2015 GMC Acadia SUV Review

2015 GMC Acadia SUV

Edmunds Summary Review of the 2015 GMC Acadia SLE-1 SUV

  • With a big cargo hold, a comfortable ride and generous standard features, the three-row 2015 GMC Acadia ably meets the needs of crossover SUV shoppers. It's one of our top picks.

  • Pros

    Compliant ride quality; generous cargo capacity, even behind the third row; seating for up to eight passengers; top crash test scores.

  • Cons

    Can feel cumbersome to drive; small, antiquated audio and climate controls; occasionally finicky infotainment system.

  • What's New for 2015

    The 2015 GMC Acadia is essentially unchanged.


If your family has outgrown its standard five-passenger vehicle, and you just can't muster the strength to purchase a minivan, you've likely begun to consider a large crossover SUV. With better fuel economy than a truck-based SUV, three-row passenger utility and respectable towing prowess, the 2015 GMC Acadia is quite capable and appealing.

One of the Acadia's signature calling cards is its smooth and quiet ride. Unlike some massive truck-based (body-on-frame) SUVs, it can be driven daily on pitted freeways and uneven asphalt in comfort. Along those highways, you'll be able to carry quite a bit of luggage, too, as the Acadia has one of the most spacious interiors in the class. The Acadia slots between its platform-mates (the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse) in terms of luxury and price, but it is still considerably well equipped and seriously spacious. And while the Acadia isn't a heavy-duty hauler, it can still tow up to 5,200 pounds when properly equipped, a respectable number in the crossover segment.

Because they're so mechanically similar, the Enclave and the Traverse deserve a look as well. They essentially provide identical capabilities to the GMC with slightly varying equipment and aesthetics. The sporty 2015 Mazda CX-9, the wagonlike 2015 Ford Flex, the handsome 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe or the well-rounded 2015 Toyota Highlander are all worth checking out as well. The 2015 GMC Acadia is right in the mix, though, and it's a great choice if serious cargo capacity, a comfortable ride and seating for eight are your priorities.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2015 GMC Acadia is a large crossover SUV offered in three basic trims: SLE, SLT and Denali. The SLE and SLT are further subdivided into SLE-1, SLE-2, SLT-1 and SLT-2 trims.

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, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, rear privacy glass, keyless entry, cruise control, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, OnStar telematics, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a 6.5-inch touchscreen display and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, a USB port and an auxiliary audio jack. There are also dual USB charge-only ports on the rear of the center console.

On top of the SLE-1's equipment the SLE-2 adds remote vehicle start, a power liftgate, an eight-way power driver seat (with two-way lumbar), a two-way power passenger seat (manual recline), an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and the Intellilink electronics interface that includes voice controls, Bluetooth audio connectivity and smartphone app integration.

Further up the ladder, the SLT-1 adds 19-inch wheels, foglamps, variable-effort steering, heated mirrors, tri-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery in the first and second rows (third row vinyl), heated front seats, an eight-way power passenger seat, rear-seat audio controls with headphone jacks and a 10-speaker Bose sound system.

The SLT-2 adds power-folding mirrors (with a driver-side auto-dimming mirror), driver memory functions, a heated steering wheel and access to additional options. These add-ons include ventilated front seats and the Technology package, which includes 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, dual exhaust tips, a panoramic sunroof, forward collision alert system, lane departure warning system, increased sound insulation, a wood-trimmed steering wheel and a navigation system.

That sunroof is optional on all other Acadia trims except the SLE-1. The SLT trims and the Denali can also be equipped with a rear-seat entertainment system that includes a Bose surround-sound audio system, a 120-volt power outlet and a navigation system.

Powertrains and Performance

Every 2015 GMC Acadia is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine. In the Denali it produces 288 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, while in the SLE and SLT trims it produces 281 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic and front-wheel drive are standard, and all-wheel drive is optional.

In Edmunds performance testing of the related Buick Enclave (with 288 hp and all-wheel drive), we measured a 0-60 mph time of 8.6 seconds, which is average among large crossovers with a base V6. Properly equipped, the Acadia can tow up to 5,200 pounds.

The EPA estimates a front-drive Acadia will return 19 mpg combined (17 city/24 highway). All-wheel-drive Acadias also get 19 mpg combined but drop by 1 mpg on both city and highway ratings (16/23).


Standard safety equipment on the Acadia includes antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front seat side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags, a rearview camera and rear parking sensors. All but the SLE-1 also have an innovative front-center airbag that inflates between the driver and right front passenger for additional protection in a side-impact collision.

The standard OnStar system includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, an emergency button, stolen vehicle locator and active intervention, and remote door unlock.

The SLT-2 and Denali also feature standard side blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert. The Denali comes standard with forward collision alert and lane-departure warning systems, which are optional on the SLTs.

