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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was able to test drive an Enclave CX and an Acadia SLT-2 back to back today. Not entirely comparable, since the Acadia was much more loaded up and shod with the 19s. But good enough to note the differences between the two.

In short, the Buick is significantly quieter inside. Engine noise is much lower, and wind and road noise are also lower. The Acadia is far from loud, but the Buick is extremely quiet.

The Enclave also rides a bit more smoothly, even accounting for the 18s vs. 19s (I've driven an Outlook with the 18s before, and the Saturn and GMC share suspension tuning). The Acadia has just a slight edge in handling after accounting for the tire difference. The 19s have significantly more grip than the 18s.

For most people, I think the Enclave's suspension strikes a better balance. It handles about 90% as well, while having a more premium feel courtesy of the lower noise levels and more polished ride quality. It didn't help that there were numerous rubbing noises coming from the GMC's leather upholstery over rough patches. The Buick oddly had an advantage here in having the (not very attractive or luxurious) cloth upholstery.

In terms of exterior styling, I find myself preferring the Acadia. The Buick looks a bit pudgy in production trim, especially with the 18s. The styling requires the optional larger wheels. A case could be made for either, though, as they're both more attractive than just about every other large crossover on the market. Even better, GM achieved two totally different looks.

Inside, I also prefer the Acadia. As I've said before, the materials used in the Buick aren't as good as they need to be to deliver on the interior styling's upscale promise. The impression is much the same as with cheap furniture that strives to appear expensive through ornate detailing. Few are actually fooled, and the result actually looks cheaper than it would have without the extra bling.

The Acadia had the HUD. Love it. I've criticized the Grand Prix GTP/GXP for not having a tach in the HUD. Well, there is one in the Acadia, along with a gear readout.

I'm actually a fan of the thumb rocker gear selector. But the transmission is slow to respond. The number changes right away, the transmission itself not nearly as quickly.

I'll be posting full reviews of both over at Epinions.com within the next week. I'll add links when I do.
 

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mkaresh said:
I'm actually a fan of the thumb rocker gear selector. But the transmission is slow to respond. The number changes right away, the transmission itself not nearly as quickly.
Thanks for the insights and perspective. Unless I'm misinterpreting your comment, you should review the thread on the +/- tranny feature. After selecting L, the gear may not change immediately when you push +/- because the Acadia tranny is "tap range" not "tap gear." There's a big difference. Are you referring to "slow to respond" to shifting up or down with the +/- or when you go from D to L?
http://www.acadiaforum.net/forum/index.php?topic=484.0
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I mean the +/-. I understand the "tap range" vs. "tap gear" distinction, but don't see how this would affect downshifts, only upshifts. My understanding is that you're selecting the highest gear the transmission can select from. If I'm in 4th then tap it down to 2, it should get to 2nd as quickly as it can. Which isn't very quickly.
 

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mkaresh said:
I mean the +/-. I understand the "tap range" vs. "tap gear" distinction, but don't see how this would affect downshifts, only upshifts. My understanding is that you're selecting the highest gear the transmission can select from. If I'm in 4th then tap it down to 2, it should get to 2nd as quickly as it can. Which isn't very quickly.
The issue is that it doesn't allow you to do a multiple downshift if you tap the button down quickly. In your example, you might have been in 4th and tapped down to 2nd, but it does a 4-3 and once that is finished a 3-2. That's why it might seem like it's not very quick. If it did a 4-2 in that case, I don't think you'd complain about it being slow to respond. Drop it from D to L while you're driving on the highway and you'll get an immediate 6-4 downshift. I think you'll find that to be quite responsive. You can also tap it down to 1st, but you're not going to get that if your speed is too high. The number will revert back to the lowest range possible for your speed if you tap too low. I don't think it's a fair assessment to say the trans is slow to respond while operating it in the "L" mode. It's not meant to behave that way while you're in "L".
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't doubt that the transmission is behaving as GM meant it to. They do try to disuade notions that this is a full manual-shift feature. It's more akin to the old D-3-2-1 on a conventional shifter.

GM does know how to make a quick reacting automatic. The four-speed in the Grand Prix GXP is very quick. Problem is, with only four very widely spaced ratios to choose from, there's not much of a point.

The Mercedes 7-speed automatic is the only one I'm aware of that can skip gears when downshifting. Maybe the new Lexus 8-speed as well. Most have to go sequentially.

Today I experienced the delay even when starting out in 3 then tapping down to 2. Though I think you're right that it was more of an issue going from 4 to 2.
 
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