2009 GMC Acadia Review

Pros & Cons

  • Plenty of passenger and cargo space, smooth ride, easy to drive considering its size, above-average tow capacity for a crossover.
  • Some subpar interior trim, transmission can be slow to downshift.
List Price Range
$5,995 - $8,238

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

2009 GMC Acadia models

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.

2009 Highlights

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.

Performance & mpg

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.

Safety

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.

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2009 GMC Acadia.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Like a Toddler - This car needs constant attention
Tiffany,01/14/2016
SLT-2 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
In 2014 we bought a 2009 with 60,000 miles. One owner - low miles. Nearing a year later and not even putting 10,000 miles on it we have had to have continuous repairs done. Luckily we purchased the extended warranty offered thru the bank. The navigation went out. The front day running light burned out. The lift gate stopped working. Replaced the entire exhaust system. Replaced the Rack and Pinion, tie rods, steering hose. 2017 - the transmission went out and the rear heat did not work and was blowing cold air. Had to get that all fixed and was covered the warranty thru our bank. 2018 - still driving the same vehicle. Just recently had to install a new engine flex pipe. Warranty didn't cover this $1,000 repair. I keep wondering "What's Next"? 2019 - still driving the same vehicle. Alternator went out cost $1,500. Catalytic converter went out along with needing new spark plugs $1,200. Buyer Beware!
Power Steering
hayley1,03/02/2011
I bought my 2009 GMC Acadia on December 27, 2010. Before I made may first payment my power steering went out. Got it back had it two weeks, and once again the power steering went out almost caused us to flip. It has been in the shop more than I have had it. It only has 24,000 miles. This car makes me very nervous! Not for sure I even want it back this round.
Waste of my money
wilsonmom,07/01/2014
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
No wonder GM went bankrupt
Dan,10/31/2009
We've had the car for about a year and a half. Put plenty of miles on it. It breaks every month. Its been back to the dealer 16 times since we've had it. Leaks, trans problems, failed water pump, electrical problems, brake problems, rear hatch lifters, etc. Whenever I see someone who has put all 10s in their edmunds review, I immediately discount those reviews as someone who is congratulating themselves for a purchase, rather than reviewing a car. The amount of lemon law lawsuits over the Acadia is stunning. Too bad actually, because this could have been a great car, but unfortunately, GM has too many problems as a company to take care of their customers.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2009 GMC Acadia features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2009 GMC Acadia

Used 2009 GMC Acadia Overview

The Used 2009 GMC Acadia is offered in the following submodels: Acadia SUV. Available styles include SLT-2 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A), SLE-1 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A), SLT-1 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A), SLT-2 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A), SLT-1 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A), and SLE-1 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2009 GMC Acadia?

Price comparisons for Used 2009 GMC Acadia trim styles:

  • The Used 2009 GMC Acadia SLT-1 is priced between $5,995 and$8,238 with odometer readings between 103567 and192499 miles.
  • The Used 2009 GMC Acadia SLE-1 is priced between $6,000 and$6,000 with odometer readings between 184262 and184262 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2009 GMC Acadias are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2009 GMC Acadia for sale near. There are currently 4 used and CPO 2009 Acadias listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $5,995 and mileage as low as 103567 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2009 GMC Acadia.

Can't find a used 2009 GMC Acadias you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used GMC Acadia for sale - 4 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $17,146.

Find a used GMC for sale - 1 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $15,374.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC Acadia for sale - 12 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $8,229.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC for sale - 4 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $8,764.

Should I lease or buy a 2009 GMC Acadia?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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Check out GMC Acadia lease specials