Maximize performance in the 2023 GMC Acadia

Midsize SUVs are often more capable than drivers realize. These vehicles often fall into the pattern of being used for daily commutes without being given the opportunity to exercise all that they have to offer. The 2023 GMC Acadia is a mid-sized SUV that is well suited for young families. It also has the ability to provide more adventurous excursions; however, the driver must understand how to use the tools provided by the vehicle to maximize its performance. As car enthusiasts know all too well, you don’t reach your vehicle’s maximum capability just by pressing down on the gas pedal a little longer; it’s about knowing when and how to use the right features to optimize your vehicle for the current circumstances. The 2023 Acadia provides great utility for all kinds of circumstances, so let’s take a look at the new Acadia’s performance.

A wide range of performance

The engine is the heart of the vehicle. As such, all vehicle performance is rooted in technology. The 2023 Acadia has two engine options: 2.0-liter Turbo I-4 engine (standard on SLT and SLE trims) and 3.6-liter V6 engine (standard on Denali and AT4 trims). The big advantage of the Turbomotor is, of course, the twin-scroll turbocharger. This will give you good propulsion for a fun ride. But since the AT4 is the trim known for its performance and off-road ability, you might have connected the dots that the V6 engine is the one with the better performance specs. While the first hint probably wasn’t that it’s used on the AT4 trim but simply that it’s a V6 engine, the six-cylinder design certainly adds performance.

The V6 engine is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission, producing up to 310 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque; good numbers for a mid-size SUV. Part of the vehicle buying game is deciding what is most important; sometimes drivers want the highest and best performance specifications, but their family situation requires that the vehicle purchased is one that doesn’t quite reach that level. However, the truth is that most drivers looking at vehicles in the Acadia class probably won’t be maxing out their performance specs, even if they were higher; Even on a vehicle that offers 400 hp or more, these numbers are unlikely to be utilized with tremendous frequency. So knowing how to get the most out of the performance specifications in the vehicle that your situation calls for can help you get the driving experience you desire without even knowing the difference sometimes.

Understand FWD, AWD and Traction Select Systems

One of the most important things for drivers to understand when trying to maximize performance is that different terrains require different types of driving. Off-road driving is not the same as on-road driving, and driving in a blizzard is not the same as driving on desert sand. People often talk about four-wheel drive (AWD) as if it is objectively better than front-wheel drive (FWD). While there is truth to this, it is not as objective as it may sometimes seem based on word of mouth alone.

Certainly, if you plan to go off-road with your vehicle, there is no doubt that AWD is objectively much better and necessary compared to FWD. But if you don’t go off-road at all, and the vehicle will be used primarily for highway driving, there can be a solid argument for FWD or AWD. Acadia offers both, but that doesn’t automatically mean your vehicle is ready for any terrain. If your car is completely monotonous in its drivability, you will never be able to truly maximize performance because your car cannot adapt to what your driving situation demands. However, the Acadia is ready to go with its Traction Select System.

The Traction Select System appears as nothing more than a small dial on the vehicle’s center console, but a twist of that dial radically changes the driving experience. This steering wheel allows the driver to select different driving modes, adjusting the vehicle’s performance to suit the road conditions. Front-wheel drive models offer four modes: Normal, Snow, Sport and Trailer/Tow, while all-wheel drive models offer three modes: Sport, Off-Road and Trailer/Tow.

The good news is that no matter what model you have, you will be able to have optimized towing. If you tracked the differences, you might have noticed that the big difference is that FWD offers snow while AWD offers off-road. While this is a difference, there are certainly similarities between driving in snow and off-road driving, so having the off-road mode will likely help in snow as well. It ultimately depends on the type of adventure you seek, but if you want to optimize the performance of your Acadia, the best way to go is an AWD model; this will broaden your horizons and give you the leverage you need if you want to hit the trails or otherwise take your ride to the next level.

Take advantage of Hill Start Assist and Descent Control’s extra stability

You may have heard of these features as they are becoming more common on larger vehicles. With cutting-edge braking technology, Hill Start Assist holds the brakes during the transition from brake pedal to accelerator pedal, while Hill Descent Control uses anti-lock brakes to ensure smooth descents. These are of course always helpful, but they really come in handy when towing. Going uphill and downhill are each challenging in their own way when you have a trailer attached to your vehicle, but these techniques really help reduce the challenge.

Both of these braking functions are also useful when driving off-road. You might not need it for a basic suburban climb, but when you’re hitting the dusty trails and there are obstacles to clear while going uphill or downhill, these techniques help make the ascent and descent easier. That’s why these features are standard on the AT4 trim!

A person is shown sitting in the back of a 2023 GMC Acadia with the trunk open.

Enjoy a smoother ride with adaptive cruise control

This technology is reserved for the Denali trim, and turns the Acadia into a luxury SUV. Now performance and luxurious design are mixed in a very important way: agility. You can have all the luxury features you want, but if the ride itself isn’t smooth, the luxury features won’t feel as smooth either. That’s where Adaptive Ride Control comes into play.

This innovative performance technology adjusts the shock absorber’s damping forces every two milliseconds. I will remind you here that a millisecond is a thousandth of a second. It’s ridiculously frequent adaptation, and it’s the best kind of ridiculousness there is. With these frequent damping adjustments, the smoothness of the ride and the refinement of the design will work together to draw the driver into a truly enjoyable driving experience. Adaptive Cruise Control is included in the Denali Ultimate Package and AWD models. If you start to add up the advantages of the AWD models, you can become more and more convinced that it is the way to go. Just saying.

It’s about maximizing optimization

The Acadia, unsurprisingly, can perform very well in a variety of circumstances. We say “not surprisingly” because GMC is known for performance; that’s their thing. GMC vehicles, in this case the Acadia, are unique because they have their four main features, which are found throughout the lineup: SLE, SLT, Denali, and AT4. Some functions are specially reserved for one of these trims, which means you can have two completely different driving experiences in the same vehicle. Performance is not a uniform component of driving; different drivers have different performance desires, and the different Acadia trims suit different types of drivers. But one thing’s for sure: no matter what trim you have, you’ll be able to maximize your performance by using the vehicle’s built-in tools in the right place and at the right time.

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