2011 GMC Acadia Review

Pros & Cons

  • Compliant ride
  • seating for up to eight passengers
  • adult-friendly split-folding third-row seat
  • massive cargo area
  • top safety scores.
  • Compromised outward visibility
  • large size hampers maneuverability
  • some lower-quality interior materials.
List Price Range
$7,900 - $12,500

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Like its platform-mates from Buick and Chevy, the three-row 2011 GMC Acadia offers a winning combination of comfort, features, cargo space and performance.

Vehicle overview

In the wake of rising fuel prices and buyers' more realistic assessments of their needs, a traditional truck-based SUV isn't the popular family vehicle it once was. While most of the shoppers who used to flock to these large, thirsty beasts would likely be well served by minivans, many are instead opting for another choice that's just as suitable: large crossovers like the 2011 GMC Acadia.

The Acadia is one of GM's "Lambda" platform triplets (the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse are the others). Like its cousins, the Acadia uses carlike unibody architecture that makes it lighter and more space-efficient than heavier, body-on-frame truck-based SUVs. As such, the Acadia offers more passenger and cargo space while also providing better handling, a more pleasant driving experience, superior crashworthiness and higher fuel economy.

Available with either front- or all-wheel drive, the Acadia is powered by a strong V6 engine. Families that take road trips will appreciate the Acadia's smooth, quiet ride. Those in the habit of transporting very large items will be grateful for the crossover's generous amount of cargo room, because maximum cargo space stands at 117 cubic feet. The Acadia's resume is rounded out by its top safety scores and ability to seat up to eight passengers.

This spacious and handsome cabin has a few weak points, however. Some of the materials are subpar and the third row, though fairly accommodating, isn't as comfortable as that in the Ford Flex. Outward visibility (admittedly a weak point in most large crossovers) falls short relative to that of other models in this segment. Lastly, driving enthusiasts might find the Acadia's handling a bit ponderous compared to lighter, more nimble rivals such as the Mazda CX-9.

Even so, these are but minor quibbles when viewed against the 2011 GMC Acadia's many strengths. The crossover faces some worthy rivals like the aforementioned 2011 Ford Flex and 2011 Mazda CX-9, as well as the new and technology-packed 2011 Ford Explorer and the more luxurious 2011 Hyundai Veracruz. We'd suggest trying them all out to see which best suits your needs. In the end, though, we suspect that the Acadia will be the best pick for many shoppers, on the strength of its impressive combination of comfort, features, cargo space and performance.

2011 GMC Acadia models

The 2011 GMC Acadia is a large crossover SUV offered in five trims: base SL, SLE, SLT-1, SLT-2 and Denali. Seven-passenger seating is the default configuration, while eight-passenger seating (substituting a fold-flat second-row bench for the standard fold-flat captain's chairs) is optional on all but the SL.

The SL comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, front and rear air-conditioning, full power accessories, cruise control, OnStar telematics (with a six-month subscription to Directions and Connections) and a six-speaker CD/MP3 stereo system with satellite radio. The SLE adds foglamps, a power liftgate, remote engine start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, power front seats (eight-way driver/two-way passenger), an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth, rear parking sensors and a back-up camera with a small rearview-mirror-integrated display.

The SLT-1 ups the ante with 19-inch wheels, heated mirrors, a variable-assist steering system, tri-zone automatic climate control, rear audio controls and headphone jacks, leather upholstery, heated front seats and a 10-speaker Bose stereo with a USB audio jack. The SLT-2 adds power-folding heated mirrors with driver-side auto-dimming, additional power adjustments for the front passenger seat, driver memory functions and a Towing Preparation package.

The plush Denali trim level adds unique body treatment (including grille, front/rear fascias, side moldings and wheel flares), 20-inch chrome wheels with black chrome accents, xenon headlights, additional sound insulation, illuminated sill plates, the "SkyScape" power front/fixed rear dual sunroofs, a head-up display, perforated leather upholstery, heated/ventilated front seats and a leather/wood steering wheel.

Many of the additional features on the upper trims can be added to the lower trims as options. Other optional highlights, depending on the trim level, include a navigation system, a rear entertainment system, a 115-volt power outlet, a surround-sound version of the Bose stereo, a second-row center console and the SkyScape sunroof.

