2017 GMC Acadia

2017 GMC Acadia

Episode 3606
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

One constant you can put up there with death and taxes, is people always want more. So, it’s usually the case for each new generation of vehicle to get bigger and bigger. Well, GM has proved before they’re not afraid to give people more from less, and that’s the story behind this new GMC Acadia, so let’s hear more about it.

Trivia question: what was the first modern 3-row crossover? If you said the 2007 Saturn Outlook, congratulate yourself. If you said the 07’ GMC Acadia; well, you’re half right as it did share its chassis with the Outlook. And if you’re saying “what is a Saturn?” Well, you’ll have to google it, as we must move on and start talking about this 2017 GMC Acadia.

Trim is in, and no one has been on more of a weight-loss kick than General Motors. Now sharing a chassis with the Cadillac XT5, its 700-lbs. lighter than the outgoing Acadia. That’s due to a shrunken exterior size, more high strength steel, and a smaller 193-horsepower 2.5-liter I4 engine that is now standard. But, even with the V6, it’s some 600-lbs. lighter. 

That 3.6-liter V6 is now optional and it’s also a new one, putting out both more horsepower at 310, and more torque at 271 lb-ft. Yet despite the bigger numbers, towing capacity falls from 5,200-lbs to 4,000, mostly due to the tidier dimensions.

With overall length cut 7–inches, and wheelbase shaved by over 6-inches, the new Acadia is far more garage-able. So, it’s now more midsize than full-size, looking very Dodge Durango-ish, and directly competitive with the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander.

Trimmer also helps the exterior appearance, now more modern and stylish; and, thankfully, far from a mini-me Yukon. Signature LEDs are standard on all models. 

Denali trim still features an overdose of chrome, and a big grille for fully flaunting it. 

Both engines come with a 6–speed automatic transmission, with a choice of front or all-wheel-drive.

Our V6 all-wheel-drive tester showed a noticeable lack of torque down low; but once you reach 4,000 on the dial, a surprising surge of power gets delivered rather abruptly. We hit 60 in 6.8-seconds; pretty quick for a 3-row family ute, and over a second quicker than before. We finished out the ¼ in 15.4-seconds at 92 miles-per-hour. 

Shifting of the automatic transmission was very slow, with a noticeable lack of momentum each time a new gear was selected. With a short 119-foot stopping average from 60, and only minimal fade; the brakes were very confidence inspiring. 

And if you zone out and need the Acadia to apply the brakes for you, it can do that as well, abruptly and consistently; provided you opt to add the Technology Package. 

The optional all-wheel-drive system operates as front only if you chose, or leave it in auto. You can also select Sport, Off Road, and Trailer Tow modes.  

Of course, the smaller size has taken a toll on interior space. But, you won’t really notice it much in first or second row seating. The 2nd row split bench, or Captain’s chairs, all slide fore and aft, as well as fold easily.

The third row is actually easier to get to, but noticeably tighter when you do. And, seatbelts are down from three to two. So, Acadia’s max body count drops from 8 to 7.

Maximum cargo capacity falls most of all, from 116.1 cubic-ft. to 79.0. Still all these aspects are competitive with Pilot and Highlander. 

As for how it drives, well lighter is always righter; so it certainly feels more agile. But we’d avoid the I4 unless you’re a lone wolf.

V6 Government Fuel Economy Ratings with all-wheel drive are respectable, at 18-City, 25-Highway, and 20-Combined. We averaged a good 22.1 miles-per-gallon of Regular. For a reasonable Energy Impact Score of 16.5-barrels of oil burned yearly, while emitting 7.2-tons of CO2. 

Base pricing is $1,905 lower than before, starting at $29,995. But again, that’s for the I4 and you’re going to want the V6 that will cost you at least $37,090. AWD adds 2-grand more; Acadia Denali starts at $45,845. 

The 2017 GMC Acadia is clearly better in every aspect including size. While nothing about the Acadia blew us away with excitement, there’s a lot to like about it.

Yes, the smaller size means Acadia has given up its niche of being a true full-size truckin’ SUV alternative. And, only time will tell if the “going along to get along” strategy will work. But, for now, we think the Acadia will deliver more, from less, for more of you. 


  • Engine: 3.6 liter
  • Horsepower: 310
  • Torque: 271 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 6.8 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 15.4 seconds @ 92 mph
  • EPA: 18 mpg city / 25 mpg highway
  • Energy Impact: 16.5 barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 7.2 tons/yr
2023 Mazda3

2023 Mazda3

Still The Same Mazda3, Just A Bit Better

Episode 4304
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

When the fourth-gen Mazda3 arrived for 2019, it grew a little more stylish, a lot more upscale; and loads more practical too, adding all-wheel drive into the mix for the first time. How does it get better than that? Well, for ’23 the 3 adds an engine update that promises to deliver more power and better efficiency. Time to speak truth to this power.

