2021 GMC Acadia

#2
in Suvs
2021 MODEL
$37,395 - $43,390

7.6

Overall Rating

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2021 GMC Acadia Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: June 19, 2020
Karan Rawat's image

Karan Rawat

Automotive Journalist

The mid-size 2021 GMC Acadia has been in production since 2007, with its second-generation kicking off awfully late in 2017. Sadly, it faltered keenly in the competition despite having been a well-rounded model. Usually, The GMC Acadia is slotted above the GMC Terrain and below the Yukon. 

2021 GMC Acadia AT4 SUV
2021 GMC Acadia AT4 SUV

Gutsy look, poised stance, sturdy impression denotes the new 2021 GMC Acadia. It looks distinct and does almost everything well. The ride is also superior and a cargo capacity that is offered by a typical minivan. Inside, Acadia is spacious with an airy cabin and the overall design is more focused on functionality rather than performance.

See detailed review »

Pros

Comfort and simplicity

Gutsy powertrain

Simple and practical cabin layout

Standard tech features

Cons

Limited third-row space

Sluggish acceleration

Poor fuel economy

What's New?

New headlights and taillights

Improved tech features

Updated safety tech

Hybrid Variant



Ratings

Features

8.5

Engine And Performance

7.4

Fuel Economy

7.5

Interior

7.0

Exterior

8.0

Safety

7.0

Competition

7.0

Final Verdict

8.0

7.6

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


2021 GMC Acadia SLE

SLE

power
TBD
fuel
TBD
mpg
TBD

$37,395 - $37,890


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
SLE 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 9A) Starting at $37,395 MSRP TBD TBD
TBD TBD TBD
SLE 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl Turbo 9A) Starting at $37,890 MSRP TBD TBD
TBD TBD TBD

2021 GMC Acadia SLT

SLT

power
TBD
fuel
TBD
mpg
TBD

$40,895 - $43,390


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
SLT 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 9A) Starting at $40,895 MSRP TBD TBD
TBD TBD TBD
SLT 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl Turbo 9A) Starting at $41,390 MSRP TBD TBD
TBD TBD TBD
SLT 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 9A) Starting at $42,895 MSRP TBD TBD
TBD TBD TBD
SLT 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl Turbo 9A) Starting at $43,390 MSRP TBD TBD
TBD TBD TBD

Expert Review

7.6

Overall Rating


The new GMC Acadia is packed with features and technology. It is simple, practical, yet innovative. Previous Generation Acadias have failed to leave a mark in the automobile industry with the numbers hovering around the 80,000 units in 2018. With an absolute transformation and overhaul of its interiors, exterior, and technology, will Acadia be able to overturn its sales and compete with its class leaders?

2021 GMC Acadia front view
2021 GMC Acadia rear view

8.5/10
Features

 

7.4/10
Engine and Performance

 

7.5/10
Fuel Economy

 

7.0/10
Interior

 

8.0/10
Exterior

 

7.0/10
Safety

 

7.0/10
Competition

 

8.0/10
Final Verdict

 

2021 GMC Acadia Features

8.5/10

The GMC Acadia is available in five trim levels: SL, SLE, SLT, AT-4, and Denali. The Acadia SL starts at $31,995 and is the only trim that is not fitted with a V-6 engine or an all-wheel drive. It comes mated to a 2.5-liter four-cylinder powertrain. You get a nine-speed automatic transmission as standard.

Trims SL SLE SLT AT-4 DENALI
MSRP (FWD) $31,995 $35,995 $41,895 $42,675 $45,995
MSRP (AWD) N/A $37,395 $42,895 $44,675 $47,995
Key Features Leather-wrapped steering wheel with mounted audio and cruise controls Adds/Upgrades to SL Adds/Upgrades to SLE SLT-1+ SLT-2+
  Seven passenger seating with second and third-row split-bench fold-flat seats Front and second-row carpeted floor mats Perforated leather-appointed first and second-row seats Memory Package recalls 2 presets for power driver seat and outside mirrors. Intellibeam Headlamps.
  Keyless Open and Start SiriusXM Radio 120V power outlet Heated second-row assenger seats. 8″ Color Touch Screen Navigation with IntelliLink1.
  Industry-First Front Center Airbag Compact Spare Tire Auto-dimming driver-side outside mirror Low-speed Front Automatic Braking. Bright roof rails.
  A/C, Tri-Zone Automatic Climate Control   Auto-dimming inside rearview mirror Intellibeam Headlamps. Hands-free power liftgate.
  8-inch diagonal GMC Infotainment System   Bose premium 8-speaker system    

The Denali trim wraps up the line-up with several exclusive high-end features.  A new turbocharged 2.0-liter engine with 230 horsepower will go on sale later and will be standard on the SLT and Denali trims.

