2017 GMC Acadia
The 2017 GMC Acadia: Smaller, but more muscular. GMC

The 2017 GMC Acadia has done something a lot of people could use after a long holiday season: It has shed excessive weight while gaining muscle strength. On Tuesday, General Motors pulled back the curtain on the second generation of its third-most-popular GMC, which has moved from a full-size sport utility vehicle to the narrower and shorter SUV category. Meanwhile, it retains the optional 3.6-liter V-6 engine offered in the current version that’s 700 pounds heavier.

The next Acadia's drop in size and weight means improved fuel economy and improved driving dynamics, according to GM. The car will join the 2017 Cadillac XT5 SUV in adopting GM’s improved C1XX platform that will underpin future GM SUVs.

“The new Acadia takes advantage of modern engineering and the trend toward lighter weight combined with better fuel economy,” Karl Brauer, senior automotive analyst at Kelley Blue Book, said in an email. “These improvements will help it remain competitive in a crowded segment.”

2017 GMC Acadia interior
The 2017 GMC Acadia comes with the requisite touchscreen-anchored center console. GMC

The upcoming GMC Acadia fills an important niche for GM, providing a smaller GMC option for buyers shying away from the gargantuan GMC Yukon. Like its new Buick counterpart, the Chinese-made Envision, the Acadia slots nicely into a size-and-weight category that GM dealers have been calling for.

Time will tell if consumers shift to the smaller Acadia after the current one just rolled out of its best year of annual sales since its first model year, in 2007. GM is betting a smaller, more nimble version loaded with new in-car tech will be welcomed.

The base engine will be 2.5 liters and four cylinders, giving up 194 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque. The upgrade to V-6 gives the Acadia 310 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque. Both come with six-speed automatic and a choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive.

Like almost every other upcoming model, the SUV is loaded with the tech trimmings that are fast becoming standard. (Automakers don’t mind; the more tech and electronic goodies, the higher the price tag and profit margin.) The upcoming Acadia will have onboard Wi-Fi, rear-facing camera and forward collision avoidance. Its price is not yet known, but the current GMC Acadia starts at about $31,000. The new one will come out this spring.