2015 GMC Acadia Review
2015 GMC Acadia Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Compliant ride quality
- generous cargo capacity, even behind the third row
- seating for up to eight passengers
- top crash test scores.
- Can feel cumbersome to drive
- small, antiquated audio and climate controls
- occasionally finicky infotainment system.
The 2015 GMC Acadia is essentially unchanged.
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.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2015 GMC Acadia SLE-1 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.11 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$193/mo for Acadia SLE-1
Avg. Midsize SUV
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.
Performance & mpg
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.
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.
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.
2015 GMC Acadia models
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.
2023 GMC Acadia AT4
SLE, SLT, AT4 and Denali
See All Trims
The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. Dealer sets final price. Click here to see all GMC vehicles’ destination freight charges.
3.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
2015 Denali Acadia: Nothing much better.
John Metya, 02/24/2016
2015 GMC Acadia Denali 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
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.
5 out of 5 stars
Smooth, quiet, and spacious ride!
Noah G, 12/27/2020
2015 GMC Acadia SLE-1 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
This is a reliable, smooth ride! This has the most head and legroom in the midsize class. Great body style similar to a Durango or Explorer but bigger. Makes the Jeep Grand Cherokee look small and a bit cheap. The interior is made with quality parts. Even shutting the door you can hear the sturdiness off this vehicle. True ride quality. It could use a few more horsepower if you have … more people in the car but I pass V8s often in this crossover. Truly a car like ride. I’ve had it almost two years and no problems minus a blown tire. You sit high with great safety ratings and lots of visibility. Even the low trims look great with leather dash and stitching. Awesome back up camera with sensors and trajectory. I enjoy just cruising in this and the acceleration is good! The newer Acadias are small now. If you need a new SUV this big go with the traverse or Yukon. The little things help too...automatic on and off lights with pretty LED headlamps. I have the SLE 1 but would be worth a few more thousand for the leather seats and chrome of the SLT. Slight hesitation in the transmission turning low speeds sometimes but it’s just a quirk from reviews I’ve read. GMC got this vehicle right!
5 out of 5 stars
Great car with zero maintenance costs
Steve B., 11/11/2017
2015 GMC Acadia Denali 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
While this vehicle has it short-comings, i.e., transmission sometimes hesitates when corning, acceleration is lacking when trying to merge with traffic, it still was a wonderful car to own, especially the maintenance costs: ZERO. I have never owned a car that did not need some kind of adjustment, repair, or attention. Not this one.
3 out of 5 stars
Disappointed in the 2015 GMC Acadia Denali
Aaron S, 06/06/2016
2015 GMC Acadia Denali 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
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.
2015 Acadia Highlights
|Combined MPG||19 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$193/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover16.9%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestNot Tested
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood