Overview Handsome styling, a well-connected infotainment system, and room for up to seven passengers make the Acadia an easy family favorite. GMC’s mid-size crossover was all new for 2017 and sports a more compact body and a host of modernized features that make it leaps and bounds better than the larger, more old-school SUV it replaced. A V-6 engine is optional and provides decent hustle, while the standard four-cylinder engine is the choice for buyers mindful of fuel economy. Acadia buyers will have to choose between maximizing cargo hauling or people hauling, however, as its trimmer dimensions have encroached interior spaciousness.
What’s New for 2018? Very little has changed for the Acadia for 2018, which is unsurprising since it debuted as all new for 2017. The off-road-themed All Terrain model, which uses a unique all-wheel-drive system, now can be ordered with a third row of seats. Denali models offer an automatic heated steering wheel, and all models now have a handy tire-fill alert feature that provides an audible alert to indicate the tire is full when being inflated. A new color joins the palette: Blue Steel Metallic.
Pricing Pricing is in 2018 dollars:
Acadia FWD SL: $29,995 Acadia FWD SLE-1: $33,595 Acadia FWD SLE-2: $36,195 Acadia FWD SLT-1: $39,495 Acadia FWD SLT-2: $42,895 Acadia FWD Denali: $46,590 Acadia AWD SLE-1: $35,595 Acadia AWD SLE-2: $38,195 Acadia AWD SLT-1: $42,595 Acadia AWD SLT-2: $44,895 Acadia AWD Denali: $48,590 Engine, Transmission, and Performance GMC made no mechanical changes to the 2018 Acadia, so we expect performance similar to the 2017. The base engine is still a 193-hp 2.5-liter inline-four, but the engine of choice is the optional 310-hp 3.6-liter V-6. Both front- and all-wheel-drive setups are offered. Up until now, we had only tested all-wheel-drive models: A front-wheel-drive Acadia SLT-1 that recently paid us a visit managed to improve slightly on the all-wheel-drive Acadia’s acceleration times. The Acadia performed well on our test track, and its powertrain feels responsive on the open road, but the V-6 engine’s power can be difficult to modulate. The base four-cylinder’s lack of turbocharging saddles that engine with a power disadvantage. In our testing of a 2017 model, the top-spec, all-wheel-drive Acadia Denali V-6 hit 60 mph in 6.3 seconds. By comparison, we recorded a 5.8-second run for the hot, twin-turbo V-6 Ford Explorer Platinum, which competes directly with the Acadia Denali, while a Dodge Durango V-6 needed 7.4 seconds. Ford also offers a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6 that is closer in horsepower to the Acadia’s V-6 engine, but we have not tested an Explorer with that engine under the hood. Though the Acadia V-6 is quick, it can feel jumpy. Prod the throttle lightly, as when leaving a stop sign, and it bolts off the line as if startled. After that abrupt start, power is meted out smoothly. Most of the Acadia’s driving dynamics are perfectly adequate and should satisfy most crossover buyers, but a few key areas could use refinement. The steering feels weighty but uncommunicative, and the suspension struggles to keep the Acadia’s mass in check during aggressive maneuvers.
Fuel Economy EPA fuel economy testing and reporting procedures have changed over time. For the latest and most accurate fuel economy numbers on current and older vehicles, we use the U.S. Department of Energy’s fueleconomy.gov website. Under the heading “Find & Compare Cars” click on the Compare Side-by-Side tool to find the EPA ratings for the make, model, and year you’re interested in.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo The interior design is pleasing to the eye, and most controls are intuitive and within reach of the driver. A black-and-white gauge cluster with red needles provides information at a glance; Denali models feature a reconfigurable center screen that provides a plethora of additional vehicle information depending on the driver’s settings. The tilting-and-telescoping steering column could use more range to give very tall or very short drivers a comfortable position, but it still works for most people. The leather-wrapped steering wheel features aluminum trim that is convincingly upscale, and the buttons for cruise control and radio tuning have a high-quality tactile click when pushed. Unfortunately, some of the interior materials have a cheap look and feel—for instance, the garish fake-looking wood trim used in our Denali test car. With wide door openings and a low step-in height for an SUV, the Acadia makes getting in and out of the cabin a breeze. The second row slides back and forth; with the seats in their rear-most position, the Acadia offers 39.7 inches of stretch-out space. The second-row seatbacks can also recline several degrees for additional comfort. Access to the third row is a snap, too: Moving the second row requires pulling one lever and the entire row slides forward, out of the way, making it simple for kids to clamber back there. Ten cupholders provide plenty of opportunity for drink storage, particularly in the first and second rows, where beverage recesses are provided to passengers at a ratio of two-to-one.
Infotainment and Connectivity When it comes to technology, the Acadia offers plenty for the whole family. From an abundance of USB ports to onboard 4G LTE Wi-Fi, passengers can easily stay connected. The touchscreen infotainment system is intuitive and responsive, but charging more than one device that requires a 12-volt outlet may prove difficult, as only one of those outlets is provided. GMC’s IntelliLink Infotainment system soldiers on unchanged in the Acadia for 2018, as do the rest of the connectivity features across the lineup. Bluetooth phone and streaming audio are standard, and the phone audio quality is very good. In fact, over the course of our conversations in the Acadia, multiple callers commented that they could even hear the clicking of the turn signal. Also standard is 4G LTE connectivity with onboard Wi-Fi. The standard 7.0-inch color touchscreen can be upgraded to an 8.0-inch unit on SLE-2 trims. On SLT-1 trims and up, the 8.0-inch screen is standard. Some icons could be bigger, but overall, this is one of the more intuitive systems on the market. Our test vehicle came equipped with the 8.0-inch screen, and in our testing, it had an average response time of 0.4 second from menu to menu, earning a score of Good on our scale and even beating popular smartphones from Samsung and Apple. The Dodge Durango’s infotainment response was faster, and the Ford Explorer’s was slower, so the Acadia’s system is a satisfactory middle ground. For those unsatisfied with the Acadia’s software, GMC offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.
Safety Features and Crash Test Ratings For more information about the Acadia’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites.
Warranty Some older vehicles are still eligible for coverage under a manufacturer’s Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program. For more information visit our guide to every manufacturer’s CPO program.