 We Recommend

The SLE is the best value for your bucks. It gets almost every feature that Acadia has to offer including a power liftgate, power driver seat, and heated front seats. You also get a 3.6-liter V-6 engine as an option in this trim which gives you superior performance while towing or carrying passengers.

2021 GMC Acadia Engine and Performance

7.4/10

Currently, in the engine hierarchy offered by GMC for its Acadia range, the 2.5-liter 4 cylinder engine stands at the bottom with 193 horsepower with a meager towing capacity of 1000-pounds. Next up in the hierarchy is the turbocharged 4 cylinder Engine with 230 horsepower.

2021 GMC Acadia Engine

Their best-ever 3.6-liter V6 engine ranks at the top with an impeccable 310 horsepower and an outstanding towing capacity of 4000 pounds. The robust V6 engine is powerful enough to let the ride soar on highways. However, it feels overwhelmed when traversing slower traffic. Front-wheel drive and nine-speed automatic drive are standard in all the engines while All-wheel drive is also available as an option.

Models

GMC Acadia

Toyota Highlander

Mazda CX-9

Volkswagen Atlas

Engine

2.5L naturally aspirated I4

3.5L naturally aspirated V6

2.5L naturally aspirated I4

3.6L naturally aspirated V6

Drivetrain FWD FWD FWD FWD

Transmission

9-speed automatic

8-speed Automatic

6-speed automatic

8-speed automatic

Power

193hp@6,300rpm

295hp@6,600rpm

227hp@5000rpm

276hp@6,200rpm

Torque

188lb-ft@4,400rpm

263lb-ft@4,700rpm

310lb-ft@2000rpm

266lb-ft@2,750rpm

The new 9-speed transmission brings with itself the innovative on-axis design, Selectable One-Way Clutch, and Active Oil Management system, new Torque Converter technology, Seamless Stop/Start Performance, and Transmission Control Module which adds to the splendor of the car, helping it to accelerate and maneuver seamlessly.

GMC is also expected to introduce a hybrid or plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) version of Acadia assessing the current trends in the automobile industry.

2021 GMC Acadia 0 to 60

There is no thirst for power when the Acadia is equipped with the 3.6-liter V-6 engine. It hits 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds which is impressive for a vehicle of this size. 

2021 GMC Acadia Acceleration

The base engine is also adequate and takes around 8.5 seconds to reach 60 mph from a standstill. 

Models

GMC Acadia

Toyota Highlander

Mazda CX-9

Volkswagen Atlas

0-60 MPH 

8.5 sec

7.2*sec

7.1 sec

7.9 sec

Quarter mile 

N/A

15.5 sec

15.5 sec

16.0 sec

Top Speed  115 MPH 112 MPH N/A N/A

Engine

2.5L I4

3.5L V6

2.5L I4

3.6L V6

Talking of the opposition, the Acadia is the most underpowered car in the division, despite that it attains decent numbers, owing to its relatively more inferior weight.

Driving the GMC Acadia

The 2021 Acadia lacks the nimbleness of some of its competitors but the handling is comfortable and quiet. Responsive steering makes Acadia easily maneuverable in tight corners. Ride quality is well-controlled even over rough pavements and the steering feels light. GMC Acadia SUV is a great people carrier. The ride offers a smooth, comfortable ride on most roads. Moreover, the cabin is clean and quiet, free from any kind of noise and undesired bumps.

GMC offers an adaptive suspension on the top trim Denali for sharper handling and a more cushioned ride. If you want the best of its off-roading capability, go for the All-Terrain package that adds hill descent control and a sharper all-wheel-drive system.  The Acadia is, however, better suited to snowy trails rather than the rocky ones.

Braking 

The Acadia braking system is well-tuned with loads of stopping power. Brakes feel solid even after various disruptive stops. 

2021 GMC Acadia Brakes 

GMC gets tough competition from lighter rivals like the Mazda CX-9 and the Volkswagen Atlas. 

Model

GMC Acadia

Toyota Highlander

Mazda CX-9 Volkswagen Atlas

Brake Rotors Front 

12.6"

13.3"

12.6"

13.2"

Brake Rotors Rear 

12.4"

13.3"

12.8"

12.2"

Curb Weight 

3923 lbs

4330 lbs

4225 lbs

4343 lbs

60-0 MPH 

130 ft

128 ft

123 ft

120 ft

The Atlas takes the first spot with an excellent braking distance of just 120 feet while the Mazda CX-9 takes the second spot with 123 feet. 

2021 GMC Acadia Fuel Economy

7.5/10

Generally speaking, the 2021 GMC Acadia is more fuel-efficient as compared to its counterparts. The base engine manages up to 21 MPG in the city and 26 MPG on highways. The optional 3.6-liter V6 achieves 19 MPG in the city and 27 Mpg on Highways. Bouncing to the V-6 engine will also not bother your wallet.

