2012 GMC Acadia Review

Pros & Cons

  • Compliant ride
  • seating for up to eight passengers
  • adult-friendly third-row seat
  • massive cargo area
  • top safety scores.
  • Large size hampers maneuverability
  • some minor interior annoyances
  • compromised rear visibility.
List Price Range
$9,969 - $16,495

Used Acadia for Sale
Select your model:
See all for sale

Get More For Your Trade-In

Get More For Your Trade-In

Edmunds shoppers get on average $235 more for their trade-in.
Find out what your car is really worth in minutes.

Edmunds' Expert Review

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

2012 GMC Acadia models

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.

2012 Highlights

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

Performance & mpg

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.


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.


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.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2012 GMC Acadia.

42 reviews
Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

$6000 is way too much for repairs for 90k miles
Matt M,11/03/2017
SLE 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
We purchased the 2012 Acadia with zero miles in Feb 2013. It is now 5 years old with 90,000 miles and we have spent so much money on repairs. Every year we have had to take the car in to have the sensors in the tires reset during the winter because for some reason the car can't read accurate pressure when it is cold outside. In 2015 we had to replace fuel injectors due to what we were told is a 'known' issue by GMC but has yet to be covered under warranty or recalled. This was $2,000. From that time we had turned the car into the dealership multiple times due to a smell of radiator fluid inside the car. They continued to tell us there was not a problem and it must have been some fluid spilled on the engine when they disconnected the hoses. Luckily my wife works very close to her work so it wasn't too big of a issue for her to continue driving it with the dealership saying everything is okay. Fast forward to June 2017. The car now begins to overheat, so we again return it to the dealership. After 3 days of looking they say it is the water pump. Awesome! Let's get that fixed for $1,000 and maybe the smell of radiator fluid will go away and everything will be fine. My wife begins driving the car and on the ride home from picking it up she says there is now a vibration and can still smell the fluid in the car. We called and were advised that again this is most defiantly common and fluid must be burning off the engine. They said give it a day or two to burn off and let them know. They didn't really address the vibration so we figured maybe it was in my wifes head (if you knew her you would understand). We allowed for 2 weeks and nothing got better, it was worse. The car began overheating again and the vibration was uncontrollable. Returned to the dealership and again, after a day of looking at it they now report the radiator has a hole in it and while looking they found there was 2 broken motor mount struts and a bad coil. Great! Let's get that fixed up for $2,100 and everything will be hunky dory! But wait...... there is more! So we pick the car up on a Friday. My wife parks it at our house around 8 PM. She attempts to use it for the first time on Sunday around 3 PM. The car will not crank. The battery is not dead, the fuel tank is not empty, the key appears to work. There is no detectable sound to think it is the ignition or starter. After 30 mins of trying to get it to turn over it finally does. It begins to idle at 300 RPMs then up to 900 and back down to 500 and so on. We return the car back to the dealership nearly 30 mins after we got it cranked that day and left the keys in the Dropbox explaining what the issue was and figured someone there must have left something loose when putting everything back together. So we call late Monday afternoon to find out if the car is ready and are told they couldn't find anything wrong. They wanted to keep it a additional day to see if any codes would come up. We agreed and waited. Tuesday AM we receive a call that it is now the High Pressure fuel pump. We are assured this has nothing to do with any work that had been completed in the last 30 days. Fine! Woopty Doo, let's rock on and fix this bad boy for $900. Sweet right, we are now in business. I have a car that I paid 32k for with 90k miles and just replaced pretty much anything that may give me trouble for the next 90k miles. OH, wait... is there more? Yes sir, there is more. We picked up the car today from the dealership. It is 80 degrees outside on this early November day so the wife decides to cut the air on for the ride home. Well, she was unsuccessful, the AC would not come on. The blower was blowing but there is no cool air. It worked fine on that Sunday as she drove it to the dealer but now, nope. So we pull a U-turn and hit that dealership on two wheels! The service manager comes out and we talk about the issue. He puts on some fancy yellow glasses and goes straight to the AC line. Wow! He said, that there is your problem. This hose here with this piece of metal on it gets hot and has been sitting next to this here hose that runs freon inside your car. He then begins to describe how the area this hose is located is no where near anything they have worked on ever. I am awaiting the pricing for this 'hose repair'. I am sure it will be more then $500 but less then $1500. Long story longer 'sorry', I am 6k in on the car and will be trading it in as soon as I get it back. I recommend those of you in the market for a SUV not purchase a 2012 Silver Acadia as this one will be out there on the market probably at a Carmax or TrueCar waiting to bite you in the A$$. It will seem great with low miles and clean interior nice wheels and a DVD package. It will have the third row, leather seats and several months left on the XM system. The body will be untouched and clean with a nice shine to her. WALK AWAY, Fast. I will not EVER buy another GMC.
2012 Acadia SLT-2 AWD (Love it!)
SLT-2 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
Pretty much every option besides the rear DVD system. Been driving this vehicle for just over 2 years. I'll have to say, it's the best riding vehicle that I've ever owned. Haven't had any mechanical issues with the vehicle, and I'm over 38,000 miles. There have been a couple minor recalls, but nothing that would prevent me from giving it a great review. Power is pretty good. The only thing I don't like is the gas mileage. It gets what it's suppose to, so I can't complain too much. And this thing weights over 6,000 lbs. Smooth ride, great interior, and no mechanical defects. Who could ask for anything more. Update: Still driving this awesome vehicle. Just hit 90,000 miles and still not one problem with the vehicle. I keep up on all normal maintenance. Still has the original brakes. Besides fluids and tires I haven't done a thing to the vehicle.
Many great features, just one that's worrying me
We purchased out Acadia in June of this year. I'd had a Honda Pilot for 5 years, and while I really liked it, I wanted bucket seats in the second row and third row seating that was more easily accessible and was comfortable for adults-basically a minivan interior for seating without looking like a "mom-mobile" on the outside. The Acadia met these goals very nicely. We've put a lot of miles on it with our 9 year old son and it's been a very comfy ride. It's a beautiful vehicle, but the engine worries me. It can really hesitate when speeding up from a dead stop or slow speed-scary. It also isn't nearly as smooth in acceleration as my Honda was-a bit sluggish. A+ on everything but the engine-C.
Pleased that GM Has Come Back Strong...
When I was a kid we had Packards ( Ask the man who owns one ) ...after that we drove Chevys & Cadillacs. In the 80's we switched to German iron since all the US auto makers fell flat on quality. My 2012 Acadia has revised my opinion of American quality. A very sophisticated work of engineering...very much on a par with the German product, as well as the Japanese...and at a more realistic purchase price ...and very much more reasonable service charges. The Acadia handles very precisely for such a large outfit. Mixed driving 20. 8 mpg. on the AWD version. I am very impressed.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2012 GMC Acadia features & specs


