A man in a suit is shown opening the door of a black 2023 GMC Acadia Denali at a GMC dealer.

What Makes the Denali Stand Out From the Other Acadia Trims?

You have a big family, you need a lot of space, and you don’t want to miss out on any of the finer luxury features out there. That’s why you need to consider the 2023 GMC Acadia Denali. The Denali name serves as the top trim for many of GMC’s vehicles and signifies that the SUV you are looking at is going to go above and beyond when it comes to included features and materials. Your family vehicle doesn’t need to be boring or uncomfortable when you opt for this trim.

Visit your local GMC dealer, get behind the wheel, and see for yourself how this model stands out from the rest of the pack. Does the GMC Acadia deserve the recognition it gets? Yes. Does the Denali trim? Also, yes––but why is that? What makes the Denali such an appealing offer? Well, that’s what we are going to look at today. Let’s take a deeper dive into the Denali and see why this trim is coveted by many drivers.

More of What You Want Is Standard

When you spend more money for the highest-tier trim of any vehicle, you are going to want to know that it is worth the price you paid. The GMC Acadia is a vehicle built to please the masses, and for those who have the opportunity to purchase the highest-tier Denali trim, well, they’re in for a treat. There are several ways the Denali deviates from its three siblings that make up the total four trims for the Acadia, and we’re not talking about the size of the interior or length of the vehicle or anything of that sort. Albeit, the Denali comes with an exclusive grille design only found on that trim. What we are talking about are the features that either come standard with the Denali and don’t require any additional packages or the features that are available for the Denali but aren’t available on every other trim.

Some of the features that come to mind include what you’ll find inside the cabin. Comfortable, modern, and luxurious are three words we would use to describe what sitting inside the Acadia Denali is like. For example, the Denali comes standard with an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s chair, and while not the only of the four trims to do so, it is the only of the bunch to have a standard eight-way power-adjustable passenger’s seat. The Acadia Denali’s seats are made of perforated leather, and the Denali is one of the three trims that come standard with a leather-wrapped steering wheel. However, the Denali is the only trim to come standard with a heated steering wheel to match the heated seats––the former being a feature available to the SLT and AT4 but not an option for the base-level SLE trim.

Inside the Acadia Denali is also a variety of technology, some of which is available on other trims, but not at all. An example is the Head-Up Display (HUD). The HUD projects elements like your speedometer onto the windshield ahead of you without obscuring your viewpoints. The Head-Up Display is a feature that feels straight out of science fiction. It’s an incredible, neat, and generally fascinating thing to have in your vehicle, and it is useful because it allows you to keep your eyes on the road ahead while still getting all of the necessary driving information. The HUD comes standard on the Denali and is one of those features available to the SLT and AT4, but nowhere to be found for the SLE.

Another feature that shares a similar setup is a wireless charging pad for your cell phone, which, again, only comes standard on the Denali. This convenience feature is only available for the other trims, which means you will likely be dealing with cords for charging. The Denali is worth the extra money because it has all the features you could possibly want, so what we’re saying is that you’ll be getting the full feature-packed package when you choose this top trim.

What about the standard features found outside of the cabin? The exterior shares some similar upgrades that you won’t find standard on other trims, including the aforementioned Denali-specific grille design. The first of these features we want to mention to you is the heated power mirrors that come standard. Yes, heated power mirrors come standard on every other trim, but the Denali’s standard mirrors have auto-dimming, so if a bright LED headlight is shining on it, for example, it’ll activate a feature to dim its brightness like a screen to help lessen the obstruction of your view. Also, the Denali is the only trim to come with 20-inch wheels, instead of the 17 or 18-inch wheels found on the other three trims.

The interior of a 2023 GMC Acadia Denali is shown with Light Shale perforated leather seats.

The Better Half of Performance

Like many vehicles out there––SUV or not––the Acadia is available with more than one powertrain for those who wish to expand upon what the base engine offers drivers. There’s a distinct difference between the Acadia’s two powertrains, but here lies another difference between the Denali and the other Acadia trims out there: the Acadia is standard with the 3.6L V6 engine, but it can be swapped out for the turbocharged 2.0L I-4 engine if you so wish. The only other trim to come with the V6 standard is the AT4, but that doesn’t allow for it to be replaced. The SLT comes standard with the turbocharged 2.0L I-4, and the V6 engine is optional, essentially the exact opposite of the Denali. Lastly, the base model Acadia, the SLE, comes with the turbocharged 2.0L I-4 engine, and the V6 is simply not an option.

With both options at your disposal, what kind of performance does this mean you’ll get with an Acadia Denali? The 2023 Acadia takes after its immediate predecessor, which removed an engine from the lineup, thus reducing the powertrain selection down to two lucky candidates. As we said, the standard engine in the 2023 Acadia Denali is the 3.6L V6 engine, which pairs to a nine-speed automatic transmission and outputs 310 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque. Having the standard 3.6L V6 engine means your Acadia will be ready for towing, which the Denali supports the Acadia’s maximum towing capacity of 4,000 lbs when properly equipped. Front-wheel drive is standard, which means you will see fuel economy ratings of 19 MPG in the city and 27 MPG on the highway, but even if you opt for the all-wheel drive, you will only see a one MPG drop in highway economy.

The best part about the Denali and having the ability to swap the 3.6L V6 engine out for the turbocharged 2.0L I-4 engine is that if you are the type of person who needs the best fuel economy you can get but doesn’t want to sacrifice any features to have it, then you can still get the top trim. The turbocharged 2.0L I-4 engine also comes linked with the nine-speed automatic transmission. It’ll give your Acadia Denali 228 hp, 258 lb-ft of torque, and a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 lbs. As for those better fuel efficiency ratings, the turbocharged I-4 engine earns EPA-estimated ratings of 22 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway with front-wheel drive. Opt for the all-wheel drivetrain, and the Denali still gets impressive ratings of 22 MPG in the city and 27 MPG on the highway.

A black 2023 GMC Acadia Denali is shown driving down a city street away from a GMC dealer.

Get Everything With the Denali Trim

If you want space, luxury, power, and everything else the 2023 GMC Acadia has to offer, you need to get the Denali trim. While the Denali is more expensive than the other options, it more than makes up for its price tag with its feature set. The Acadia Denali is going to make many drivers out there quite pleased with their purchase thanks to everything it does that its lower-priced brethren can’t, and we have a feeling you’d make that list of happy customers if you find yourself behind the wheel of this top-level GMC.