2011 Highlights

The 2011 GMC Acadia now is available in the premium Denali trim level, which features unique styling elements and a plusher cabin. Additionally, the OnStar telematics system now includes a standard six-month subscription to Directions and Connections.

Performance & mpg

There is only one engine/transmission combination available for the GMC Acadia -- a 3.6-liter V6 mated to a six-speed automatic with manual shift control. The V6 produces 288 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque.

EPA fuel economy estimates for the front-wheel-drive Acadia are 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined. All-wheel-drive Acadia models are very close at 16/23/19 mpg. Properly equipped, the Acadia can tow up to 5,200 pounds.

Safety

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 2011 GMC Acadia, as is one year of GM's OnStar service, including turn-by-turn navigation and hands-free phone connectivity. In Edmunds brake testing, an Acadia came to a stop in 135 feet -- the Flex and CX-9 perform better.

In the government's new, more strenuous crash testing for 2011, 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.

Driving

Like the other large General Motors crossovers, the 2011 GMC Acadia hits a happy medium between secure handling and a comfortable ride. However, you'll never forget that it's a big and heavy vehicle (nearly 5,000 pounds with all-wheel drive), and it feels more cumbersome to drive than other large crossovers on the market. Opting for the larger 19- or 20-inch wheels can also degrade the Acadia's ride quality. We have no complaints about the 3.6-liter V6, as it provides willing acceleration in almost all situations.

Interior

Inside the Acadia's roomy cabin is an attractive layout in a two-tone color scheme with brushed aluminum and chrome trim (the Denali also includes wood grain accents). The instrument panel consists of dual gauges; featuring bright white numbers on a black background, these gauges are simple and easy to read. Minor complaints include a few lower-grade interior plastics and audio and climate controls that consist of too many small and similar-looking buttons.

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 a generous 117 cubic feet with the second- and third-row seats folded down. Even with all three rows of seating in use, there's a useful 24 cubic feet of luggage space.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2011 GMC Acadia.

5(35%)
4(21%)
3(14%)
2(18%)
1(12%)
3.5
51 reviews
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Most helpful consumer reviews

