2013 GMC Acadia SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2013 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 Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2013 GMC Acadia

  • Like its almost identical cousins from Buick and Chevy, the three-row 2013 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; massive cargo area.

  • Cons

    Large size hampers maneuverability.

  • What's New for 2013

    For 2013, the GMC Acadia receives freshened front and rear styling, updated audio and navigation controls, improved cabin materials, a new front-center airbag and a few more standard features. A slight trim level shuffle takes place as well, as the former base SL trim is replaced with the new SLE-1.

Full 2013 GMC Acadia Review

What's New for 2013

For 2013, the GMC Acadia receives freshened front and rear styling, updated audio and navigation controls, improved cabin materials, a new front-center airbag and a few more standard features. A slight trim level shuffle takes place as well, as the former base SL trim is replaced with the new SLE-1.


Able to handle tasks ranging from taking a big family on vacation to handling all of their purchases from Costco the week before, large crossover SUVs are vehicular utility players. Combining the roomy passenger- and cargo-hauling abilities of a minivan with the rugged good looks of an SUV, it's no wonder that big crossovers have become hugely popular. And among them, the 2013 GMC Acadia ranks as one of the best.

From outward appearances, the 2013 Acadia looks almost fully redesigned. Highlights include a bolder-looking grille, new LED running lamps and rear glass that distinctively wraps around the back. The interior also receives the nip/tuck treatment, with sculpted surfaces and shapes integrated more fluidly into the overall design, and additional features including a new touchscreen infotainment interface (GMC's "Intellilink") at the driver's disposal.

The rest of the Acadia remains largely unchanged and that's a good thing. Interior cargo capacity continues to be a top draw, with an impressive 116 cubic feet available behind the first-row seats. We like the way the Acadia drives, too, as its comfortable ride quality and 281-horsepower V6 put this big GMC right at home on city streets and on the highway.

Consumers should know that the 2013 GMC Acadia is actually one of a set of General Motors triplets, as the Buick Enclave and Chevy Traverse share the same platform and running gear. The Chevy presents the most affordable option, while the Buick goes uptown with its luxury persona, providing a more sumptuous cabin. The Acadia offers an agreeable middle ground, along with ruggedly handsome styling that reflects the brand's truck heritage. Choosing among the three will likely come down to your styling preference, pricing and/or dealer experience.

Still, you'd be wise to check out our top choice, the well-rounded 2013 Ford Flex and the more athletic 2013 Mazda CX-9. The Dodge Durango and Ford Explorer 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 2013 GMC Acadia around, at least it's hard to go wrong.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2013 GMC Acadia is a large crossover SUV offered in five trims: SLE-1, SLE-2, SLT-1, SLT-2 and Denali. An eight-passenger seating configuration with a second-row bench seat is standard on the base SLE-1 and optional on the rest, which have a standard seven-passenger configuration with second-row captain's chairs.

The SLE-1 comes standard with 18-inch wheels, automatic headlights, integrated blind-spot mirrors, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, privacy glass, keyless entry, cruise control, rear manual air-conditioning control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, OnStar emergency telematics, Bluetooth connectivity, a 6.5-inch touchscreen display and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, HD radio, a USB port and an auxiliary audio jack.

The SLE-2 adds remote vehicle start, a power liftgate, an eight-way power driver seat, a two-way power passenger seat (manual recline), an auto-dimming rearview mirror and the Intellilink electronics interface that includes voice controls and smartphone app integration.

The SLT-1 adds 19-inch wheels, foglamps, variable-effort steering, heated sideview mirrors (with turn signal repeaters), 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.

The SLT-2 includes power-folding mirrors, driver memory functions, an eight-way power passenger seat and access to additional options. These add-ons 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 Acadia trims except the SLE-1. 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 2013 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.

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 16/23/18.


Antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front seat side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags for all three rows are standard on all Acadias, as is one year of GM's OnStar service, including turn-by-turn navigation and hands-free phone connectivity. All but the SLE-1 also have a front-center airbag that inflates between the driver and right front passenger for additional protection in a side-impact collision. The SLT-2 and Denali also feature standard side blind-spot monitoring.

In crash tests performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Acadia earned the highest rating of "Good" in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2013 GMC Acadia features an attractive new interior. Most touch-surfaces are decently padded and a bit better in terms of quality than what you'll find on the Traverse. Poor rear visibility has long been an Acadia issue, though this year's model is slightly better thanks to the new Acadia's unique wraparound rear windows.

All infotainment functions are controlled by a new touchscreen display in the dash. The Intellilink interface, which allows smartphone radio app integration, features a clean layout and intuitive menu structure. Touch inputs are occasionally slow or missed entirely, however, making the interface a bit frustrating to use.

