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GMC Acadia SLT: Review

The GMC Acadia is a great SUV in a crowded segment, though it is often overlooked, since the Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer are much more popular. The Acadia mixes comfort, entertainment, space, and driving manners all into one package. We have the SLT trim with all-wheel-drive, which sits right below the high-end Denali.


Design

The Acadia we have tested here is a pre-facelift 2019 model, so it doesn't look as great as the new 2020 SUV. Although some people might not enjoy the bland front and rear fascias, the beautiful Dark Sky Metallic paint makes up for it. The crossover features a distinctive GMC grille, along with a silhouette that resembles other GM 'lambda' platform SUVs. Everything else is purely GMC.


Interior

The Acadia's interior is, for most, nicer than the exterior. We love the abundance of the nice wood trim and shiny silver chrome details. The 8" touchscreen goes rather well with the rest of the dashboard. Many smartly located nooks are also found by the doors the dashboard, such as the small "cove" near the center console, plus water bottle holders and several other little storage areas. Charging ports were also placed throughout the cabin for easy access.


Space

The GMC Acadia is very spacious (specifically in the second row) and there is decent room behind the third row. But, if you are packing the car for a week-long trip, look no further than the empty captain's chair sitting right behind you (we had captain's chairs in our Acadia). The third and second rows also fold down for extra storage, and for less occupants, the bench seat option will be easier. We were able to stuff a few bags and luggages in the trunk, while everything else went into the second row. But, seating is limited to six or, with bench seating, seven. The Kia Telluride or Hyundai Palisade will offer eight. Our captain's chair seating option was very comfortable. The fold-up armrests and snug leather material created an enjoyable experience. But, heads up, the third row is tight and the seats are stiff.


Reliability

Though we experienced no major problems with our Acadia example, ratings for reliability are rather low, despite the comfortable ride and smooth pickup. There are other more reliable offerings out there from Hyundai, Kia, Subaru, Mazda, and Lexus that would be more ideal for families that don't buy a new car constantly.


Performance

We were rather impressed with the Acadia's smooth ride and remarkable pickup. It makes entering the highway at 70 mph easier. Although, we were not amused with the noise reduction. It was unusually loud, and we could hear most of the bumps and other surfaces on the road and the hum of surrounding vehicles. It was an enjoyable ride, at least, without the noise. The Acadia comes with all-wheel-drive (other models have FWD as an option). Our SLT AWD variant comes with a 3.6 liter V6 engine depositing 271 horsepower along with a 6-speed automatic transmission. It (obviously) runs on regular gas.


Technology

The GMC Acadia had an impressive software setup, not to mention the large number of included features. The infotainment system was easy to navigate; it didn't take a while to learn how to control the screen. It included a GPS, radio, clock, backup camera/sensors, phone system, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, built-in WiFi, and more. Second-row occupants can control the temperature thanks to dual climate control, like most new vehicles. But, passengers can also control the blast power of the AC/heat and whether it should blow from under the seats, on the ceiling, or both. Another notable feature is the ability to choose where the audio should be strongest via the speakers (first, second, or third row). The SUV's bountiful features are actually entertaining for bored occupants.


Configurations

The Acadia has quite a few trims: SL, SLE-1, SLE-2, SLT-1, SLT-2, and Denali. All models except for the base SL offer an AWD option. We drove an SLT-1 AWD. It also has a number of exterior colors: Summit White, Quicksilver Metallic, Blue Steel Metallic, Ebony Twilight Metallic, Iridium Metallic, Dark Sky Metallic, Pepperdust Metallic, Smokey Quartz Metallic, Red Quartz Tintcoat, and White Front Tricoat. Interior colors include Jet Black (what we had), Dark Ash Gray with Light Ash Gray accents, Jet Black with Kalahari accents, Cocoa with Light Ash Gray accents, Kalahari with Jet Black accents, and Cocoa with Shale accents. Base trims receive a four-cylinder engine, while higher models (such as ours) came equipped with a V6.


Key Features

  • Engine: 2.5 liter four cylinder, 3.6 liter V6

  • Gas Type: Regular

  • Base MSRP: $29,000

  • Seating: 6 to 7 occuapants

  • Transmission: 6-speed automatic

  • 0-60 mph: 6.5 seconds


Verdict

The GMC Acadia has some flaws here and there, but we think most customers will have a comfortable, appealing experience in GMC's D-segment SUV. We recommend this car for families of up to five or six that wants easy-to-navigate technology, great comfort, and smooth performance.

*This article was originally published on August 1, 2020, and has been updated.

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