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
  • Roof Strength Test
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2012 GMC Acadia

Used 2012 GMC Acadia Overview

The Used 2012 GMC Acadia is offered in the following submodels: Acadia SUV. Available styles include SLE 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A), SLT-1 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A), Denali 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A), SLT-1 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A), Denali 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A), SLE 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A), SLT-2 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A), SL 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A), SLT-2 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A), and SL 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2012 GMC Acadia?

Price comparisons for Used 2012 GMC Acadia trim styles:

  • The Used 2012 GMC Acadia Denali is priced between $9,969 and$16,495 with odometer readings between 80597 and158791 miles.
  • The Used 2012 GMC Acadia SL is priced between $12,590 and$12,590 with odometer readings between 114347 and114347 miles.
  • The Used 2012 GMC Acadia SLE is priced between $10,498 and$10,498 with odometer readings between 86493 and86493 miles.
  • The Used 2012 GMC Acadia SLT-1 is priced between $10,595 and$10,595 with odometer readings between 110517 and110517 miles.
  • The Used 2012 GMC Acadia SLT-2 is priced between $12,460 and$12,460 with odometer readings between 103061 and103061 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 2012 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) 2012 GMC Acadia for sale near. There are currently 10 used and CPO 2012 Acadias listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $9,969 and mileage as low as 80597 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 2012 GMC Acadia.

Can't find a used 2012 GMC Acadias you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used GMC Acadia for sale - 6 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $15,158.

Find a used GMC for sale - 7 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $20,158.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC Acadia for sale - 6 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $16,302.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC for sale - 7 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $13,637.

Should I lease or buy a 2012 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.

Check out GMC lease specials
Check out GMC Acadia lease specials