The 2023 GMC Acadia is fine for schlepping families on all sorts of journeys, but it won’t impress anyone along the way. That might be fine if you want a mid-size SUV with trucklike looks and a versatile cabin. Of course, you will have to accept some of the ute’s vices, including unimpressive cabin materials and a small third row. Outdoorspeople might be intrigued by the off-road-oriented AT4 model, but apart from all-terrain tires and an all-wheel-drive system with a torque-vectoring rear axle, in our testing we found that it’s not as capable as advertised. Along with front- or all-wheel drive, the Acadia has a standard 228-hp turbocharged four-cylinder or an optional 310-hp V-6 that’s worth the upgrade. Neither engine is offensive, nor is the Acadia’s driving manners. In fact, it’s hard to be overtly offended by anything about the GMC SUV. Still, it’s just as hard to be inspired by anything about the 2023 Acadia, and that’s the problem.
What’s New for 2023?
The Acadia enters the model year without any notable changes. Don’t get too excited, but GMC is touting a new wrapped steering wheel that’s standard on all but the base SLE trim level. The Acadia also gets a trio of fresh paint colors, all of which cost extra. The list includes Volcanic Red tintcoat, Ultra Blue metallic, and Sterling metallic. It’s worth noting the lineup also is more expensive for 2023, with starting prices increasing by $2050 for all four models.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We’d choose the mid-level SLT trim, which adds niceties to the equipment list such as leather upholstery, remote start, heated front seats, in-dash navigation, and a hands-free tailgate. In addition to those SLT extras, that model comes with the standard LED headlights, heated, power-adjustable mirrors, and keyless entry and push-button start. We’d spring for the more powerful V-6 engine and choose all-wheel drive, which together adds $2495.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Acadia’s base engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder good for 228 horsepower. The optional 3.6-liter V-6 makes 310 horsepower, and that extra power along with its pleasant nature makes it our preferred choice. A nine-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard with either engine, and all-wheel drive is optional. While you’ll never forget that you’re driving an SUV, the Acadia is competent and reasonably composed. It feels ponderous during high-speed cornering, but when driven in a less aggressive manner (as most people drive much of the time), the ride is forgiving and stable. An adaptive suspension—standard on the Denali and optional on SLT trim with all-wheel drive—adjusts the dampers every two milliseconds to help smooth out the ride over bumps or to tighten things up if the driver starts feeling frisky.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA estimates the front-drive version with the turbo four-cylinder engine will earn 22 mpg city and 29 highway. The V-6 with front-wheel drive has estimates of 19 mpg city and 27 highway. However, we haven’t tested an Acadia with the nine-speed automatic transmission on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test. For more information about the Acadia’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Acadia’s compact exterior may help it fit into garages and parking spaces, but it imposes consequences on interior spaciousness. 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 works for most people. The leather-wrapped steering wheel features aluminum trim that is convincingly upscale. Unfortunately, some of the interior materials have a cheap look and feel. With the third row in use, we were only able to fit two carry-on suitcases in the Acadia, but with the second- and third-row seats stowed, we were able to fit 28. The Dodge Durango held four cases behind its third row and 30 with the rear rows of seats folded, so it might be a better choice if you’ll be frequently hauling people and cargo at the same time.
The Car and Driver Difference
Infotainment and Connectivity
When it comes to technology, the Acadia offers plenty for the whole family. From an abundance of USB ports to a Wi-Fi hotspot, passengers can easily stay connected. The touchscreen infotainment system is intuitive and responsive. Charging more than one device that requires a 12-volt outlet may prove a challenge, as only one of those outlets is provided.
How to Buy and Maintain a Car
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The Acadia offers several standard driver-assistance technologies such as automated emergency braking, automatic high-beam headlamps, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-keeping assist. 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. Key safety features include:
Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
The Acadia comes with a comprehensive warranty and maintenance coverage package as standard. Hyundai offers longer limited and powertrain warranties, but GMC does cover the Acadia’s first maintenance visit within the first year of ownership.
Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles Complimentary maintenance is covered for the first visit
2020 GMC Acadia AT4
front-engine, front/all-wheel-drive, 5–7-passenger, 4-door hatchback
DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
223 cu in, 3649 cc
310 hp @ 6600 rpm
271 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm
Wheelbase: 112.5 in
Length: 193.6 in
Width: 75.4 in
Height: 66.0 in
Passenger volume: 109–142 cu ft
Cargo volume: 13–42 cu ft
Curb weight (C/D est): 4400 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
Zero to 60 mph: 6.1 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 17.2 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 14.9 sec
Top speed (governor limited): 131 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY (C/D EST)
Combined/city/highway: 21/18/25 mpg
More Features and Specs