THOROUGH REVIEW
patrick1982,12/24/2010
Owned an 05 Honda Pilot AWD EX before this one. Test drove the new pilot, traverse, acadia, enclave, 4runner, highlander, cx9. The Acadia out-performed all these. Great interior space, great features if you like the additional XM radio and ONstar services. No lag on the throttle... immediate response, steady cornering and level steering. Superb traction control system; disengages acceleration when slipping on ice or when lack of traction, stops engine RPM shootups. ABS system works great. It does weigh nearly 7,000 lbs so braking is a bit more noticable at higher speeds (nose dive). After 5,000+ miles I am averaging 16.3mpg / city and 20.2mpg hwy cruising at 70-75mph...23 or 24mpg as stated??? yeah right! Overall safety specs are sufficient; airbags all around, great framework. well thought out interior heating and cooling system, is loud enough to overpower a bluetooth phonecall when turned all the way up. remote start, auto liftgate great features except when parked too close to something. bad side depth perception on back up cam. low road noise, good stock tires (goodyear fortera comfort tread); bad for rain, snow and ice... will hydroplane or loose traction at 45mph+ on standing water. upgrade tires to fortera triple tread (my opinion). steering wheel controls are oddly placed. front wipers on left stick, rear wipers on center console below a/c system controls, why? volume and radio controls in a good consolidated location on steering wheel. good location for cruise control buttons. three locations for liftgate operations (key, on liftgate, and next to rear wipers.. why?) auto dimming rear view mirror great, black lower trim around Acadia difficult to clean need special cleaner from autoparts store. a little above average accessory selection, great audio even without BOSE, radio buttons can be confusing, double vanity lighted shades, dual exhaust great feature. battery location inconvenient (center of car between 2nd row captain seats), deep lubricated slide rails for 2nd row captain seats, much debris can be lodged or stuck in there, not good. inside material "plastic" poor choice of material, easily scuffed, marked up and just unsightly. Maintenance costs are average for this type of vehicle. Great interior storage capacity (glovebox, center console armrest area and rear liftgate area.
Maintenance costs out of control
Peter,10/11/2016
SLT-1 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
The frequency and exorbitant cost of maintenance has made the Acadia our worst car purchase to date. After a couple domestic vehicles in high school and college, my wife and I have both owned only imports since (Toyota, Acura, Nissan, two Audis). But we were happy to buy domestic once again. Detroit, we thought, was back. Or so people said. The Acadia shined during our test drives. The configuration of the seats (2nd-row buckets & 3-seat third row) was a big selling point for our growing family. We liked the vehicle's size and styling. It seemed comfortable. So, we bought it. It's my wife's vehicle. It was a huge financial mistake. For comparison's sake: I drive an Audi that has almost identical mileage (about 70k) and is one year older. The Acadia is in the shop about 3x as often for repairs big and small. The cumulative cost of the Acadia repairs has been about 4x that of the Audi. Seemingly routine repairs on the Acadia are overly involved. For example, replacing a headlamp requires you remove the wheel well liner, loosen the bumper and loosen the grill. There are a couple dozen bolts to remove or loosen just to get to the bulb. The A/C condenser was leaking, and it required two days in the shop, as they had to disassemble the dash to get to the condenser. Almost $2k. The timing chain is now failing. That will be more than $2k. Going in, I would have assumed maintenance on a German import would outstrip that of a domestic, but it isn't even close. Detroit is not back. GMC is not back. In fact, I hate GMC with every fiber of my being. We'll be reluctant to trade in this car sooner much than anticipated, but we'll be relieved to be back into a less costly, more reliable import.
2011 Not entirely a miss or a hit
nmydst,08/31/2010
Over all my experience has been fine. I have only owned my car for 3 weeks, however I did previously own a 2009 so I do have prior Acadia experience. The car seems to idle rough and doesn't switch smoothly into gears, as my 2009 did. I have many blind spots such as the second row headrests. You cannot see over them if you turn to look over your shoulder to check for cars. Your two back side windows are of no use to you with those headrests in the way. The seats themselves don't seem as comfortable as before and the car just seems to be bulkier and louder. I used to drive the 2009 like it was a car. This one I feel nervous, worrying that I'm going to hit someone because of the blindspots.
Disappointment
acadia4me,09/27/2010
Very disappointed in my 2011 Acadia in the month that I have owned it. Gas mileage: Far from the 16/23 state MPG I have averaged 9-11 MPG, and had a whopping record high of 14 MPG with 200+ highway miles (on cruise control!). When I contacted the dealer for service they told me it just needed to be broken in for another 1000 miles. AC: Initially the AC cooled well. After a few weeks however it just isn't getting very cold. Contacted the dealer and they said the temp is within spec. Everyone who sits in the car in our 90+ degree weather asks if I can turn the ac down to make it cooler or stop it from blowing lukewarm air. Alarming "clunk" after reversing about 10 feet.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2011 GMC Acadia features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover16.9%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2011 GMC Acadia

Used 2011 GMC Acadia Overview

The Used 2011 GMC Acadia is offered in the following submodels: Acadia SUV. Available styles include Denali 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A), SLT-1 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A), Denali 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A), SLE 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A), SLT-1 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A), SLT-2 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A), SLT-2 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A), SLE 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A), SL 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A), and SL 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2011 GMC Acadia?

Price comparisons for Used 2011 GMC Acadia trim styles:

  • The Used 2011 GMC Acadia SLT-1 is priced between $7,900 and$11,900 with odometer readings between 93264 and148615 miles.
  • The Used 2011 GMC Acadia SLE is priced between $8,595 and$9,995 with odometer readings between 126595 and148257 miles.
  • The Used 2011 GMC Acadia Denali is priced between $9,750 and$9,750 with odometer readings between 167819 and167819 miles.
  • The Used 2011 GMC Acadia SLT-2 is priced between $12,500 and$12,500 with odometer readings between 92292 and92292 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 2011 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) 2011 GMC Acadia for sale near. There are currently 7 used and CPO 2011 Acadias listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $7,900 and mileage as low as 92292 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 2011 GMC Acadia.

Can't find a used 2011 GMC Acadias you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used GMC Acadia for sale - 11 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $10,710.

Find a used GMC for sale - 11 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $14,422.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC Acadia for sale - 9 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $17,386.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC for sale - 1 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $17,418.

Should I lease or buy a 2011 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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