With 99,429 units sold in 2019 and 72,537 units in 2020, GMC Acadia’s sales have definitely seen better days. Even so, Acadia was still in the top thirteen of the most sold mid-size SUV in the U.S. in 2020.
Since the first generation was launched in 2007, the GMC Acadia has been an upmarket family SUV. The second-generation arrived 10 years later, and in 2020, the model had a major facelift, GMC revealing a brand new front fascia and rear end and a new power unit option.
This year, however, the modifications are minor. Notably, GMC introduced some packaging changes, the addition of wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and some new exciting exterior colors to choose from—Midnight Blue metallic, Hunter metallic, and Cayenne Red Tintcoat.
GMC is offering three engines for the 2021 Acadia.
The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder naturally-aspirated engine produces 193 hp at 6300 rpm and 188 lb-ft of torque at 4400 rpm. The acceleration is decent for its size, with a 0-60 mph time in 8.5 seconds. This engine features Variable Valve Timing, Spark Ignition Direct Injection, and Stop/Start technology. GMC claims 21 MPG/city and 27 MPG/highway. Its fuel tank capacity reaches 19-gallon, which should be good for a range of 437 miles.
There is also a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged unit producing 228 hp at 5000 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque at 1500-4000 rpm. GMC introduced this new engine with the facelift, and at 22 MPG/city and 29 MPG/highway, it’s the most fuel-efficient option in the lineup. Indeed, with the same 19-gallon fuel tank, this powerplant can run for up to 475 miles.
Lastly, the most powerful engine is the 3.6-liter V6 naturally-aspirated unit producing 310 hp at 6600 rpm and 271 lb-ft of torque at 5000 rpm. The engine catapults the car from 0-60 mph in 6.1 seconds and has a top speed of 131 mph. Moreover, it features the same engine management technology as the 2.0- and 2.5-liter unit with the addition of Active Fuel Management™ and a variable displacement oil pump, delivering satisfactory performance without sacrificing gas mileage.
Naturally, the V6 has the worst fuel economy at 19 MPG/city and 26 MPG/highway. However, GMC redeemed itself by fitting a larger 22-gallon fuel tank, which should be fine for a range of 462 miles. It is certainly not the most economical engine, but it is all worth it.
Every engine option is paired to a 9-speed automatic gearbox, and FWD or AWD drivetrain configurations are available.
For a mid-size SUV, the Acadia’s size is not exactly on the larger side. Compared to its closest rivals, the Kia Telluride or Hyundai Palisade, the Acadia is definitely smaller.
However, it doesn’t show that much. On the inside, the Acadia is good for carrying 5-7 adult passengers, depending on the trims and seating configuration. The interior space is decently spacious, with a maximum passenger volume of 142 cubic feet and 12.8 cubic feet of cargo space with all seats upright. Both should be more than good enough for daily errands but also for long trips. On the other hand, if you have to bring 6 kids and all their gear to the Saturday morning hockey game, you might feel a bit squeezed.
2021 GMC Acadia SL
The GMC Acadia starts at $30,995 MSRP for the base SL trim. It features the least powerful 2.5 liter 4-cylinder unit, which is the only available engine. It is also only available in front-wheel drive.
There is not much to report on the exterior of the base model. It comes as standard with 18-inch aluminum wheels, LED headlights and daytime running lights, deep-tinted glass, and a manual liftgate. GMC also only offers the SL trim with the Summit White color option.
The SL trim only comes in a 7-seater configuration, with front bucket seats as standard with Jet Black color interior trim. It’s equipped with an 8-inch diagonal GMC Infotainment System with the latest wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. Right of the bat, yes, that screen could be bigger. But keep in mind that the SL trim is the entry-level model.
GMC also included a six-speaker sound system, active noise cancellation to reduce road and wind noise, five USB ports for connectivity, and OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capability.
2021 GMC Acadia SLE
GMC offers the Acadia SLE in FWD or AWD and with either a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder or 3.6-liter V6 unit.
- FWD 2.5 liter 4-cylinder = MSRP from $34,795
- FWD 3.6 liter V6 = MSRP from $36,290
- AWD 2.5 liter 4-cylinder = MSRP from $37,995
- AWD 3.6 liter V6 = MSRP from $38,490
The SLE features the same exterior as the SL trim. Still, there is an option to go for bigger 20-inch aluminum wheels and more exterior color options. However, those will set you back an additional $495.
