2012 GMC Acadia SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2012 GMC Acadia SUV

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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 2012 GMC Acadia

  • Like almost identical models from Buick and Chevy, the three-row 2012 GMC Acadia offers a winning combination of comfort, features, cargo space and performance in a utility-style package.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Compliant ride; seating for up to eight passengers; adult-friendly third-row seat; massive cargo area; top safety scores.

  • Cons

    Large size hampers maneuverability; some minor interior annoyances; compromised rear visibility.

  • What's New for 2012

    Other than receiving some minor feature changes, the GMC Acadia carries over unchanged for 2012.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Ready to trade in...

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Vehicle: 2011 GMC Acadia

We purchased the 2011 Denali brand-new, kept it well and were rewarded with poor quality. The first year was fine--the lack of technology was a nuisance, but the car fit my very tall family, so I was willing to overlook that. But simple things like the non-qwerty keypad in the CD-based nav system really wore on me. GM stayed solvent by skimping on technology, and it's painfully apparent in this model year. Our '06 BMW 3-series has better technology. Now at 36k, it's falling apart all over!

Great suv

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Vehicle: 2011 GMC Acadia

Loved the Acadia. Plenty of room for all. Smooth driving. Leased it and had no issues to report. Recommend to all

Don't do it

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Vehicle: 2011 GMC Acadia

Purchased a used (28k miles) 2011 Acadia in April 2012. Test drove and was tempted to buy a Toyota Highlander or VW Touareg but loved the body style and features of the Acadia. DVD player broke after a week of owning it. Fortunately it was just barely covered under warranty. A couple months later, at 300 miles past warranty the back hatch broke (wouldn't open manually or remotely). $600 to fix. May 2013, a year after buying the vehicle we're on our 2nd time fixing the air conditioning (approx $1000/time), and there's an oil drip.

Smart & sporty drive

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Vehicle: 2011 GMC Acadia

Love this vehicle. It is quiet, smooth and comfortable for all passengers. You get the perks of a sporty sleek look without the rough truck ride while preserving the practicality of a large SUV or truck space and utility.

Great suv, almost a homerun!

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Vehicle: 2011 GMC Acadia

I bought my 2011 Acadia Denali used with just 16,000 miles on it. I am pleased with vehicle, yet with this being a Denali model and trading in an '02 Sierra Denali on this 2011, I feel that GMC could have grabbed a few options from the parts bin. I like the acceleration from the direct injected V6. gas mileage is not bad for a vehicle this size. I am averaging 18-20 MPG in town. The wice averages about 15-17 MPG. The bluetooth phone connections are great. I also like the reclining second row seats and the sliding seats also. I know in my Sierra, it had every option available for 2002, teh Acadia should have it all also. Good product, like most GM products, it could use a couple more.

9 of 18 people found this review helpful


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Vehicle: 2011 GMC Acadia

I leased my 2011 Acadia in July of 2010, straight off the truck, first GMC I have ever driven. I was at the time driving an Explorer 7pass., that I was in love with and swore by. I was actually going to buy another one. However just paying attention to the different SUV's on the road, I liked the look and test drove a Saturn Outlook first. Then the GMC Acadia caught my eye. I went to the dealer to test drive one, and the next day my mind was made up (actually after I drove it my mind was made up) and I was the proud owner of a beautiful, stylish, comfortable, roomy, well handling, just outstanding vehicle in every aspect and detail. Can you tell I love my Acadia?

Gas Mileage


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

Full 2012 GMC Acadia Review

What's New for 2012

Other than receiving some minor feature changes, the GMC Acadia carries over unchanged for 2012.


The family hauler has changed a lot over the years, with wagons making way for minivans and then truck-based SUVs. Today, crossovers have combined the attributes of minivans and SUVs and then adopted the visual cues of the wagon. One of the best of these modern family haulers is the 2012 GMC Acadia, a large crossover that boasts a refined ride and an enormous cabin that can fit up to eight adults.

The Acadia's carlike unibody architecture means it's lighter and more space-efficient than heavier, trucklike SUVs like the GMC Yukon. As such, the Acadia offers more passenger and cargo space than its GMC stable mate, along with a more pleasant driving experience, better maneuverability, higher fuel economy and more secure handling. The Acadia is roomier than other competing large crossovers as well.

It's important to note that the 2012 GMC Acadia is one of three GM vehicles with this body style and a 288-horsepower V6. The Buick Enclave and Chevy Traverse differ in styling, interior design, some feature availability and the quality of some cabin materials, reinforcing Buick's luxury identity and Chevrolet's plain-spoken utility, while the GMC promotes its truck heritage. Mechanically, these vehicles are essentially identical. When it comes to picking one, the decision really comes down to style, price and which dealer treats you best.

