Road Tripping with the GMC Acadia Denali

If there is one stretch of highway that I know really, really well, it is the 401 corridor between Toronto and the 416 to Ottawa. I have lost count of how many times I have had to do the long 5 hour drive to the GTA. I know practically every exit, service station and bend that the highway has to offer. There are some months, where I even have to do the drive a number of times (usually during track season). Sometimes the drive can be long and boring. When we had Max, the drive became even longer. We could no longer go the whole trip without stopping. When Max was a baby, we had to stop several times for him to feed, especially on days we got stuck in traffic. Now, we are back to stopping once, maybe twice and being able to drive for longer periods. But since Max is older, he can communicate when he is “done with car”, like on our way to New York City, he wanted out at Syracuse (the halfway point).

GMC Canada recently contacted me to ask if I wanted to try out one of their vehicles on my next road trip. When I entered the Nike Toronto 15K, I emailed them back saying that I was for sure going to Toronto on that weekend. They selected the GMC Acadia Denali for us to try.


This SUV came fully loaded with every feature you could think of. Cruise Control, an entertainment system (including a DVD player), seat warmers and coolers, GPS, OnStar, and a wide range of safety features. Currently we drive three cars in our household: my 2010 Ford Fusion, the 1999 Jeep Cherokee, and a 1998 Buick (commuter car). P drive over 100KM a day back and forth to work, so he drives older cars until they die.The jeep is, well – the jeep. No Cruise control, it is very loud and you can bet that the gas mileage isn’t great. My Fusion is my daily vehicle and has A/C, cruise control, and other basic features, but it isn’t anything super special. So, when we sat in the Acadia Denali, it was like sitting in a spaceship. So many buttons and features!


I drove the SUV around for the week to test out daily driving. At first it took me awhile to get used to driving a bigger car. The Denali handled really well and most surprising to me: the gas mileage was great. I figured it would be like the jeep and use up a ton of gas. The SUV came with just over 3/4 of a tank of gas and I managed to drive all around town Monday-Friday and all the way past Brockville before having to fill it up. I also enjoyed hooking up my iPhone to the Bluetooth system. The entertainment system even showed music album covers on the screen. Another important feature for the daily drive is the traffic alerts on the Navigation system. I was driving on the 174 towards my house when a little message came up saying the 174/417 was backed up. It even gave suggestions on how to avoid traffic.


Then on Friday, it was time to test out the road trip handling. We managed to get all of our gear in the trunk and had plenty of space for everything. Max had not had the DVD experience yet, so I popped in a DVD and he was set. Other than him laughing and pretending to be Dory calling a whale, I did not hear a peep from him. There are headphones and a remote control in the car so that people in the back seats can enjoy a movie, while the driver/front passenger can listen to their own music. We love SiriusXM radio and listened to the 1990’s channel and Lithium the entire ride.



In terms of driving, the SUV handled well and had lots of safety features to keep us safe on the road. The Acadia Denali has a bunch of safety features including:

– An alert to tell you when you are leaving your lane

– Side Blind spot indicators on the mirrors – always running, but you really only notice it if you are looking at the mirror

– Collision notifications – came up once when someone cut off P

– Sensors that detect objects around you

– OnStar and Traction Control

P was really impressed with the safety features. They do really work. The vehicle also has a rear camera that assists you when you are in reverse. It gives you an indication of how close you are to objects and warns you of objects approaching your vehicle. As I was leaving the daycare yesterday, it beeped to warn me of a kid on a bike.

Another feature on the Acadia Denali that I really wish I had were the seat warmers and coolers. I used the coolers throughout the week and the warmer when I was picked up after my race. Nothing makes you warm up better after being in the rain than a seat warmer. Also – if you have a seat cooling system in your car and get road trip numb bum, having the cooling on helps with that. I also really liked the dual control heat/cooling system as sometimes I want warmer air and P wants cooler air.


On the Saturday, we took a little drive to Vaughan Mills with my parents and it was great to have a bigger car. Normally we get squished in either of our Fusions (yes, I have the same car as my parents…) and if my brother is with us – we have to take two cars. The seven seats in the Denali meant no one was squished. I even got to stretch out in the back:


The Acadia Denali was a great vehicle for a road trip. Not only do the safety features keep you safe on the road but everyone can be entertained and comfy. Max really liked the SUV (he was showing it off to everyone) and actually gave it a hug and said “bye bye nice car” when we took it back last night:




Was there anything I didn’t like? Two things: installing the car seat and the touch controls near the touch screen. The car seat wasn’t a big thing, but it was just a pain to install because the hook up is right next to the seat belt. Took a big of wiggling to get it attached properly. I’m also curious to know whether a car seat damages the nice, leather seats? I ended up putting a cloth on the seat because I was worried the weight of Max/the seat would damage it.

The other thing that again, isn’t a big problem was the buttons around the touch screen. When I wanted to change the radio station/source/navigation screen and was the passenger, I kept hitting the four-way blinker buttons and not realizing it. P would be “why are those on?!?” and then would realize I was fiddling with the touch system again. Not a big issue, just something a tad bit annoying.

Other than that – the Acadia Denali was a great vehicle to transport a family on a road trip. Thank you GMC Canada for allowing us use of the vehicle for the week!

Have a great Tuesday!

Disclosure: I was given the use of a 2015 Acadia Denali for the week by GMC Canada. I was not compensated for this review and I paid for all travel expenses including gas. All opinions are my own. 

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  1. Jen @ Pretty Little Grub

    What a fun experience test driving a car for a week. That’s such a beautiful vehicle! But I could imagine it would take a while getting used to driving it due to its size.
    Jen @ Pretty Little Grub recently posted…The Science Behind Marathon FuellingMy Profile

  2. Lisa @ Lulus Big Adventure

    So cool! My car is suuuper basic — no A/C, no cruise control, no USB port — so whenever I get to drive a nice, newer car, it’s amazing haha.
    Lisa @ Lulus Big Adventure recently posted…Highlights from ChileMy Profile

    1. ~Rebecca~ (Post author)

      When I got the AV plug in the fusion (vs those FM transmitter things) I was SO happy.

      I’ve had a car with no AC – torture in Ontario!


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