Model

GMC Acadia

Toyota Highlander

Mazda CX-9 Volkswagen Atlas

MPG (city)

21

20

22

17

MPG (highway)

27

27

28

24

MPG (combined)

23

23

24

19

Fuel Tank 

19 gallons

17.9 gallons

19 gallons

18.6 gallons

Range (City/Hwy/Combined) 400/513/437 miles

358/483/412 miles

418/532/456

316/446/353 miles

Emission

(Tons/yr. of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year)

8.4

6.4

N/A

7.6

Mazda CX-9  lead the gang with the greatest mileage of 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway while the Acadia and Toyota are similar in terms of fuel economy. The Volkswagen Atlas, though, stands below with just 19 combined mpg.

2021 GMC Acadia Interior

7.0/10

The 2021 Acadia is mostly unchanged with the SLT trim introducing leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, and power liftgate while the base level SL trim featuring cloth upholstery. Meanwhile, the range-leading Acadia Denali will switch to premium, perforated leather upholstery, Bose Surround Sound System, and heated and ventilated seats.

2021 GMC Acadia Seating

It comes with plenty of headroom and legroom for all three rows with the third row enough to seat adults, making the car class-competitive. The middle row seats are captain chairs and very well-cushioned with armrests.

However, the GMC offers various configurations ranging from five to seven-passenger seating. They not only look beautiful but feel very lovely too. Another thing worth mentioning is that there are only two rear seats as compared to some of the top rival models. 

Model GMC Acadia Toyota Highlander Mazda CX-9 Volkswagen Atlas
Passenger Capacity 7 8 7 7
First Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in) 40.0/59.4/41.0

41.2/59.0/42.0

39.3/57.9/41.0

41.3/61.5/41.5

Second Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in) 39.6/58.7/39.7

39.4/58.7/41.0

38.5/58.1/39.4

40.4/60.8/37.6

Third Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in) 37.2/54.3/31.1 36.3/57.2/31.7 35.4/53.1/29.7 38.3/54.9//33.7

Standard on every Acadia is the GM smart entry system with the typical GMC key fob. The Acadia does not come with paddle shifter. Its electronic shifter has a combination of push and pulls buttons, which makes it difficult and inconvenient to use.

Thus, in terms of space, comfort, and amenities, the Acadia does not disappoint. Overall, last year the GMC made outstanding upgrades to the interior cabin making it one of the most beautiful cabins in its class concerning both comfort, efficiency, and quality.

Key interior features available to the 2021 GMC Acadia SUV are:

  • A heated tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • A universal garage door opener
  • Ambient lighting
  • Heated 8-way, power-adjustable front seats
  • Leather upholstery
  • OnStar telematics
  • Tri-zone automatic climate control

Infotainment System

GMC Acadia comes with an abundance of techs. A 7-inch touch-screen with GMC IntelliLink system is standard on the SL and SLE trims. There is also an 8-inch unit available which is optional on the SLE and standard for SLT and the Denali.

The screen feels responsive with big, clear buttons.  Some of the standard features include: As for the charging ports, SLT and higher models offer two USB ports- a regular type and a USB C port and also a consistent household style charging port.

2021 GMC Acadia Infotainment Display

Some of the most notable infotainment highlights of the 2021 GMC Acadia are:

  • OnStar Turn-by-Turn Navigation turn-by-turn navigation directions
  • Steering-wheel mounted audio controls
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Wireless phone connectivity
  • Integrated roof antenna
  • 6 speakers

Cargo Capacity

Heading the route to the tailgate of the Acadia, it features hands-free power. As for the Cargo space, the 2021 Acadia offers a 79 cube foot of trunk space and a flexible fold-flat split seats. 

2021 GMC Acadia Cargo Space

Behind the third row, with the seats up, 12.8 cubic feet of space is available, which is a little bit smaller compared to its rivals, Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander. 

Model

GMC Acadia

Toyota Highlander

Mazda CX-9 Volkswagen Atlas

Cargo Capacity 

12.8 cu.ft.

16.0 cu.ft.

14.4 cu.ft. 20.6 cu.ft.

Underneath the cargo space, there are two large storage spaces. The First row features a center console with storage, cup holders, and additional storage beneath the central console. The middle row features cup holders and integrated storage areas. The third row also features integrated cup holders.

GMC Acadia dashboard
GMC Acadia dashboard
GMC Acadia steering
GMC Acadia steering
gmc acadia cupholder
gmc acadia cupholder
gmc acadia front seat
GMC Acadia front seat
gmc acadia interior
gmc acadia interior

2021 GMC Acadia Exterior

8.0/10

For the 2020 model year, Acadia gained a revamped, more dynamic grille and squared-off highlights in the front, totally scrapping off their previous fascia. GMC also added a brand new bumper design with chrome lining.

