2021 GMC Acadia Review, Specs and Pricing



The GMC Acadia transitioned from being a full-size crossover SUV to a mid-size crossover SUV since the 2017 generation upgrade. It is currently categorized as a Crossover Utility Vehicle or a CUV, and being a mid-size three-row crossover SUV, it fills the gap between the smaller GMC Terrain and the larger GMC Yukon in GMC’s current line-up of SUVs. The Acadia was introduced to the market in 2006 for the 2007 model year, and since then, the SUV has gone through a lot of changes and updates over the years.

It is currently in its second generation of production since the 2017 model year, which goes the same for the 2021 model as well. The 2021 update is more or less a carryover update with a few updates to the existing features, minor changes to trim option packages, along with the debut of a new edition to the Acadia lineup. It is still offered with five different trim levels to choose from, viz. SL, SLE, SLT, AT4, and Denali, ranging from $30,995 to $49, 495 depending on the trim level. At this price range, it faces competition from the likes of Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride, Honda Pilot, and other three-row crossover SUVs in the market. The Acadia is a decently practical car for being a three-row crossover SUV, with a maximum seating capacity for 7 people, and 6 people if you opt for the available 2nd-row captain seats depending on the trim.

What’s New in the GMC Acadia?

The GMC Acadia crossover SUV got a major upgrade as recently as for the 2020 model year, which includes changes to the exterior styling as well. Hence, the 2021 GMC Acadia is more or less a carryover model with a few minor changes and updates. For starters, there is a new Elevation Edition available for the SLE and SLT trims. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay have been upgraded with wireless capability, along with a few other changes to the trim option packages which include:

  • The GMC Pro Safety Plus package is now standard on SLT, AT4, and Denali trim and optional for the SLE trim.

  • The premium package adds a heated steering wheel on SLT and AT4 trim levels.

  • The technology package adds a 360-degree view parking camera system and a head-up display on the SLT and AT4 trims.

  • All the trims except the base SL trim get a 6-passenger seating configuration as standard

  • The base SL trim gets an 18-inch alloy wheel as standard

  • The leather-wrapped steering wheel on the SL and SLE trims are now replaced with a urethane one.

Other than these changes, the 2021 Acadia remains more or less the same as the previous model year with similar mechanicals and design, both interior and exterior.

What’s the performance like?

For the 2021 Acadia, there won’t be any changes to the available engine options, or in fact with regards to any mechanicals of the SUV. It still has the choice among three engine options depending on the trim level. One is a 2.5L naturally aspirated inline 4-cylinder engine producing a maximum 193 HP and 188 lb-ft of torque. It has a variable valve timing and a spark ignition direct injection system. The second engine option is a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with an increased power output of 230 HP and 258 lb-ft of torque. Lastly, there is the most powerful engine available for the 2021 Acadia producing 310 HP and 271 lb-ft of torque from a 3.6L naturally aspirated V6 engine under the hood. The V6 engine comes equipped with an Active Fuel Management system and a variable displacement oil pump that delivers performance without sacrificing gas mileage. All the engines are paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission. Most of the 2021 Acadia trims come with a front-wheel-drive drivetrain as standard with an all-wheel-drive drivetrain available as an option. More specifically, the off-road-oriented AT4 trim is available only with an all-wheel drivetrain, and the base SL trim level is available only with the front-wheel-drive drivetrain.

The 2021 GMC Acadia is capable of a 0 to 60 mph time of 6.1 seconds, with a standing quarter-mile time of 14.9, which is quite impressive for a three-row family crossover SUV. It has a top speed of 131 mph, which is more than enough for most people. Overall, the 2021 Acadia is a well-rounded car in terms of performance. It is decently comfortable and easy-to-drive for a family hauler. Body-roll is quite obvious around the corners for a car of its size and weight, but it tries to manage it pretty well nonetheless.

What all trims will be on offer?

As mentioned earlier, GMC is carrying over the five different trim levels from the 2020 model for the 2021 Acadia. The five different trims for the 2021 Acadia are SL, SLE, SLT, AT4, and the top-of-the-line Denali. For the 2021 model, there will be a new Elevation Edition available for the SLE and SLT trims.