In government crash tests, the Acadia earned a top five-star rating for overall performance, with five out of five stars for total front-impact protection and five stars for side-impact protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, the Acadia was given the highest rating of "Good" in moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. Its seat/head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Acadia features an attractive interior, as most of the surfaces you're likely to touch or lean an elbow on are padded and of solid quality. Most three-row vehicles have extremely limited rearward visibility, and the Acadia is no exception. As such, the standard rearview camera is a huge help.

IntelliLink controls the entertainment, phone and navigation functions in most Acadia models. It provides smartphone radio app integration and features a clean layout and intuitive menu structure but it is sometimes slow to process touch inputs (and in a few instances, wholly unresponsive), which can make it frustrating to use.

Front occupants will enjoy abundant head- and legroom, as will most second-row occupants, but the middle row seat cushions are mounted low, reducing comfort for adults. Sliding those seats all the way back alleviates this issue, but effectively kills third-row legroom. Getting to the third row is reasonably easy, even if the second-row slide/release is difficult to access. The third row is actually roomy enough for two adults to fit in comfortably (as long as second-row occupants are generous), though it's realistically best suited for those of smaller stature or children. This is especially true if you want to fit three across.

When it comes to cargo space, the Acadia is definitely a leader in its class. Even with the third-row seats in place, it can carry more luggage than most rivals. Space remains abundant when lowering either the second or third row, as the Acadia offers more cargo space than any crossover apart from its Buick and Chevrolet siblings.

Driving Impressions

The 2015 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, and it feels a little more cumbersome in the parking lot and around turns than other three-row crossovers.

The V6 engine has enough power to get the Acadia up to speed on the highway but it lacks punch during authoritative passing maneuvers, especially when full of cargo and passengers. It can also sound harsh and unrefined under hard acceleration. In addition, the automatic transmission can be slow to react when a quick downshift is needed, though its gearchanges are at least smooth. Most owners will get used to these characteristics, but if you want more in the way of performance, a CX-9 or Flex is probably more your speed.

Reviews from owners of the 2015 GMC Acadia SLE-1 SUV

Great suv

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Vehicle: 2015 GMC Acadia

This is a great reliable SUV. Sharp looking an easy to maintain.

Disappointed in the 2015 gmc acadia denali

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Vehicle: 2015 GMC Acadia

My wife loves how it looks, loves the space, and loves not having to drive a minivan but after 15K miles, the alignment is out, the chrome trimming is falling off and has to be replaced, and the entertainment system is glitchy and is starting to squeal when it spins a DVD. The engine on the Acadia is WAY under powered, the navigation is cumbersome and difficult to use, the various other controls are antiquated, the collusion alert and lane departure are too sensitive and provide a lot of false alerts, but, the heads-up display and the a/c chairs are pretty cool. Our 2012 Acadia LT was much better. For as much as this cost it is a big let down. Nice job screwing this one up GMC! Last time I'm buying domestic.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Consumer report rating on competitive vehicle

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Vehicle: 2015 GMC Acadia

We were shopping for a SUV that would be able to tow a 4500 boat. We came very close in buying an Acadia until we looked at the competitiion. We chose a new 2015 Dodge Durango Limited because it offered significantly more options for the money and better towing capacity. The Durango also scored better in the Consumer Report ratings as well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

2015 denali acadia: nothing much better.

