventually created more consumer-friendly vehicles like SUVs and crossovers. The latest evolution in that is the debut of the 2017 GMC Acadia, appearing at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week.

The new-look Acadia appears to be more svelte and smoother than the chunky styling it replaces. But the previous Acadia was getting long in the tooth, as it first appeared in 2006. Production methods have come a long way in the last 10 years, and the Acadia is only a few inches shorter than the full-size Yukon, and is 700 pounds lighter than the outgoing Acadia.

The 2017 GMC Acadia Closes in on the Yukon

This says big things about the state of the truck-based SUV market. Though the new Acadia is positioned against the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Explorer made the move from truck-based to car-like platform in 2011, and the Acadia is almost coming at it from the other angle–potentially absorbing Yukon sales with a large, yet more economical platform than the truck-based GMC SUVs. Under the curvaceous hood is the option of a 2.5-liter inline-4 capable of 28 mpg, though good luck getting anywhere on time if you chose that engine (and few will). The more likely option is the 310-horsepower 3.6-liter V6, which will still get 25 mpg if you get it with front-wheel drive.

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Power can be managed with the terrain-selection knob. If you opt for the front-wheel drive model, it features Normal, Snow, Sport, and Trailer/Tow modes. If you select the all-wheel drive model, the knob has 2x4 (which disconnects the AWD), Sport, Off-Road, and Trailer/Tow modes. Pricing for the new Acadia has not yet been announced, but expect it to go on sale this Spring. When it does, it will come with an available 4,000-pound towing capacity, a wealth of the latest safety technology (think collision avoidance, lane departure warning, bling spot detection, etc), and frankly much of the daily usability found in the (barely) larger Yukon. Outside of very specific driving conditions, the capability gap between crossover and traditional SUVs is closing fast.

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