The Mazda3 has always been a great compact car, big on both fun and value, and has earned numerous MotorWeek Drivers’ Choice Awards over the years. This current-gen has been on the road for 4-years now, and it gets even better for 2023.

Starting with the powertrain, the base 2.0-liter I4 has been eliminated leaving just 2 versions of the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, turbo and non-turbo. Base versions get a 5-horsepower bump to 191-horsepower, along with updates for its cylinder deactivation system. The 2.5 Turbo fits standard all-wheel drive and outputs the same 250-horsepower and 320 lb-ft. of torque as last year; provided you use Premium gas. Max ratings drop to 227-horsepower and 310 lb-ft. with Regular.

2023 Mazda3 6
2023 Mazda3 2
2023 Mazda3 5
2023 Mazda3 3
2023 Mazda3 4
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A 6-speed manual transmission remains available in front-wheel drive 3s, but AWDs come exclusively with a sport-tuned 6-speed automatic. We found it well-sorted and seemingly always on the same page as us whether we were shuffling through back roads or sitting in traffic. There is a softer overall feel compared to Mazda3s of old, which you’ll appreciate when encountering harsh pavement, but it still feels plenty agile when called upon.

That softer feel certainly carries over inside, where it has gotten much quieter, and quite nicely finished, consistent with Mazda’s Audi-like premium intentions. All 3s get an 8.8-inch center display, and all of the fingerprints on our test car’s screen signifies most people assume it’s a touchscreen. It’s not, however, as inputs are made with a rotary controller on the console. It’s not the most intuitive system, but once you’re past the learning curve, it’s tolerable.

The rear seat room doesn’t have the roomy feel of the Subaru Impreza, but space is certainly more than adequate compared to the rest of the compact set. Rear cargo space for this hatchback rates a good 20.1 cubic-ft. with trunk space in the sedan coming in at 13.2 cubic-ft. So yes, the Mazda3 remains available in both sedan and hatchback, but we still prefer the 5-door hatch both for its practicality and for its sporty looks. Top Turbo Premium Plus gets gloss black aero treatments including a roof spoiler and front air dam.

At the test track, power from the 2.5-turbo felt more than adequate off the line, using all-wheel-drive grip to bite into the pavement and get up and go to 60 in 6.0-seconds flat. There was virtually no turbo lag, and the engine felt nicely refined with its power delivery. Transmission operation was equally as smooth and kept the power flowing quite effectively throughout the ¼-mile, which ended in 14.5-seconds at 95 miles-per-hour. We really appreciate a well-tuned 6-speed in this world of overactive 8 and 10 speed automatics.

2023 Mazda3 1

While there was definitely some understeer to manage in our handling course, the 3 turned in quickly and provided real, sporting feedback through our cone course. I-Activ AWD features G-Vectoring Control Plus, which uses both engine torque vectoring as well as selective braking to minimize body roll, and preserve the lively feel we’ve come to expect from Mazda. In panic braking runs, the pedal was soft, but that kept ABS pulsing to a minimum; and the results were great, as we averaged a very short 106-feet from 60, with minimal nose dive and stable, straight stops.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for an all-wheel drive Turbo are 23-City, 31-Highway, and 26-Combined; we averaged a good 28.4 miles-per-gallon of Regular.

Obviously by eliminating the previous base engine, prices have taken a jump for ’23, but so has everything else. Still they remain more than reasonable. The base S now starts at $26,855, with the top Turbo Premium Plus at $37,815, with many options in between. And sedan prices are even more sensible, starting at $23,715.

Like most brands, Mazda seems to be going all-in on SUVs; as the 3 is the last family sedan and hatchback in their lineup. And it would be a real shame if that were to change. As the 2023 Mazda3, the hatchback in particular, is just about the perfect car, offering utility vehicles levels of practicality along with better than average luxury, plus handling performance that few crossovers can match. So, long live the Mazda3!


As Tested

  • Engine: 2.5-liter Turbo-4
  • Horsepower: 227 | 250
  • 0-60 mph: 6.0 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 106 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 28.4 MPG (Regular)
  • Transmission: 6-speed auto
  • Torque: 310 lb-ft. | 320 lb-ft
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.5-seconds at 95 mph
  • EPA: 23-City / 31-Highway / 26-Combined