Ah, how times have changed. It used to be that the only vehicles that received the Denali treatment were body-on-frame. However, the 2011 Acadia Denali will be the first crossover given the luxury interior and unique styling cues the Denali line is known for. And in model lines where more than one engine is available, the top-line Denali gets the most power (see Yukon and Sierra). Technically, that's the same case here, as there's only one engine available in the Acadia, but the unveiling of the Acadia Denali would've been a nice opportunity to introduce an engine option. Even with the standard engine, though, the 3.6-liter direct-injection V-6 puts out 288 horsepower and is backed by a six-speed automatic; compare that to the 225 horsepower from the first Denali's 5.7-liter V-8 (in 1999) with a four-speed automatic. The Acadia also weighs about 1000 pounds less with a wheelbase that's more than an inch longer. More power, better fuel economy (24 mpg on the highway), three-row seating, and it weighs less han the first Yukon Denali. As we said, times have changed.

The Denali is as close as GMC gets to Cadillac, and typically achieves similar levels of luxury at a lower price. Like the rest of the Denali line, the Acadia has a chrome honeycomb grille and Denali badges, and body-colored lower cladding, rocker moldings, and fender flares, with a choice of five exterior colors. It has unique front and rear fascias, HID headlights, six-spoke, 20-in. wheels, and dual chrome exhaust tips. The Denali version of the Acadia looks good, adding enough chrome to differentiate it from the rest of the Acadia line without looking ridiculous. It comes with seven- or eight-passenger seating and front or all-wheel drive.

The interior has perforated leather seats with matching leather on the doors, heated and cooled seats, woodgrain on the I.P. and center stack, and a leather/mahogany wood steering wheel. Luxury items include laminated glass, triple door seats, and additional sound deadening, tri-zone climate control, nav with NavTraffic (optional), Bluteooth, 10-speaker Bose sound system, XM, rearview camera, dual SkyScape sunroof, HUD, and remote start. It goes on sale in the third quarter of 2010, and while pricing hasn't been announced, it wouldn't be surprising if the new top-of-the-line Denali had an MSRP above $50K. Will people be ready to pay that much for an Acadia? Those who want an American luxury crossover with three rows of seats might.

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