GMC Acadia gets industry-first airbag

Image: GM front center airbag.jpg

A deployed front center airbag helps provide protection in far-side impact crashes where the affected front seat occupant is on the opposite (nonstruck) side of the vehicle. The GM-provided image shows the airbag after deployment in a Lambda platform vehicle (retrofitted with the 2013 seat) that was crash-tested.

The 2013 GMC Acadia midsize crossover SUV will offer seven energy-absorbing cushions, including the auto industry's first application of a front center airbag.

Stowed within the right side of the driver's seat, the deployed tubular airbag will position itself between the front row seats.

"No other airbag in passenger vehicles today offers the type of restraint and cushioning this airbag is designed to provide for front occupants," noted Scott Thomas, Senior Staff Engineer for General Motors' advanced restraint systems. He added that the airbag is not mandated by federal regulation.

GM and supplier Takata developed the airbag during a three-year program.

During passenger-side crashes when the driver is the lone front-seat occupant, the airbag functions as an energy-absorbing restraint. It also provides an energy-absorbing cushion between the driver and front passenger in driver- and passenger-side vehicle collisions.

The new Acadia, which had its world debut on Feb. 8 during a press preview at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show, offers six airbags (two frontal, two side-impact, and two side-curtain) in addition to the front center airbag.

Beyond the safety enhancement, the 2013 Acadia's three-row interior features upgraded soft-touch materials and accent stitching as well as redesigned infotainment functions. Acadia SLT models will receive aluminum accents on the center console, doors, and dashboard.

An altered exterior design showcases diffused LED running lamps to complement either the standard projector beam or the optional HID headlamps. Other exterior changes for the vehicle include wraparound rear glass, a new rear spoiler, and new 18-in and 19-in wheel patterns.

A 3.6-L direct-injection V6 providing 288 hp (215 kW) at 6300 rpm and 270 lb·ft (266 N·m) at 3400 rpm is the carryover power source for the 2013 model. The engine mates to the Hydra-Matic 6T70 6-speed automatic transmission.

The Acadia, manufactured in Lansing, MI, comes with standard front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive.

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