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Vehicle: 2015 GMC Acadia

The Pros: Build quality, engine and transmission are reliable and well balanced, ride, cabin comfort, seat configuration (dropping seats and re-erecting them for cargo space configuration is superbly easy), handling, super quiet cabin, predictable handling, lack of roll or sway, great towing, superb acceleration, great a/c (a must in south Florida), HUD display (it's amazing how much we've come to love it), the lighting is great, the backup camera is superb, the lumbar support and overall seat design is as good it can be, seat belts are easy to use and comfortable, cooled seats are really great, navigation is very good. The Cons: Unless you bought a badly designed and built car, this stuff only becomes obvious over time. The 20" tires are supposed to be maintained at 35 psi, they lose pressure (all four of them) constantly, and not over months, but over days. Put in 35 psi (measured by a good handheld pressure and the you'll be down to 34 the next day, and down 31 or 32 pounds in 7-10 days. We own a 1994 Mercedes SL500 in mint condition, and I only add air once a year. To be sure, this isn't a deal breaker, but it is a hassle and it will cause my tires to wear down faster. The dealer is aware of the problem and has no solution. I wish they would have spent a buck more and used real chrome on the exterior where they have used chrome looking plastic. This is a $52,500 car. How much would chrome add to the cost? The Envoy had an air pump built into the car. They should have left it in the Denali. The instrument panel controls, and far worse, the navigation controls are NOT accessible (meaning, you can't enter an address, ask for the location of the nearest Best Buy, etc.) once the car is in Drive and moving. You can just hear the committee of lawyers deciding it's too dangerous to have these controls active while the car is moving. So, now we have to stop on an Interstate (cars flying by at 85 mph) so we can enter an address. Does that sound safer? Or, we've have to enter the address into a tiny screen in our phones. Is that any safer? NO. NO. NO. The solution is simple. There is a pressure sensor in the passenger seat ANYWAY, so when there is someone sitting there, allow the controls in the navigation system to be active. Stop doing dumb things - stop trying to mommy us. If it's a lawsuit you're worried about, well, I just laid out the plaintiff's wining case. The sunroof is too small, and awfully noisy even at 40 mph. On the plus side, the wire mesh sun screen is unbelievably effective. The windshield wipers are noisier than they should be. It's no a deal breaker, but noise is noise, and it is somewhat bothersome. The backup camera gets wet and uselessly blurry in rain. My wife always points out that the second row should have drop down (from the back of the front seats) trays. I am sure this must be a lawyer overruled issue, as well. But, I am sure they can design a break-apart tray in case of accident. But, she's absolutely right. You need a tray for the people (read, kids) to eat and play while they sit back there. This is the third GMC SUV we've owned. We owned two Envoy (4X4) in the first decade of the 21st century, and this is our fist GMC (2X4) Acadia Denali. We liked the Envoy, but the Denali is a game changer. It's a large SUV (but, not a huge SUV like a Yukon), and will provide you with all the space you need. Our Denali has four captains seats and a bench third row. The interior is amazingly roomy, even for third row passengers. But, those sitting in the first two rows, the spaciousness and comfort is like sitting in an airliners first class cabin. This SUV is luxury car that's a pleasure to own and drive.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

Amazingly uncomfortable; poor console layout

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Vehicle: 2015 GMC Acadia

After extensive reviews of this vehicle (, consumer reports/consumer search,, it's surprising that not a single review comments on the uncomfortable headrests and unfriendly layout of the most-used console features. Front seat headrests are so uncomfortable that I contemplate selling this brand new vehicle on a weekly basis, and swapping it for similar SUV from Nissan or Toyota. Unfortunately, it's not exactly like returning a piece of clothing to a store for a refund. The headrests (both driver and passenger) cause the head to protrude so much that it creates MAJOR discomfort. I ended up removing and reversing the position of the headrest, so that it essentially faces backwards. The layout of the center console buttons are considerably cumbersome and unfriendly. For example, the front cupholder is really not usable if planning to use the 12 volt outlet (i.e., for a phone charger or radar detector). The button to open the rear lift gate is immediately next to the 12 volt outlet/front cupholder, so it can be triggered inadvertently, and is really annoying. For example, the lift gate can be opened at most inopportune time, with vehicle already parked in garage or backed up to a wall. That happened twice (first time, passenger was plugging USB cord into the receptacle, triggering the lift gate; second time removing outlet plug adapter). The front seat heaters are really nice for Chicago weather (or any cold weather), but the buttons are lower on the center console than they could be and can easily distract when trying to adjust while driving. The wifi that GMC so proudly boasts of is only 3G, which is basically useless. However, it becomes really annoying because anytime I try to use my phone (for bluetooth streaming of calls/music/Pandora) the phone's wifi connection asks to select the signal. Since the GMC is only 3G, it is never fast enough to be useful. Thus, I must turn phone's wifi connection OFF in order for the phone to work properly. That is a MAJOR pain in the ass when driving or as a passenger. Also, I find the bluetooth a bit slower than I've found in other vehicles/radios (Infiniti I35 w/aftermarket Clarion stereo, Toyota Sienna w/OEM radio, Toyota Tundra w/aftermarket Sony stereo). The handling/road holding is excellent (have driven in rain, 1-2 inches of sleet, and 3 inches of snow). It is an assuring and comforting feeling. Gas mileage is NOWHERE close to the estimated specs listed on any of the websites. I drove from Chicago to Benton Harbor, MI (all highway, avg 65-70 mph), and mpg was only 19 mpg (not the 23-24 mpg listed on websites). It is nice that the vehicle uses 87 octane gas, so that will save $ in the long run. In hindsight, I regret not test driving Nissan Pathfinder or Toyota Highlander.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

Painful!!! thank to bad seats

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Vehicle: 2015 GMC Acadia

No matter how I adjust the headrest it kills me. I'm 5'9" my other passenger 6' & we are both Extremely uncomfortable. My neck and upper back used to hurt every time I sat in the car, since it throws me off SO BAD now my muscles near and around cervical area hurt and my muscles and upper thoracic area kill! These seats were designed for obese people with back fat. Something that my passengers and I are not!

Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2015 GMC Acadia Suv in VA is:

$51.25 per month*

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