Front row passengers will enjoy abundant head- and legroom, as will second-row occupants, but the middle row seat cushions are a bit low. Sliding those seats all the way back alleviates this issue, but effectively kills third-row legroom. The slide release is also difficult to access. The narrow, flat third-row seats are easily deployed and stowed, but are best suited to kids and smaller adults.

The Acadia scores points for generous cargo capacity. Even with the third-row seats in place, it can carry up to 24 cubic feet of luggage. That figure jumps to 70 cubes with the rearmost seats folded flat and a cavernous 116 cubes with the second row stowed.

Driving Impressions

Like the other large crossovers from General Motors, the 2013 GMC Acadia delivers a nice balance between secure handling and a comfortable ride. Even so, you're always aware 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. 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 powerful V6, as it provides willing acceleration in almost all situations and achieves pretty good fuel economy.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

7 of 24 people found this review helpful

Worst "denali" ever

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Vehicle: 2013 GMC Acadia Denali 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

I have purchased more than my share of vehicles from GMC, Pontiac, Jaguar, BMW, and Cadillac. I have determined that there are two automobiles that I have purchased new and wish I never did. One was a 2007 Jaguar XK (it was a new model of their high performance car) and the other is this Acadia “Denali”The first thing to break on the Acadia was the cheap or improper installation of the rubber pad on the foot actuated emergency brake. Then the Roof leaked due to improper installation...little things either break off or were improperly installed. Terrible QC at factory. Sluggish motor that cuts out frequently.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

We love our 2013 acadia

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Vehicle: 2013 GMC Acadia Denali 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

We bought our AWD Acadia Denali in February, cashing in our GM rewards and trading in our 2010 Acura MDX. In 2010, we decided to trade our 2003 Acura MDX. We looked at our recent MDX and the Acadia, which we loved the looks of. Unfortunately, the cheap plastic interior was a deal breaker for us. We loved both MDX's, but the 3rd row was a joke and it didn't have enough cargo room for our family trips. We were thrilled to see the Acadia Denali redesigned for 2013! The interior is now on par with the MDX and while it's not quite as nimble or quick, it's still a lot of fun to drive. My husband and I both love this vehicle and so do the kids! It's a real eye catcher in the White Diamond, too!

4 of 8 people found this review helpful

Sunroof leaks

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Vehicle: 2013 GMC Acadia SLT-1 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

Only had our Acadia for 3 months rained all day one day while at work, on the way home water was leaking through one of the lights over the third row seats. It has been in the shop for a week now and STILL not fixed, spoke with the service manager today, and he is not sure when it will be ready. I read reviews from past model years that had some leaking problems, and apparently GMC has not fixed them yet.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Refresh done well

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Vehicle: 2013 GMC Acadia Denali 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

We previously drove a Buick Enclave for 5 years, so we knew what to expect with the Lambda platform which is shared between the Chevy Traverse, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave. The refresh has given this CUV what we consider a more truck like presence which appeals to both the male and female driver in our family. Fit and finish is what one would expect from GM with improvements made to the transmission in the Acadia (no more searching for gears up hills), less flashy wheel offerings and, better integrated telematics (bluetooth, nav, DVD). Overall one of the best values for the content and quality that GM now offers in this segment.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

Steering and rear tail door

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Vehicle: 2013 GMC Acadia Denali 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

Turn the wheel all the way to either side and it clunks, they say it's normal. It scared the heck out of me first time. This is not normal. I'm sure there'll be a recall in the future, there should be. Beware til they fix this problem, if they fix it. Metal to metal coming from rear hatch area when I go over bumps. Four days they've been trying to figure that one out, they still have it. I wouldn't recommend it at this time. I should have stuck with my Yukon. 2013 has not been a good year for the Acadia, looks good but looks ain't everything.

21 of 53 people found this review helpful

Not worthy of the denali

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Vehicle: 2013 GMC Acadia Denali 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

Downsizing from driving Yukon XL Denalis since 2003, I was excited to see the Denali trim in the medium sized Acadia. I tossed between the Benz 350, Nissan Pathfinder, Infiniti XJ and the Acadia. My Yukons never let me down, so I was a little bias'd toward the GMC line. The Acadia is a very nice looking cross-over, but as they say beauty is only skin deep. I have driven it 1000 miles and all I can say is shame on you GMC. It looks Denali worthy coming up very short when you look past the exterior shine. I would give the car high marks if it were not in the Denali line.

Talk About The 2013 Acadia

Gas Mileage


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

Identifix Reliability Ratings

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