The interior features of the SLE are carried over from the SL trim as well. However, the Acadia SLE has a standard 6-seater configuration (second-row captain seats) and a 7-seater option free-of-charge. There is also another interior color option, the Cocola/Light Ash Gray color.
2021 GMC Acadia SLT
The SLT is the middle trim, offered in either FWD or AWD with two engine options: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo or 3.6-liter V6.
- FWD 2.0 liter 4-cylinder turbocharged = MSRP from $39,995
- FWD 3.6 liter V6 = MSRP from $40,490
- AWD 2.0 liter 4-cylinder turbocharged = MSRP from $41,995
- AWD 3.6 liter V6 = MSRP from $42,490
Mostly carried over from the SLE trim, the SLT also gets some additional standard features such as roof rails, LED foglights, and a hands-free power liftgate.
In addition to the SLE trim features, the SLT is fitted with GMC’s Driver Convenience Package as standard, which includes a remote starter, a 120-volt power outlet, heated front seats, and a power-adjustable driver’s seat. There is also leather upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a universal garage door opener, a satellite navigation system, and an eight-speaker Bose audio system with HD radio—not bad.
2021 GMC Acadia AT4
The AT4 is the Acadia’s most off-road-ready variant, offered only in AWD configuration with a 3.6-liter V6 engine, beginning at $42,295 MSRP.
The AT4’s appearance is very similar to the SLT, but with a few extra bits making it better suited for rides off the beaten paths, such as smaller 17-inch aluminum wheels and all-terrain tires.
Carrying over the SLT trim features, the AT4 includes some additional driver aids such as hill descent control and hill hold assist, both improving its off-road capability. There is also an option to go for a 5-seater configuration to increase cargo space.
2021 GMC Acadia Denali
The Denali is the top-of-the-range model and is offered in either FWD or AWD configuration with two engine options, just like the SLT trim.
- FWD 2.0 liter 4-cylinder turbocharged = MSRP from $47,000
- FWD 3.6 liter V6 = MSRP from $47,495
- AWD 2.0 liter 4-cylinder turbocharged = MSRP from $49,000
- AWD 3.6 liter V6 = MSRP from $49,495
The Acadia Denali adds 20-inch aluminum wheels, power-folding heated mirrors, and a signature Denali grille on top of the SLT trim.
In addition to the SLT trim features, the Denali is fitted with the Luxury Package as standard, including the Memory Package for the power driver seat and outside mirrors, power-adjusted steering column, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, and power-adjustable front seats. There is also a digital instrument panel with a head-up display and a wireless charging pad for mobile devices.
As standard, GMC has equipped the 2021 Acadia with 9 airbags, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Red Cross-Traffic Alert, electronic stability control system with traction control, and Tire Pressure Monitoring System.
Moreover, in 2021, GMC installed the Pro Safety Plus Package as standard on the SLT, AT4, and Denali trims. This package includes Intellibeam® headlamp system, Auto Emergency Braking, Front Pedestrian Braking, Rear Park Assist, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Following Distance Indicator, and Forward Collision Alert.
Elevation Edition package
The Elevation Edition package includes a black grille and roof rails, 20-inch aluminum wheels, and black exterior accents. This package is available for an extra $1,495.
Denali Technology Package
The Denali Technology Package features a 360-degree surround HD camera, Adaptive Cruise Control, enhanced EAB system, and Rear Camera Mirror, and will set you back an extra $1,795.
Denali Ultimate Package
The Ultimate package comes with the Denali Technology Package plus a 2-panel power sunroof, Adaptive Ride Control, and Trailering Package for an extra $4,695. Unfortunately, this pack is only available on the AWD model.
The 2.5-liter yields a towing capacity of 1,000 lbs, while the newly-introduced 2.0-liter turbo tops up at 1,500 lbs. However, if you plan to tow larger trailers, the 3.6-liter V6 is the best option, topping out at 4,000 lbs.
GMC offers a limited warranty covering three years/36,000 miles, a powertrain warranty covering five years/60,000 miles, and complimentary maintenance on the first visit.
Of course, you may think that other mid-size SUVs may be more attractive than the GMC Acadia, and you might be right.
However, the Acadia is still worth considering when looking for a reliable compact mid-size SUV with a load of features at a somewhat affordable price. It has a spacious interior, a good choice of engines, and several available trims.
If the Acadia is not enough for you, you may want to consider the Cadillac XT6 as a more premium version.