2009 GMC Acadia SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2009 GMC Acadia SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
GMC Acadia Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.6 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 288 hp @ 6300 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 17/24 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2009 GMC Acadia

  • With ample room for up to eight passengers, a comfortable ride, respectable performance and decent fuel economy, the 2009 GMC Acadia ranks as one of the best family-oriented crossovers available.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Plenty of passenger and cargo space, smooth ride, easy to drive considering its size, above-average tow capacity for a crossover.

  • Cons

    Some subpar interior trim, transmission can be slow to downshift.

  • What's New for 2009

    For 2009 the GMC Acadia gets a more powerful engine, Bluetooth connectivity, real-time traffic updates for the navigation system, available heated and cooled seats and a reshuffling of option packages.

Full 2009 GMC Acadia Review

What's New for 2009

For 2009 the GMC Acadia gets a more powerful engine, Bluetooth connectivity, real-time traffic updates for the navigation system, available heated and cooled seats and a reshuffling of option packages.


As high fuel prices have prompted folks to be more realistic about their vehicle purchases, the sales of large truck-based SUVs have dropped while those of more space- and fuel-efficient crossovers, such as the 2009 GMC Acadia, have risen. Crazy as it sounds, Americans are finally realizing that perhaps they don't need something that can pull a house and handle the Rubicon trail. For the more common tasks of shuttling the kids around, hauling 48-count toilet paper boxes from Costco and negotiating winter driving conditions, the Acadia is just about perfect.

Along with its corporate cousins, the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and Saturn Outlook, the GMC Acadia has a unibody architecture (as opposed to heavier body-on-frame) which allows better handling, interior packaging and crashworthiness. The Acadia also has a powerful V6 engine and can be had in either front- or all-wheel-drive versions.

What makes the Acadia especially attractive is its optimal use of space. Yes, it's large, about the same size as a Yukon, but it provides a more accommodating third-row seat along with a serious amount of cargo space. And yet, in spite of the Acadia's generous proportions and the fact that it gets a more powerful (288 horsepower) engine this year, this big SUV (in front-drive form) posts respectable fuel mileage figures of 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined.

All things considered, the 2009 GMC Acadia is an easy family vehicle for us to recommend. Thanks to its well-rounded nature and handsome design, it has been the best-selling model of the GM cousins thus far. (The Traverse debuts this year.) Still, there are a few other large crossovers that may warrant your attention, such as the sporty Mazda CX-9 and redesigned Toyota Highlander.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

A full-size crossover SUV, the 2009 GMC Acadia is offered in three trims: base SLE-1 and uplevel SLT-1 and SLT-2. The SLE comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, eight-passenger seating, front and rear air-conditioning, full power accessories, cruise control, OnStar telematics and a six-speaker CD/MP3 stereo system with satellite radio.

The SLT-1 package adds heated mirrors with integrated turn signals, leather seating with heated power front seats, second-row captain's chairs, triple-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth connectivity and a Bose 10-speaker audio system with steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a six-disc CD changer. The line-topping SLT-2 adds remote vehicle start, rear park assist, a power rear liftgate, power lumbar supports for the front seats, a 115-volt power outlet and a rear cargo shade.

Both SLT models can also be had with eight-passenger seating, and many of the SLT-2's features are available on lesser models, too. Option highlights, available individually or through packages, include a DVD entertainment system, cooled seats, real-time traffic reporting, remote vehicle start, a rearview camera, a second-row console, a two-panel sunroof, 19-inch wheels, a head-up windshield instrument display, a navigation system, Dolby 5.1 surround sound and third-row audio controls.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2009 GMC Acadia can be had with either front-wheel drive or AWD. This year brings a new 3.6-liter V6 with direct injection that makes 288 hp and 270 pound-feet of torque, spread over a broad rpm range. It's matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. Though GMC has built its image around tough trucks, the AWD version of the Acadia is geared more for foul-weather driving than boulder-bashing. The system automatically varies the torque split from 90 percent front/10 percent rear to 35/65, respectively, as available traction dictates.

The front-drive 2009 Acadia has an EPA fuel economy estimate of 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined. The AWD version rates just one mpg less. The Acadia's towing capacity, at 4,500 pounds when properly equipped, should be enough for most folks.


Standard safety features include antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and the OnStar communications system.

In government crash tests, the Acadia was all aces, scoring five stars (out of five) in all frontal- and side-impact tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The attractive cabin boasts logical controls and mostly solid materials and build quality, though a few lower-grade plastic pieces can still be found. Thanks to its space-efficient design, the GMC Acadia provides large-sedan-like comfort for all passengers. A third-row seat is standard, and one may choose between seven- and eight-passenger configurations. The 60/40-split second-row bench allows eight to ride, while opting for the captain's chairs reduces capacity to seven. Additionally, access to that third row is eased by wide rear doors and a sliding second-row seat. Although taller folks in the way back may wish for more thigh support, the accommodations back there are much better than those of most crossovers or traditional SUVs.

Cargo capacity is abundant, with nearly 117 cubic feet available with all seats down, and a still-very-respectable 24 cubic feet behind the third-row seat if all are raised.