It starts off with the base SL trim which is the only trim to come standard with a 7-passenger seating arrangement. Other standard features available for the base SL trim includes an 8-inch touchscreen display for the infotainment system, tri-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry and ignition, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, a six-speaker sound system, along with some active driver aids like blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, etc.

The SLE trim is basically the same as the SL trim in terms of standard features, but the SLE trim comes with a 6-passenger seating configuration as standard, and the SLE trim is eligible for more optional extras than the base SL trim. Then we have the mid-range SLT trim which gets a beefier engine and comes equipped with some extra features like a hands-free power liftgate, remote ignition, heated front seats with power-adjustable driver’s seat, a navigation system, a more premium 8-speaker Bose audio system with HD Radio and many more features. Some of the additional standard safety features in the SLT trim includes forward collision mitigation, lane-keep assist, and automatic high beams. Then there is the off-road-oriented AT4 trim which is similar to the SLT trim but has a few extra features that enhance its off-road capability. For starters, you get the most powerful engine available for the 2021 Acadia along with all-terrain tires, standard all-wheel drive with components unique to the AT4 for better traction off-road, hill descent control along with hill hold assist feature. Then there is the top-of-the-line Denali trim with more standard features which include power-folding heated mirrors, ventilated front seats along with driver seat memory functions, heated second-row seats, wireless charging pad, and a few more features. The Denali trim is also eligible for two exclusive packages viz. Technology Package and the Denali Ultimate Package have their own unique perks and features.

How safe is the GMC Acadia?

The 2021 GMC Acadia is developed on the C1XX platform, which is the crossover variant of the E2XX platform, replacing the Theta Premium and Lambda platforms. This platform is shared with some of the other cars in the segment like the Chevrolet Blazer and the Cadillac XT5, along with some full-size SUVs as well including the Chevrolet Traverse.  That being said, GMC didn’t compromise with the safety and security of the 2021 Acadia and equipped the car with a plethora of modern advanced safety features and driving aids to keep its occupants as safe as possible. Some of the safety features available in the 2021 Acadia, that might be equipped as standard or available as an option depending on the trim, include:

  • Automatic emergency braking

  • Following distance indicator

  • Forward collision alert

  • Front pedestrian braking

  • Front and rear park assist

  • LATCH system

  • Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert

  • Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning

  • Rear cross-traffic alert

  • Electronic stability control system with traction control

  • Teen driver

  • Tire fill alert

  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Moreover, the GMC Acadia managed to score a perfect 5 out of 5 stars in NHTSA’s crash test report with 5 stars in most of the individual tests except the front passenger side and the rollover tests, where it scored 4 out of 5 stars with a rollover risk of 15.10%. It did pretty well in IIHS’s tests as well as scoring the maximum possible score in most of the individual tests, but it failed to achieve any special honor by IIHS for its safety. Overall, you could be worry-free regarding the safety of the 2021 GMC Acadia.

​​​​​​​Should you be going for one?

GMC managed to hit the sweet spot with the Acadia in the 3-row midsize crossover SUV market, and the little changes in the 2021 update made it a little better than the previous model. Although there are similar, if not better, alternatives for the GMC Acadia out there in the market, the Acadia has its own unique character and has a value proposition of its own. It is one of the few American 3-row mid-size crossover SUVs in the market that has the potential to give its Japanese and Korean rivals a run for their money. Hence, you won’t go wrong if you decide to get one for your garage.

Share this


How to Win in Slot Machine Games

In the realm of slot machines, mastering the art of winning requires a blend of strategic insight, disciplined budgeting, and a keen understanding of...

The Challenges and Innovations in Manufacturing Electric Vehicle Batteries

Electric vehicle (EV) batteries are super important for the cars of the future. But making these batteries is not easy. There are many challenges,...

The Birth of the Kei Car: Japan’s Unique Solution to Urban Mobility

Japan is famous for its cool and tiny cars called Kei cars. These cars are super small but packed with great features. They are...

Recent articles

More like this