Still, you'd be wise to check out the more athletic Mazda CX-9 or our top choice, the well-rounded Ford Flex. The Ford Explorer and Dodge Durango don't offer quite as much interior space as any of the above models, but each is certainly desirable in its own right. All these choices may make your search for a family hauler a little tougher, but with crossovers like the GMC Acadia around, at least it's hard to go wrong.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 GMC Acadia is a large crossover SUV offered in five trims: base SL, SLE, SLT-1, SLT-2 and Denali. An eight-passenger seating configuration with the second-row bench seat is standard on the base SL and optional on the rest, which get a standard seven-passenger configuration with second-row captain's chairs.

The Acadia SL comes standard with 18-inch wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, privacy glass, keyless entry, cruise control, rear air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, OnStar emergency telematics and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack. The Preferred package adds remote ignition, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and Bluetooth.

The Acadia SLE gets the Preferred package standard, plus a power liftgate, rear parking sensors, an eight-way power driver seat, a two-way power passenger seat (manual recline), an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a rearview camera.

The SLT-1 adds 19-inch wheels, upgraded steering, heated mirrors with turn signal repeaters and integrated blind-spot mirrors, tri-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery in the first and second rows (third row vinyl), heated front seats, an enhanced trip computer, rear seat audio controls and a 10-speaker Bose sound system with an iPod/USB audio interface. The SLT-2 includes power-folding mirrors, driver memory functions, a four-way power passenger seat and access to additional options. These include ventilated front seats and the Technology package, which adds xenon headlights, a head-up display and cargo area audio controls.

The Denali includes all of the SLT-2's optional items, plus unique styling flourishes inside and out, 20-inch chrome-clad wheels, increased sound deadening, a wood-trim steering wheel and a panoramic sunroof.

That sunroof is optional on all other Acadias except the base SL. The same goes for the rear-seat entertainment system, which includes a Bose surround-sound audio system. The SLT trims and the Denali can also be equipped with a navigation system, which includes real-time traffic and a touchscreen interface.

Powertrains and Performance

Every 2012 GMC Acadia is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 288 hp and 270 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic and front-wheel drive are standard, but all-wheel drive is optional.

In Edmunds performance testing of a mechanically identical front-wheel-drive Chevy Traverse, it took 8.2 seconds to go from zero to 60 mph. According to EPA estimates, a front-drive Acadia will return 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined. Opting for all-wheel drive drops this to 16/23/19.


Antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front seat side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags for all three rows are all standard on the 2012 GMC Acadia. Also standard is one year of GM's OnStar service, including turn-by-turn navigation and hands-free phone connectivity.

In Edmunds brake testing, an Acadia with 18-inch wheels and tires came to a stop in 135 feet. The Ford Flex and Mazda CX-9 perform better. Opting for 20-inch wheels and tires brings the Acadia closer to those competitors with a 130-foot stop.

In government crash tests, the Acadia earned a top five-star rating for overall performance, with four out of five stars being given for front-impact protection and five stars for side-impact protection.

The Acadia also aced the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, where it earned the highest rating of "Good" in both the frontal-offset and side-impact tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

Inside the spacious cabin, the 2012 Acadia has an attractive layout, with a two-tone color scheme highlighted by accents of chrome trim (the Denali also includes wood-grain accents). Unfortunately, this trim is prone to reflect the sun into the eyes of the driver and front-seat passenger. Two other downsides include small and indistinct buttons for the audio and climate controls, and outward visibility that's more compromised than that of other competing vehicles. But in general, build quality is strong and the materials used in the Acadia are a bit better than those in its Chevy Traverse sibling.

Depending on the configuration chosen, the Acadia seats either seven passengers (with second-row captain's chairs) or eight passengers (with a split-folding second-row bench seat) in three rows. The first- and second-row seats are quite comfortable and supportive, and the split-folding third-row seat -- which is often a kids-only zone in traditional SUVs -- can accommodate adults in reasonable comfort.

Maximum cargo capacity is enormous at 117 cubic feet with the second- and third-row seats folded down. Even with all three rows of seating in use, there are a useful 24 cubic feet of luggage space. In total, the Acadia is a far more practical vehicle for people and cargo than the bigger GMC Yukon.

Driving Impressions

Like the other large crossovers from General Motors, the 2012 GMC Acadia delivers a nice balance between secure handling and a comfortable ride. Even so, you're always reminded that this is a large, heavy vehicle (it weighs nearly 5,000 pounds with all-wheel drive), and it feels a little more cumbersome than other large crossovers on the market. Still, compared to the truck-based GMC Yukon, the Acadia is a much nicer and easier vehicle to drive. We have no complaints about the 288-hp V6, as it provides willing acceleration in almost all situations and achieves pretty good fuel economy.

Talk About The 2012 Acadia

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