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Dispatches from Denali: My Favorite GMC Acadia Denali Tech Features

Sections: Chassis, Infotainment

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The backup camera display of the 2013 GMC Acadia Denali

The backup camera display on our 2013 GMC Acadia Denali tester includes a cool proximity graph that will arc to show you where you’ll end up with the steering wheel turned to a given angle. Watch out, Yaris! (Lyndon Johnson photo)

Some things about our 2013 GMC Acadia Denali just haven’t fit in my previous pieces on the seven-passenger crossover, but are cool enough I wanted to reserve this space to talk about them, anyway:

The backup camera is one of my favorite tech features. Though the screen’s position isn’t as easy to view when scanning between external mirrors while backing, it has this cool distance meter that arcs when you turn the wheel, showing you where that wheel angle will put the back bumper of the vehicle and making it easier to navigate the big SUV into tight spaces. I was able to fit into spaces my wife deemed “impossible” more than once throughout the week using this feature.

The tailgating-friendly audio controls in the 2013 GMC Acadia Denali

These buttons offer tailgate party hosts the ability to fully control the audio interface from the cargo area of the 2013 GMC Acadia Denali. (Lyndon Johnson photo)

The tailgating-friendly audio controls were confusing at first glance– I mean, I thought they were supposed to be for third-row passengers to listen to their own music or whatever. But after it clicked with me and I realized what it was, this seems like a really good idea. Mounted just inside the liftgate to the right in the cargo area is a plate featuring the full complement of audio controls, including a mute button and a source selection button. Very handy if you’re ever tailgating before a big game or, as we do here in Tennessee lake country, partying at the lake with a few friends.

The head-up display (HUD) of the 2013 GMC Acadia Denali

The head-up display (HUD) is only visible to the driver of the 2013 GMC Acadia Denali, and can show a wealth of information including speed, engine RPM, gear selected, what track is playing on XM or your media device, and navigation directions. (Lyndon Johnson photo)

The head-up display (HUD) is probably my favorite everyday use item in the 2013 GMC Acadia Denali. It can display information in three different modes (I preferred one that showed both my speed and a digital tachometer) and will relay information about the media currently playing on the IntelliLink head unit and your next turn whenever you have a destination keyed into the navigation system. A bonus for my wife, who found the IntelliLink screen a bit too bright for her liking after sundown, was that the HUD allowed me to dim the panel lighting to almost nothing while still being able to see a vivid display of my speed and navigation info seemingly floating out in front of me on the road. Had my wife been testing this car, she said she would have found the HUD a distraction. Good news for her: It can be turned off. But I liked it far too much to turn it off at all.

Finally, keyless remote ignition was a cool feature I learned how to use during my week with the Acadia Denali. Though the vehicle does not have push-button ignition, as so many cars today do, the remote key fob does have a start button on it. To help avoid unintentional start-ups, the fob requires you to first hit the lock button, then hold the remote start button for at least two seconds before the Acadia will fire up. If some salacious individual should be lying in wait for you to press the unlock button, thinking he’ll steal your car, he’s in for a surprise: The Acadia’s dashboard is blacked out and its shifter is locked in the “Park” position until the key is inserted into the ignition and turned to “ON.” The feature has come in handy helping me defrost the Acadia’s windshield without having to go out into my driveway a couple of times this week, and it’s a cool party trick to show your friends.

Disclosure: General Motors provided the vehicle, insurance, and a tank of gas.

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