Driving Impressions

While the 2009 GMC Acadia isn't exactly an overgrown sport sedan, it's easy and pleasant to drive, especially considering the vehicle's size and 4,700-pound curb weight. Those planning on towing a trailer will want to consider the SLT versions, which feature variable-effort power steering to make quick work of maneuvering.

On the open road, we've found that the optional 19-inch wheels increase the crossover's bling factor, but they also compromise the Acadia's otherwise comfortable ride quality, turning it into a somewhat jarring experience that many target buyers won't enjoy. Our only other complaint regards the programming of the six-speed automatic, whose downshifts can be a bit lethargic unless prodded by a sharp boot to the gas.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Good & bad points

by on
Vehicle: 2009 GMC Acadia SLT-2 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

Overall, while I like many of the practical, daily-use aspects of the Acadia, which is why I ended up buying this car (see fave features below), the mechanical unreliability would probably cause me not to buy a GMC again. I was hoping American car manufacturers had figured out the quality-thing. In the past, we've owned several Toyotas & Hondas and, while I'm "all American", next time I'll go back to the more reliable brands.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Waste of my money

by on
Vehicle: 2009 GMC Acadia SLE-1 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

I purchased this vehicle with 30,000 miles 2 1/2 years ago with all of my savings. I wanted a vehicle that was sturdy, built well and going to last me at least 4 years. Now, 2 1/2 yrs later the transmission is blown, it needs a timing belt (which requires dropping the engine), rack and pinion needs replacing, both rear control arms are bad, and the catalytic converter is bad. This is besides the 10 other times its been into the dealer or repair shop in the 2 1/2 years for other problems. Now this vehicle is worth nothing for trade in and I have no choice but to pay over $6,000 in repairs. I spent $28,000 on this car, for what?!?! Two years of nothing but trouble. Never again GMC

2009 gmc acadia fire

by on
Vehicle: 2009 GMC Acadia SLT-1 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

One month ago I took my 2009 GMC Acadia to the dealer because I noticed a smell and steam coming from it. They did some minor repairs and wanted me to bring it back in a few days for more work as they spotted a small oil leak but couldn't figure out where it was coming from. The next day after driving the vehicle 20 miles when I put it into park there was smoke coming through the vents. It quickly went from what appeared to be overheating, although no warning lights ever came on, to a full fire! I was able to get my children and sister out of the vehicle. I called 911 and fire responders put the fire out. Thankfully no one was injured.

Review of 2009 acadia @

by on
Vehicle: 2009 GMC Acadia SLE-1 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

We're the 2nd owners of this car; we picked it up at around 63k. In the last 1.5 years, we've definitely had a few things go wrong with it that were out of the norm. 1) Ignition coils 3 & 3 went bad and had to be replaced along with corresponding spark plugs. 2) 2 of the 3 seat belt housings in the 2nd row seats broke. Seat belt mechanism still worked though. 3) Rough idle due some minor sludging; this was remedied with a good fuel injector cleaning and oil change. 4) Catalytic converter kicked back a low performance code and was subsequently replaced. Good thing we bought it from to include an extended warranty which covered it all. Sad, but we really like the car otherwise.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Time to sell...maybe???

by on
Vehicle: 2009 GMC Acadia SLE-1 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

I have an '09 Acadia,well pleased.Had only one problem-rattle in A pillar.Dealer replaced trim-fixed.Headlight recall.No big deal.Bulletin/recall notifying possible stretching of timing chain.Took car in to reset computer for more frequent oil changes.I change more often than recommended anyway.Talked to mechanic,he hadn't gotten one back in yet for repair but said engine had to come out to replace chain.Power train warranty increased by GM to 100K.Here's my problem.We don't travel much.My car is just about to turn 26K miles so by the time any major problem occurs my warranty will have run out.Is it time to sell this car which is now in excellent condition?

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Don't waste your time or

by on
Vehicle: 2009 GMC Acadia SLT-2 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

We are a family of 5 and my husband I wanted to purchase a vehicle that was not a minivan. With this in mind we looked for vehicles that had the 2nd row captain chairs and were in our price range. After searching we set our hearts on the Acadia. Sadly two days after purchasing the low tire pressure signal kept coming on. We had to return to the dealer for a spark plug to be replaced. However, when my husband picked up the car the next day all things went down hill. He left the dealership and the the car stalled. We were told that there was a problem with the transmission. Four weeks later and they were still repairing the transmission. Thats when we returned the car. So disappointed!!

Talk About The 2009 Acadia

2009 GMC Acadia Discussions See all Started By

I have the factory installed GPS. We have rarely driven the vehicle out of town, and it has less than 34,000 miles on it. The problem I have is the GPS has never worked properly. It directs me to tur?...

The 2007 GMC Acadia--no V8 yet, but just wait for the 09 Denali. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)...

I am looking to downsize my 03 Expedition (which I just love love!) because it has 95K miles. I am interested in the Acadia but after reading forums on this site and acadiaforum.net I am a little nerv...

Gas Mileage


  • 17
  • cty
  • 24
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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