2021 GMC Acadia Exterior

In the rear, the redefined Acadia got a new bumper and an entirely LED C-shaped taillights with longer upper sections. The dual chrome exhaustive completes the look of the car. The design is expected to remain unchanged for the 2021 Acadia Model. However, new color options are likely to be underway.

Model

GMC Acadia

Toyota Highlander

Mazda CX-9

Volkswagen Atlas

Curb weight 

3923 lbs

4330 lbs

4225 lbs

4343 lbs

Length

193.4"

194.9"

199.4"

198.3"

Width 

75.4"

76.0"

77.5"

78.3"

Height

66.7"

68.1"

67.6"

70.0"

Ground clearance 

7.2"

8.0"

8.8"

8.0"

Wheelbase

112.5"

112.2"

115.3"

117.3"

Apart from this, last year, The Acadia introduced a brand new trim, the off-road-ready AT4 trim with the dark-themed styling elements including the grille, 17-inch alloy wheels, and body cladding. The model features all-terrain tires and can even switch to the 20-inch wheels. The Acadia offers not one but two sunroofs, one for the front and the other for the rear.

Some of the most novel exterior specialties of the 2021 GMC Acadia are:

  • Rear lip spoiler
  • Body-colored front and rear bumpers with black rub strip
  • Metal-look front and rear bumper insert
  • Turn signal indicator mirrors
  • Bodyside cladding
  • Fully galvanized steel body 
  • Heated door mirrors
gmc acadia front view
gmc acadia front view
gmc acadia
gmc acadia
gmc acadia rear view
gmc acadia rearview
gmc acadia braking
gmc acadia braking
2021 gmc acadia rear view
2021 gmc acadia rear view

2021 GMC Acadia Safety

7.0/10

As there are no major changes in the 2021 GMC Acadia. The present model claims to have a good crash-test score by the NHSTA. However, it received a marginal rating in the headlight and an acceptable latch rating by IIHS.

Some of the most eminent standard safety features of the 2021 GMC Acadia are:

  • StabiliTrak electronic stability control system.
  • Airbag system.
  • OnStar Basic Plan for 5 years.
  • OnStar Guidance Plan Limited-Service Trial.
  • Rear Vision Camera.
  • Child security rear door locks.
  • Passenger Sensing System.
  • Rear seat reminder.
  • LATCH System.
  • Teen Driver.
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System.
  • Horn, dual-note.

On the reliability front, the company has covered Acadia with a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

2021 GMC Acadia Competition

7.0/10

GMC Acadia vs. Toyota Highlander

The Toyota Highlander is one of the most costly oblations of the segment and the most dominant one as well. The 2020 Toyota Highlander houses a 3.5L V6 engine that puts out 295 hp along with 263 lb.-ft. of the torque. 

2020 Toyota Highlander ​​

The Highlander is one of the most beloved nameplates in the 3 row SUV segment and offers adequate performance. The Highlander serves the genuine purpose of 3 row SUVs in a true sense and offers a truly progressive and roomy cabin along with majestic cargo space. 

GMC Acadia vs. Mazda CX-9

The Mazda CX-9 is a well-rounded combination that brings power and performance along with practicality to the economy class. The Mazda CX-9 is one of the most affordable vehicles of the division with prices starting from $33,890. The CX-9 houses a 2.5L Inline-4 powerhouse, putting out 227 hp and 310 lb.-ft. of torque, which can make this SUV go from 0-60 in just 7.1 seconds, which is one of the quickest in the class. 

2020 Mazda CX-9

The CX-9 is a truly urban SUV that sans the conservative boxy strategy and goes for a more svelte and advanced appearance. The CX-9's interior is one of the most interesting ones in the segment and it is a truly solid car that is much simpler to own and remain with.

2021 GMC Acadia Final Verdict

8.0/10

While the popular Acadia Denali definitely makes the cut for us and has us drooling over it, the lower trims are, unfortunately, not able to do so. Also, the ride doesn't offer better mileage than its contemporaries Nevertheless, the 2021 GMC Acadia SUV has a price-tag that is much lower than its rivals. Despite having these flaws, the SUV is comforting when it comes to traversing different road surfaces.

FAQ's

Is GMC Acadia a good SUV?

The GMC Acadia is a rather excellent SUV. It's easy to drive, it provides a cushioned ride, and you have the choice of three engine options including a V6.

Is GMC Acadia a 7 seater?

The GMC Acadia seats seven in its standard three-row configuration, but capacity drops to six if you opt for the second-row captain's chairs