Minivans and moms go hand in hand, right? Especially if you have more than 2 kids, a minivan is just so convenient. And we were there. Trust me, there is nothing better than automatic sliding doors when you have a newborn.
We ran our mini into the ground – between soccer practices (yes, we OWN that cliche’), school carpools and even a 3 week road trip (our little Honda Odyssey took us all the way to California and back!), we loved our minivan.
But once the kids got older, I was ready to move on. And that I did. Empowered to get a new SUV, I bought a used GMC Hybrid Yukon at the first car lot I went to. Some say it was an impulsive move (hubby) some say it was a bold negotiation (me). Regardless, I love my Yukon. However, it’s a 2008 and doesn’t have many of the safety, navigation, and other features that newer cars have. Plus, if I can be honest, as much as I LOVE the gas milage I get with a hybrid vehicle, we hit a big snag this summer when it needed to get repaired (like 9 week snag – not going there….).
So this mom is ready to make a purchase for a new vehicle and I want to really take my time in deciding what our next family vehicle is. Let’s call it a hunt for #MomsPerfectCar
Qualifications for #MomsPerfectCar
Everyone wants something different in a vehicle. I posed the question on Facebook a few weeks ago and had many responses – everything from good gas milage to a good color. But in my hunt, I have narrowed it down to these 4 things:
Not too much to ask, right? In fact, most of the SUVs these days have all of these features, it’s the right fit for my family that is going to matter most in my decision.
2015 GMC Acadia Denali
I really like the look of an SUV. I like how it sits higher up on the road and personally, it’s my favorite looking vehicle on the road. And the Acadia is a very-nice looking SUV.
But what’s the “Denali” in the name? Call me dumb, but I did not realize that GMC denotes different “levels” of vehicles with special names. The Denali is the highest model level with all the super fancy bells & whistles you could want. It also includes leather seats that heat & cool, upgraded navigation and rear seat entertainment, and a gorgeous white diamond tricoat finish.
The Acadia is a nice, gentle ride with great pick-up and highway speed. During my loan, I made sure to drive it in various capacities – grocery store run, carpooling, soccer games, and a long drive to the airport. Like you would expect, the Acadia worked great for solo, quick errands and carloads of kids.
As a traveler, I have always wanted as much room as possible to cram the car full on a long car ride. With all 3 rows completely up, the Acadia didn’t have great deal of space in the back. It was enough room for groceries or soccer gear, but not to put many suitcases (cargo room behind the 3rd row is 24.1 cu-ft). However, as my husband pointed out, how often do we travel where we need a ton of suitcases? True.
Qualification #1: Has to be an SUV or Crossover
Yes, the Acadia Denali is classified as a Sport-Utility Vehicle
Qualification #2: 3rd row with room for my long-legged teenagers
Yes, the Acadia Denali has a 3rd row. My teens fit comfortably, but they would not be able to stretch their legs out unless they were sitting in the middle of the row. The leg room in the 3rd row is 33.2″ and headroom is 38.4″. We all did like that the Denali has 2nd row captain’s chairs, so getting in and out was very easy.
Qualification #3: Navigation/Entertainment/Hands-Free Phone System
The Acadia Denali comes with a color-touch, navigation radio with Intellilink “Infotainment” System. Intellikink connects to your smartphone, allowing you hands-free calling. We found the system to be crystal-clear (I always asked the person I was calling how I sounded) Intellilink also uses voice control dialing, navigation, and even music selections. With only a week, I didn’t quite get the hang of it. And after 10 minutes of trying to “voice control” my mom one day, I gave up trying. Apparently, it thought her name was a number. Practice will be needed here.
Also, <don’t laugh at me>, I HATED the side buttons on the display all week. I would push and push them and they wouldn’t do anything. Finally, my husband and daughter showed me…..Mom, don’t press the silver things, press the buttons between them!!! DUH! Much better.
Now that I figured that out, I loved the ease of hands-free calling, the navigation worked beautifully at providing me with different routes to get where I needed to go, and there are many other features that I just didn’t take the time to explore (Pandora, bluetooth audio streaming, traffic & weather). Thumbs up on this qualification….now that I figured out the buttons……
Qualification #4: Safety Features
The more driving I do with my family (and their friends) in the car, I am more aware of the safety ratings and features a vehicle brings to the table. The Acadia Denali has an overall vehicle score of 5 stars (government 5-star safety ratings), with 5 stars for frontal and side crashes and 4 stars for rollovers. Good start. But what features does the car have that will allow me to be a safer driver?
- Standard rearview camera with rear-cross traffic alert – I found this very helpful when backing out of a busy parking lot.
- Standard side blind zone alert – Great for changing lanes.
- Standard forward collision alert – Lets you know when you are approaching a vehicle ahead of you too quickly.
- Standard lane departure warning – Alerts you when you are crossing into another lane. It can become a lot and you start to tune this on out, but it would be useful on long trips. You can turn this feature on and off.
- Heads-Up Display – Some may not look at this as a safety feature, but I became very dependent on not having to look down for my speed. I did not find it a distraction at all.
What did I like best on the Acadia Denali?
I enjoyed the comfort of the driver in the Acadia Denali – the seating, the heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel and the controls at my fingertips made for a comfortable drive. I like how roomy the interior felt, especially when the whole family was inside together. And I really liked the heads-up display I mentioned earlier.
My children liked having the captain’s chairs and the 3 USB ports, 2 AV plugs, etc. There – I told them I would mention the USB ports to charge iPads, iPhones, etc.
2015 Acadia Denali Details
Fuel Economy: 17 City / 24 Hwy / 19 Combined
Engine: 3.6L V-6
Warranty: 5 year/100,000 mile powertrain limited warranty
Price: $47, 690.00
Please keep in mind, these are my opinions of the Acadia Denali and how the car and features work for MY family. I recognize that every family is different and will have different needs, wants, & desires for a vehicle.
Disclosure: I was provided with the 2015 GMC Acadia Denali for a week to conduct this review. I was not compensated for this article. All opinions are my own.